Thursday, September 10, 2009

Human Dignity and the Gospel

Archbishop Vincent Nichols (i.e. Dear Leader of English Roman Catholics) preaches:

"... The Father ceaselessly ‘sends out’ the Eternal Word, that expression of the very mystery of God, and does so in the utter, self-emptying love which is also the nature of the Godhead, the love which is the Holy Spirit. This giving out and receiving in of love, which is the very life of the Holy Trinity, is the first and unequivocal meaning of the word ‘missio’. God, of his infinite nature, is ‘missio’ and, of course, ‘communio’. These are the foundations of our use of this word, its most profound truth for us to keep in mind always.

The first outward expression or fruit of this inner ‘missio’ of the Godhead is, of course, the work of creation. St John tells us that all creation, every being, has its existence through the eternally spoken Word of God.

And so that this creation might indeed find its integral and full development or salvation, that Word become flesh in a particular and historical Incarnation. This ‘missio’ of the Eternal Word into our flesh and history gives all the defining characteristics of our sharing in that mission, in our work of ‘missio’ today. It is the full revelation of ‘integral human development’ and establishes for ever the need for the Gospel to be present as an essential part of human progress. Only in the Gospel is the full truth of our humanity told; only in the Gospel, which is Christ, does our humanity come to its true source and fulfilment, the mystery of God and God’s unequivocal love. ..."

The italics are mine, emphasizing the relationship between the gospel of Christ and the truth of human dignity. Inter alia Nichols makes the point that Hermeneutics is constrained in the service of the Gospel, the fullest revelation of the truth of God, which is simultaneously 'the full truth of our humanity': the goal of hermeneutics is human dignity.

The full text of the sermon is here. H/T Ruth Gledhill who makes an interesting point about the character of St Tony Blair's Catholicism!

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