This previously unpublished text is a set of notes intended for further study. It can be dated between the end of 1987 and the middle of 1988, when Fr. Bergoglio was working on his thesis on Romano Guardini and was examining the use of Marxist analysis in the interpretation of reality, which he saw as an example of how obsolete categories are eventually superseded by reality.
Bergoglio opens with a quote from an article by Alberto Methol Ferré on how the Church saw the issue of relations with the working class, which had come to the fore of its concerns with the coming of the industrial age and the French Revolution.
At the beginning of the 19th century, with Philippe Buchez, a Catholic form of socialism appeared that was swiftly suffocated by a pincer movement of intra-ecclesiastical integrism and atheistic Marxism. Methol Ferré proposed a return to the ethical and Christian origins of socialism, moving beyond both dogmatically atheistic Marxism and, with the help of the Second Vatican Council, the Church’s negative critique of the contemporary world, a critique that had been unable to recognize progress.
Bergoglio concentrates on the “failure of categories to interpret reality” noted by Methol Ferré, sketching out in these notes a “hermeneutics of reality” in which criteria and categories are not mere “patches” or temporary fixes. This concept, together with that of “the overflow” (“rebasamiento”), has become important following the Synod for the Amazon.