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Colloquium Redemptorist missionaries Trois Epis - France September 2010.

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1 Colloquium Redemptorist missionaries Trois Epis - France September 2010

2 Current of Alphonsian spirituality in the pastoral presentation of today`s moral Miguel Rubio - Prov. of Madrid


4 0 FRAMEWORK: THE FIGURE OF ALPHONSUS LIGUORI (1696- 1787) 1 A new style from a different time 2Fidelity to the sources: the alphonsian tradition

5 1A new style for a new time "Each time is more and more captivating his permanent attitude of seeking the will of God, which makes it go to the suburbs of Naples to meet the homeless and marginalized youth in the city, setting the Chapels of the sunset or doing Mission in villages of the kingdom of Naples to found the Congregation of the Holy Redeemer, to follow the example of Jesus Christ and proclaim the Gospel to the most abandoned people of the society and the Church. Its proximity to the people seek to address practical issues presented by the faithful from a moral theology that departs from the rigor prevailing at that time and chooses the path of goodness and pastoral accompaniment for the faithful who are with the mercy of God. In tough times as we are living, his testimony is an encouragement to renew our missionary presence among the most neglected of our society and the Church, and to help our people to find ways of salvation in the middle of many ethical conflicts that we face today (Pedro López / Provincial of Madrid, Release n° 14 / 01.08.10).

6 2 Fidelity to the sources: the alphonsian tradition Reduction in the presentation: Alphonsian tradition Applied Disciples The new and the old in God`s Salvation The new and the old in alphonsian heritage The attitudes more than the casuistry

7 ITHE SPIRIT: WHAT ENDURES FROM ALPHONSUS 1 Theological structure 2 Moral structure 3 Pastoral structure

8 1 Theological structure Theological moral : Merciful God, a mirror of insight and moral treatment. Cristological Moral : Centrality of the person of Jesus Christ Pneumatological Moral: Opening the signs of the times under the guidance of the Spirit Morality of the Church: Concern for the most abandoned

9 2 Moral structure The person above the law and institutions Priority of the conscience against legalism

10 3Pastoral structures Pastoral Concern as Redemptorist spirit seal Its proximity to the common people, leads him to opt for simplicity as hallmark of his missionary work: Redemptorist life style Method of missionary work Moral work: simplification of moral, and guidelines (praxis confessori ),.... Laxity versus rigor

11 II THE WORLD TODAY AND IT PROBLEMS: FROM YESTERDAY TO TODAY 1 Fidelity instead of a copy 2 Differences that point out the pastoral-moral theology on his and our time Three important scenario in the today`s pastoral-moral 3 Socio-demographic scenario: The urban culture 4 Ecclesial scenario: Important Questions and ecclesial tensions 5 Ethical-Ideological scenario: From Subjectivism and individualism to the moral relativism

12 1Fidelity instead of a copy Copying Alphonsus means betraying his most genuine intention as well as today`s men and woman. Our loyalty to Alphonsus do not consist of repeating his work, but to keep alive the Alphonsus tradition, his inspiration, his spirit: the strength lines of his paradigm, applied to give a plausible evangelical answer to the challenges of our time.

13 Alphonsus era (1696-1787)Contemporary era (XXI century) Prevalent rural society population Rationalist Culture, illustrated, from the book and the work Prevailing World vision : sacral, religious, believer Ideological-moral horizon: legalism, rigour Church: uniform, clerical position, a regime of christianity. Scholastic catholic theology, orderly closely under the aegis of the Counter issued by the Council of Trento (1545-1563). Moral framed in the outline of the Summa theologica ot St. Thomas Aquino (1225-1274). Prevalent urban Society population Culture based on technology image and media Prevailing World vision secular, lay, indifferent... Ideological-moral horizon: utilitarianism, hedonism, relativism Church: pluriformed, lay, between the poles of re-christianism and base groups. More open catholic theology, dialogical and interdisciplinary, developed from the parameters that guide the II Vatican Council (1962-1965). Influenced moral, first by The Law of Christ from the Redemptorist Bernhard Häring (1912-1998), then by moralists and guidance of post-Vatican manuals. 2 Differences that point out the pastoral-moral theology on his and our time

14 3 Socio-demoghic scenario: The urban cultura Total world population TimePopulationEurope 1750 [Alfonso: 1696-1787] 791,0 millon163,0 millon 20106.866,9 millon728,8 millon (10,6% from total) Current urban population According to UN estimations, in 2010 the global urban population had reached 51,3% of the total population, overcoming the rural population. In USA, the change from a rural majority to an urban majority has happened in the late 1910s. Nowadays, in this country only 21% of the population is rural European society is also, most prominent urban, but also with most rural regions. Talking about the situation in the world, the developing countries build up the highest percentage of rural population.

15 Urban culture and redemptorist missions According strictly to this demographic data: 1) The modem world still remains updated the first missionary intuition of Alphonsus to the people from "most neglected" regions, similar to the region of Scala in mid-eighteenth century. In fact, many of us today also serve the poorest of the rural world in different parts of the planet. However, today rural areas –especially thinking in Europe- is increasing high number of people of "urban culture. They belong to the rural world, but have an urban formation and they practice urban habits; they think and are guided in their normal lives as urbanites. The urban culture has invaded even the rural world. The current urban culture creates, at the same time, new places of material poorness (the new poor), as well as other form of spiritual poverty and neglect, both phenomena, which widen the number and species of disadvantaged, impoverished, dehumanising affluent societies.

16 4)Despite the undeniable progress of our world in practically all fronts, today's urban culture is suffering from a devastating Christian illiteracy, which makes more necessary than ever the mission, but according to the new pattern, as yet undefined not apply: the urban Misón. 5)The reconsideration of the "popular mission pattern" -with the enormous burden of moral reappraisal that involves urban culture- is forced upon us as a matter of livelihood. Both for rural people and urban population, methodology, themes, instruments, places... of the traditional mission, require a genuine transformation. The recipients of the mission-including those of rural areas- are urbanites in their idiosyncrasies. The Christian Mission can never forget the "spoken word" (neither the humanity). But today the image is leading. The pulpit is increasingly yielding his place to the TV and Internet. The temples are in the air, on web sites. Today urbanite culture imposes on us an obligation desert time, which do not has to be a time of death or sterile. According to the Gospels in relation to Jesus of Nazareth, the desert provided him with a period of clarification of his identity and the beginning that triggered the proclamation of the gospel. Why is not also for us?

17 4 Eclesial scenario: Boiling and intraeclaesial tensions Important Questions and ecclesial tensions Oposed ecclesial alternatives: - Conservative movements of renewal - Retroactive process of re-christianisation with base groups open to dialogue - Lack of Vocations/Priests and many Lay people. Alwareness to the signs of the time The "signs of the time" guide the genuine progress of the Church, in harmony with the Gospel and the demands of men and women of our time. Attentive listening to his voice call us today to: 1) A clear commitment by the lay people 2) A clairvoyant insight of the new evangelisation. But in this respect: we have to expose some pitfalls, especially in Relation to their goal and their recipients.

18 The goal: com back to the roots, recover all the lifeblood of the Gospel With the expression new evangelisation is not about coming back again to a christianity regime, as some ecclesial interventions suggests, but it is about coming back again to the roots, in order to recover all the lifeblood of the Gospel, without leaving on the time; nor in that time, nor in any past time, because there are demands of fundamentalism. We can not come back to the christianity, even not coming back to the primitive Church, we have to come back to Jesus. But neither can we throw away all the past, as if nothing had happened. We have to recover the memory, to conserve all the fragrance of tradition, but keeping away the smelly traditionalism, which is nothing more as an unhealthy attachment to the past and a fear to go ahead. The modern Europe lives in a post-christianity situation. Talking about new evangelisation can only mean second evangelisation, in which most western receivers do not suffer from material shortage, nor ignorant…; is not pre-christian. In contrast, they have goods, remarkable culture and deprogramme God of his existence; they are post-christians. The receivers: the post-christianity situation

19 5 Ideological-ethical scenario: From the subjectivism and idealism empire to the moral relativism Consequences of the process of secularisation Multidimensional scene of social cultures and ideas: - Secularism - Subjectivism and individualism - Displacement of reason by emotions and boost reality of self against reality of the other and the others. - Hedonism, utilitarianism, relativism or against it, fundamentalism. ¿Under the relativism dictatorship? Relativism as amoral attitude" Is being builded a dictatorship of relativism which do not recognise anything as definitive and leaves as the ultimate measure the one itself and his desires (Ratzinger). Successful or hyperbolic, the slogan dictatorship of relativism had a mediatic fortune. And, in every case, is a real fact that relativism comes to meet us in our missionary task.

20 The moral relativism understand the moral as a set of habits and customs, whose validity depends on the individual, or even on their own interests, in a specific frametime. Truth and values are the two epicentres of gravitating. Aplied to the moral universe, the relativism does not support truth or upper values (absolute, eternal...), but all of them running for the same level of equality: all truths and all values are relative and changing, in line with the diversity and varying situations of the subject. Moral relativism prevailing in the actual world has its origin, not as a result of philosophical and ethical speculations, but as an attitude widely adopted from a context of increased psychological and vital experience, under the influence of global interaction of different cultures, which "relativize" the importance and meaning of the moral universe. Moral-pastoral response to the wave of relativism How to activate a Christian moral plausible as an alternative to the relativism, without being overcome by fundamentalism, opposite poles vying for the dominance of Western ethics?

21 Faced with both polarisations, both dehumanising the Christian task of humanising requires: 1) An open moral. 2) A faithful moral and critic with itself. 3) A Christian moral as an alternative to the realism, which neither worth everything and not everything worths the same, as shows both historic and everyday experience. Not everything is relative. Human life is also made of constants y needs. Everything is relative on it way, or is relatively relative. 4) A Christian moral as an alternative to the fundamentalism, for which the ideal of moral is to balance between the fulfilment of people and the law enforcement. Saving people has not to be against the law. But in borderline situations of forced choice, the preferential option according to the Gospel must be in the side of the subject (with the risk of subjective relativism rather tan the rule (with the risk of absolutism) What must be saved is the person, not the sole (Mk 2, 27).

22 III THE CURRENT MORAL PROBLEMS IN THE LIGHT OF THE ALPHONSIAN SPIRIT 1 The Alphonsian Spirit as lighting 2 The current moral problems: A summary overview 3 From the traditional case to the evangelical praxis: Jesus of Nazareth, a paradigm of pastoral-moral action

23 1The Alphonsian spirit as lighting Alphonsus came to the moral by mercy. His ideal of following Jesus told him that the last of the land are suffering among their ills, a charge of religious and moral rigour not consistent with the Good News of Jesus. As he has doing that, he had his mind on the mission. But Alphonsus is not the paradigm, but the lighting of the paradigm of Jesus of Nazareth. According to the Gospel, the mission must not be reduced to morality. But also moral dimension is an integral part of the evangelical program of the mission. a) On it negative side: As a prophetical claim of unfair situations, abuse of power, corruption, dehumanisation... b) On it positive side: As a humanising project. Consistent with Jesus, the missionary can not be a moralising messenger. But also can not avoid making own actual moral problems.

24 2 Actual moral issues: A summary overview The moral problems of real concern today not always coincide with those problems, that in fact, concern to the most people. a)Not getting lost in the current moral maze has the advantage of largely eliminating excessive doses of insecurity, and additionally to approach the problem from the proper perspective. c) Always problematic and new problematic.- As we said, in the cast of the most significant moral issues of our day, there is a place to the most varied fields of moral: 1) Big usual questions 2) New issues arising from the progress of the science 3) invented issues by new generation 4) Central focus on the actual moral issue Which are now the moral problems of real concern? But is is not about presenting the hole current problematic from moral. It is only about describing some important focus that are affecting directly to our pastoral work.

25 Social moral Profuse field burning of issues which relate directly to the moral or that only find an acceptable solution based on moral imperatives (respect, solidarity, responsibility...). I note some problems which gathers all a commitment to share responsibility, because in them is at stake the future of humanity. Our task as missionaries: waking up awareness/ activation of our best moral resources. Poverty, hunger...: is also our problem. Demography: Responsibility and solidarity for a present and future demographically sustainable population. Ecology: From the bio-degradation to the bio-responsability. The construction of peace/ the eradication of the war: terrorism, violence in its various forms. Mass Media: Moralitys e inmoralities. International finantial-economic depression: awareness, denounce and public pressure to demand the cleansing of responsability.

26 Personal-family Moral In this field we do most of our missionary work (and parish). Specific moral issue, which goes beyond conventional approaches. This requires open to new personal and family situations, but also to update our moral formation, attentive to the new guidelines, both scientific and moral-theology. Regarding to the family: This, in its wide range of stages of personal growth and community, offers a range of possibilities and needs. An interactive family ministry with the laity of all conditions is undoubtedly the most urgent task we can undertake. Beneficial both preventive and therapeutic human level, to believers and moral. Regarding to the person: The de-contruction of taboos about sexual status to legal recognition limits is perhaps the most morally perplexing phenomenon from the point of view of conventional Christian morality. This legal status is based on the basis of anthropological approaches, which collect factors as diverse as personal autonomy, mythologizing, destranscentralisation, cult of the individual, the exaltation of freedom, hedonist… A dispassionate discernment can decant some outbreaks of a new anthropology. Calm and caution are better moral advisors than conviction and precipitation.

27 Multiple models of family/ marriage: patriarchal, but also single parent; conventional, but unstructured; heterosexual but also homosexual... Separated and divorced (and remarried). The same situation of separation or divorce involves a whole bunch of psychological and family problems (loneliness, loss of self-esteem, depression, relationships with former spouse and children, labor and economic difficulties...), that mostly nest in the deep substrate-pre- moral-of the individual. But he added other external issues arising precisely from the condition of fervent Catholics: the sense of Church rejection, the prohibition to rebuild his life in a new marriage or the access to the Eucharist, when the new marriage has produced. In some cases, the moral problem is presented with a vengeance in the form of dilemma: -live in unhappiness, but in keeping with church law, -or in the other direction, ignore it and choose to be happy. In addition, apart of that problem, in almost all cases emerge the conflict that generates not understanding how a church that says "mother" comes with the cruelty of the worst "stepmother." In this field of "abandoned", which fortunately is opening our parish ministry, is much redemption to be done. "Marriage" between people of same sex. Homosexuality lived and accepted

28 Bioethics The application of scientific progress to human life and, particularly biotechnology, has opened up many questions and led not less ethical conflicts. Of these, along with other classics in traditional morality, bioethics deals. 1) Traditional perspective, abortion and euthanasia are two classic themes of clear insight to the usual Christian moral theology. However, new approaches to anthropological, ideological and political (from a secular, autonomous, hedonistic...) are challenging in some sectors of contemporary society, the untouchable and transcendent value of the origin and end of life. 2) Modern perspective, the most disturbing moral conflicts come from the world of techno-science. The incredible rise of biotechnology and its advances in the application of new technologies to the manipulation of life, leads some scientists to believe that the production of human life in the laboratory is at hand. In this sense, the list of near misses experiments and biotechnology programs keeps continuously enlarged, from artificial insemination to the most varied cell cloning in search of cure hereditary diseases, recovery of organs and functions, which have lost their operation without que han perdido su operatividad, renouncing even to human clonation. And much more…

29 A fascinating new world opens before us impulses of science. From a strictly moral point of view we are faced with a striking skyline difficult to read, which nevertheless humanity and moral play an important role. For this is required a moral as open as cautious. With two crucial functions: a) Critical Sympathy. Sympathy, as host affective attitude toward that formidable world; a contundent yes but critical, not irreflexive or without ponder. b) Clairvoyant discernment. With a central criterion: to safeguard the whole person, the humanity, the ecological world. Based on these criteria, we must ask ourselves: What kind of society we seek? A dehumanised society of unlimited material progress, or a humane society increasingly in harmony with all people and nature? Again, Man is the measure of all things (Protagoras). Synthetically: Abort: The non-negotiable value of human life in the current din of values Euthanasia: life and dignified death Biotechnology (in its multiple derivations): Does violation of the divine plan or no creative collaboration? The dream os accessing to the keys of life.

30 3 From the traditional issues to the evangelical praxis: Jesus of Nazareth, paradigm of pastoral moral action How to answer this moral issue? 1) From Alphonsus we must keep more his spirit than his specific answers 2) Our time is not for casuistic or de receipts Both in the ministry and in the moral, it is better serves as a "concerning" flexible: Jesus (his lifestyle and his Good News), the spirit of Alfphonsus in tune with Him. From this perspective benchmark, our response could be guided by criteria such as: Each person is singular and unique.- Because of that: no to the moral receipes. Humanisation.- Faced to the pharisee moral, Jesus proposes an evangelical moral – That is: faced with a moral of enforcement by the law, he proposes a moral for people, that first of all above all is concerned that people perform in their entirety, as individuals and as a social collective.

31 Kindness.- We are servants of redemption. In the style of Jesus, who came to give life and have it abundantly (Jn 10,10), mission drives us to save (acquitted), and not condemn. The last word, the final ruling it is for God, and in Jesus He always reveals itself as mercy, love, forgiveness. The task of redemption in the preaching and the sacrament of forgiveness.- In our Christian communities, the redemptorists were always distinguish by the explicit preaching and by the attention to the ministry of reconciliation. In all our activity –specially in this- the redemptorist missionary/moralist is called to transmit liberation and hope from God. We have the need to shift from a conception of redemption from the moral individualism (Save your Soul) to a redemption as a community.

32 We should not judge God.- The judging of God consist of an anthropomorphic process, which clothes in a legal robe our conception of God, in the literal sense. Talking of God as a judge can only has an analogical sense. The image of judge applied to God Shrinks dangerously to what Jesus reveals about the Father. According to this image, transgressing his will involves becoming a creditor of punishment. Threatening to believers, which ascribe to God the righteous and vindictive. The face of God that Jesus shows us place at the antipodes the god of justice, vindictive or punitive. The need to "de-moralisation of God.- The moralisation of God project onto Him too human features (such as feelings of grievance, demand of redress, intransigence…), which are in no way reconciled with His evangelical image, and morality becomes in the ultimate criteria by which God accepts or rejects. The demoralisation of God seeks to remove the concept of a moralistic God: a strict and severe Lord that guards a rigourous moral code, not always reconcilable with reason or even worse: despotic impositive and repressive, entrenched between prohibitions, suspicious of, anything that promises life and happiness. Again the Gospel text flatly disallow the representation of a moralistic God.

33 Thank you so much Miguel Rubio – Madrid Province

34 f i n e n d e n d e k o n i e c f i n e

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