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After what the Russians perceived as apostasy by the Greek Church of Constantinople by concluding a union with the Church of Rome in Florence later repudiated by Constantinople , the Russian Church now viewed herself as the primary, if not sole guardian of the purity of the Orthodox Christian faith. To underline this stance the Russian Church acquired her first Patriarch Job in , thus procuring full autocephaly ecclesiastical independence from the Mother Church of Constantinople, although the ancient metropolitanate of Kiev was to remain under Constantinople for a century more.
The granting of a patriarchate to the Russian Church allowed the latter to adopt the Byzantine model of symphony between Emperor and Bishop. The title of Tsar, a corruption of the Latin 'Caesar', had previously been in use among the Grand Princes of Moscow and became an official designation with the blessing of the Church for the ruler of Muscovy with the advent of the reign of Ivan the Terrible in the sixteenth century.
Ivan took an active interest in Church affairs, composing hymns and fulfilling punctiliously all of the prescribed ritual. Yet the Church never allowed herself to be enslaved to this tyrant: her voice was heard in the intercessions of Metropolitan Philip of Moscow for all of those who had suffered from Ivan's cruelty. This means that the Church does not intervene in technical questions with her social doctrine, nor does she propose or establish systems or models of social organization.
This is not part of the mission entrusted to her by Christ. The Church's competence comes from the Gospel: from the message that sets man free, the message proclaimed and borne witness to by the Son of God made man. This is her primary and sole purpose. There is no intention to usurp or invade the duties of others or to neglect her own; nor is there any thought of pursuing objectives that are foreign to her mission.
This mission serves to give an overall shape to the Church's right and at the same time her duty to develop a social doctrine of her own and to influence society and societal structures with it by means of the responsibility and tasks to which it gives rise. The Church has the right to be a teacher for mankind, a teacher of the truth of faith: the truth not only of dogmas but also of the morals whose source lies in human nature itself and in the Gospel . The word of the Gospel, in fact, is not only to be heard but is also to be observed and put into practice cf. Mt ; Lk ; Jn ,; Jas Consistency in behaviour shows what one truly believes and is not limited only to things strictly church-related or spiritual but involves men and women in the entirety of their life experience and in the context of all their responsibilities.
However worldly these responsibilities may be, their subject remains man, that is, the human being whom God calls, by means of the Church, to participate in his gift of salvation. Men and women must respond to the gift of salvation not with a partial, abstract or merely verbal acceptance, but with the whole of their lives — in every relationship that defines life — so as not to neglect anything, leaving it in a profane and worldly realm where it is irrelevant or foreign to salvation. For this reason the Church's social doctrine is not a privilege for her, nor a digression, a convenience or interference: it is her right to proclaim the Gospel in the context of society , to make the liberating word of the Gospel resound in the complex worlds of production, labour, business, finance, trade, politics, law, culture, social communications, where men and women live.
The warning that St. Knowledge illuminated by faith. The Church's social doctrine was not initially thought of as an organic system but was formed over the course of time, through the numerous interventions of the Magisterium on social issues. The fact that it came about in this manner makes it understandable that certain changes may have taken place with regard to its nature, method and epistemological structure. It cannot be defined according to socio-economic parameters. It is not an ideological or pragmatic system intended to define and generate economic, political and social relationships, but is a category unto itself.
In fact, this social doctrine reflects three levels of theological-moral teaching: the foundational level of motivations; the directive level of norms for life in society; the deliberative level of consciences, called to mediate objective and general norms in concrete and particular social situations. These three levels implicitly define also the proper method and specific epistemological structure of the social doctrine of the Church.
The Church's social doctrine finds its essential foundation in biblical revelation and in the tradition of the Church.
From this source, which comes from above, it draws inspiration and light to understand, judge and guide human experience and history. Before anything else and above everything else is God's plan for the created world and, in particular, for the life and destiny of men and women, called to Trinitarian communion. Faith, which receives the divine word and puts it into practice, effectively interacts with reason.
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The understanding of faith, especially faith leading to practical action, is structured by reason and makes use of every contribution that reason has to offer. Faith and reason represent the two cognitive paths of the Church's social doctrine: Revelation and human nature. This understanding of faith includes reason, by means of which — insofar as possible — it unravels and comprehends revealed truth and integrates it with the truth of human nature, found in the divine plan expressed in creation.
This is the integral truth of the human person as a spiritual and corporeal being, in relationship with God, with other human beings and with other creatures. Being centred on the mystery of Christ, moreover, does not weaken or exclude the role of reason and hence does not deprive the Church's social doctrine of rationality or, therefore, of universal applicability. Since the mystery of Christ illuminates the mystery of man, it gives fullness of meaning to human dignity and to the ethical requirements which defend it.
The Church's social doctrine is knowledge enlightened by faith, which, as such, is the expression of a greater capacity for knowledge.
It explains to all people the truths that it affirms and the duties that it demands; it can be accepted and shared by all. In friendly dialogue with all branches of knowledge. The Church's social doctrine avails itself of contributions from all branches of knowledge, whatever their source, and has an important interdisciplinary dimension. The social doctrine makes use of the significant contributions of philosophy as well as the descriptive contributions of the human sciences.
Above all, the contribution of philosophy is essential. This contribution has already been seen in the appeal to human nature as a source and to reason as the cognitive path of faith itself.
Sudan’s Islamists: From Salvation to Survival
By means of reason, the Church's social doctrine espouses philosophy in its own internal logic, in other words, in the argumentation that is proper to it. Affirming that the Church's social doctrine is part of theology rather than philosophy does not imply a disowning or underestimation of the role or contribution of philosophy. In fact, philosophy is a suitable and indispensable instrument for arriving at a correct understanding of the basic concepts of the Church's social doctrine , concepts such as the person, society, freedom, conscience, ethics, law, justice, the common good, solidarity, subsidiarity, the State.
This understanding is such that it inspires harmonious living in society. It is philosophy once more that shows the reasonableness and acceptability of shining the light of the Gospel on society, and that inspires in every mind and conscience openness and assent to the truth. A significant contribution to the Church's social doctrine comes also from human sciences and the social sciences.
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In view of that particular part of the truth that it may reveal, no branch of knowledge is excluded. The Church recognizes and receives everything that contributes to the understanding of man in the ever broader, more fluid and more complex net work of his social relationships. She is aware of the fact that a profound understanding of man does not come from theology alone, without the contributions of many branches of knowledge to which theology itself refers. This attentive and constant openness to other branches of knowledge makes the Church's social doctrine reliable, concrete and relevant.
Thanks to the sciences, the Church can gain a more precise understanding of man in society, speak to the men and women of her own day in a more convincing manner and more effectively fulfil her task of incarnating in the conscience and social responsibility of our time, the word of God and the faith from which social doctrine flows. An expression of the Church's ministry of teaching. The social doctrine belongs to the Church because the Church is the subject that formulates it, disseminates it and teaches it.
It is not a prerogative of a certain component of the ecclesial body but of the entire community; it is the expression of the way that the Church understands society and of her position regarding social structures and changes. The whole of the Church community — priests, religious and laity — participates in the formulation of this social doctrine, each according to the different tasks, charisms and ministries found within her. The Church's social doctrine is not only the thought or work of qualified persons, but is the thought of the Church, insofar as it is the work of the Magisterium, which teaches with the authority that Christ conferred on the Apostles and their successors: the Pope and the Bishops in communion with him.
In the Church's social doctrine the Magisterium is at work in all its various components and expressions. Of primary importance is the universal Magisterium of the Pope and the Council: this is the Magisterium that determines the direction and gives marks of the development of this social doctrine.
This doctrine in turn is integrated into the Magisterium of the Bishops who, in the concrete and particular situations of the many different local circumstances, give precise definition to this teaching, translating it and putting it into practice. The social teaching of the Bishops offers valid contributions and impetus to the Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff. In this way, there is a circulating at work that in fact expresses the collegiality of the Church's Pastors united to the Pope in the Church's social teaching.
The doctrinal body that emerges includes and integrates in this fashion the universal teaching of the Popes and the particular teaching of the Bishops. Insofar as it is part of the Church's moral teaching, the Church's social doctrine has the same dignity and authority as her moral teaching. It is authentic Magisterium , which obligates the faithful to adhere to it.
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The doctrinal weight of the different teachings and the assent required are determined by the nature of the particular teachings, by their level of independence from contingent and variable elements, and by the frequency with which they are invoked. For a society reconciled in justice and love.
The object of the Church's social doctrine is essentially the same that constitutes the reason for its existence: the human person called to salvation, and as such entrusted by Christ to the Church's care and responsibility . By means of her social doctrine, the Church shows her concern for human life in society, aware that the quality of social life — that is, of the relationships of justice and love that form the fabric of society — depends in a decisive manner on the protection and promotion of the human person, for whom every community comes into existence.
In fact, at play in society are the dignity and rights of the person, and peace in the relationships between persons and between communities of persons. These are goods that the social community must pursue and guarantee. In this perspective, the Church's social doctrine has the task of proclamation , but also of denunciation. This is done not only on the level of principles but also in practice. The Church's social doctrine, in fact, offers not only meaning, value and criteria of judgment, but also the norms and directives of action that arise from these.
Library : Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church: Table of Contents | Catholic Culture
With her social doctrine the Church does not attempt to structure or organize society, but to appeal to, guide and form consciences. This social doctrine also entails a duty to denounce , when sin is present: the sin of injustice and violence that in different ways moves through society and is embodied in it. By denunciation, the Church's social doctrine becomes judge and defender of unrecognized and violated rights, especially those of the poor, the least and the weak. The more these rights are ignored or trampled, the greater becomes the extent of violence and injustice, involving entire categories of people and large geographical areas of the world, thus giving rise to social questions , that is, to abuses and imbalances that lead to social upheaval.
A large part of the Church's social teaching is solicited and determined by important social questions, to which social justice is the proper answer.
The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume Two
The intent of the Church's social doctrine is of the religious and moral order . A message for the sons and daughters of the Church and for humanity. The first recipient of the Church's social doctrine is the Church community in its entire membership, because everyone has social responsibilities that must be fulfilled.
The conscience is called by this social teaching to recognize and fulfil the obligations of justice and charity in society. This doctrine is a light of moral truth that inspires appropriate responses according to the vocation and ministry of each Christian.