The Personalist Project

Accessed on March 30, 2020 - 10:00:03

A call for radical, embodied love

Katie van Schaijik, Oct 06, 2014

In remarks opening the Extraordinary Synod on marriage yesterday, Pope Francis struck several characteristically personalist notes in a few words.

He called for "a fraternal exchange of views" among the bishops—a spirit of openness and receptivity. This is not a power struggle; they are not to vie for victory over one another, but to recognize the partiality of each one's perspective and the value of what others have to offer, trusting that the Lord would lead them to true unity. The fulness of Truth is much greater than any single individual can possess. We attain it together, under grace.

He urged the bishops to "take pastoral responsibility for the questions that this changing time brings with it." In other words, be attentive to the here and now, the concrete and real, as opposed to the theoretical and academic.

He wants those questions and concerns to "fill our hearts." They are not intellectual problems merely, but human problems and needs that are to be felt. He uses the vivid language of embodiment and embodied love.

We must lend an ear to the rhythm of our time and perceive the odor of people today, that we might be imbued with their joys and hopes, their sadness and anxiety: at that point we will be able credibly to propose the good news on the family.

He wants the bishops to behave as if the People of God is their spouse. Look at her; listen to her; let her make an impression on you. Only then will you be able to husband her well.

The Pope has well-absorbed the philosophical and theological legacy of his two great predecessors. I am full of hope and eagerness to see what the Holy Spirit is about to accomplish in and through the Church.