The New Forms Which Old Christian Truths Create Print
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 05 May 2009 21:33
I'm going short on blogging because I'm in the last throes of preparing that graduate class in the theology of the laity that will be starting the day after Memorial Day. What is crystal clear is how profoundly joined the development of the Church's social teaching and her growing understanding of the role of the laity is.

But here's a great quote from Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler, theologian, politician, Bishop of Mainz and pioneer in the area of the Church's social teaching. (In the mid 19th century in Germany, it was not considered inappropriate for a bishop to also serve as a government official - the Church's restriction against that is very recent.)



Ketteler was a hugely influential figure in the development of what is called "social Catholicism" - the 19th century European movement that sought to reach out to the new poor created by the industrial revolution who were often also de-Christianized. (The steady de-Christianization of Europe has been a problem for over 200 years. It didn't start with Vatican II.) Social Catholicism eventually gave birth to the Church's formal social teaching and included such figures as Blessed Frederic Ozanam, founder of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Kettler basically dusted off St. Thomas Aquinas' sociology and first went public with his ideas in two homilies that he gave during Advent, 1848. Here's the quote I really appreciate:

"I am heart and soul attached to the new forms which in days to come the old Christian truths will create for all human relations."

Sounds a lot like Pope Benedict's hermeneutic of reform.