A Collective translation reviewed and corrected by Filip Maj
|Table of Contents|
|Man's Hope for Eternal Life|
|I. Hope as the Base of Human Existence|
|II. Man's Hope for a Happy Life<|
|III. Hope and the Question of Man's Freedom|
|IV. Hope and the Traps of Human Suffering|
|V. Hope and Prayer as a Language of Faith|
|VI. Man's Hope for Eternal Life|
The situation of the Catholic Church in the world has been changing for many years. Movements and trends which confront the doctrine of faith with various intellectual, cultural, social and political tendencies keep on assuming different shapes such as: scepticism, neostoicism, atheism, agnosticism, clericalism, proselytism, fundamentalism, syncretism, folklorism, escapism, etatism, exclusivism, spiritualism, feudalism, socialism, communism, economism etc. These variegated phenomena form the contemporary pluralist culture conglomerate and expect the Church to address them. Adaptation to various social trends and doctrines has met many problems of doctrinal, political, psychological or philosophical nature.
The modern lack of faith in transcendence is intertwined with the belief that the pursuit of happiness can occur on the plane of immanence, within the boundaries of one's own body or one's own culture. One of the important factors is the frantic search for happiness, pleasure, trance and various ecstatic experiences (alcoholism, addictive or non-addictive drugs, etc.). Yet, these are directed against a personal sense of unhappiness, fatigue or depression, resulting from social conflicts, war or poverty.
At the dusk of antiquity, Christianity brought people hope, in the form of good news or a medicine saving from despair. It has given the world, which was falling apart, three things: faith, hope and love. They have sustained European culture in its obligation to affirm human life, its dignity and solidarity for two thousand years. Pope Benedict XVI draws our attention to the present-day situation, marked by a cultural and civilizational drama. The new encyclical letter Spe salvi - In hope we were saved (The Vatican 2007) of Benedict XVI appears in the relation to this state of affairs.
The experience of Christian faith has shifted towards a blurred, ecological type of pantheism. It is supposed to replace the historical monotheistic "religions of faith" with a "religion of knowledge". The belief in the strength of collective faith and hope is being replaced by doctrines of emptiness and isolation supported by Max Weber's postulate of "the disenchantment of the world". Following this postulate, modern rationalistic thought has undertaken the task of demystifying the world. Yet, one can demystify the world in order to only mystify it according to one's whim. The contemporary secular discourse on religion places the world in the context of human rights, globalization and the so-called economy of sacrum. What does this mean?
Copyright © by ks. Jerzy Lewandowski
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