Reflecting the Mind of the
Vatican Since 1850

August 2023 Issue
The Crisis of the Liberal-Democratic Model

Giacomo Costa, a consultant to the General Secretariat of the Synod, lays out the Instrumentum laboris for the first session of the XVI General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will take place at the Vatican from Sept. 30 to Oct. 29, 2023. The document consists of a Foreword, which presents the text, its genesis and structure, and two Sections. The first offers a rereading of the journey made in the first phase of Synod 2021-24, giving voice to the main realizations reached. The second formulates priorities that emerged in the dialogue within and among the local Churches in the different stages of the first phase, submitting them to the discernment of the Synodal Assembly.


The legal thinking of the popes from St. Paul VI to Francis, deservers greater study, particularly given recent debates revolving around what is meant by “doctrinal” and “pastoral” in Christian teaching and life. James Campbell shows how a key tool for identifying, understanding, the popes’ recent calls to develop both dimensions is there to be found in Recent Papal Legal Thought: The Doctrinal/Pastoral Axis. Indeed, they provide the key to interpreting the “signs of the times,” that is, God’s initiative in human affairs.


The Spiritual Dimension of Work considers the human dimension of the worker; one that is capable of an always risky relationship with others and never reduced to a controllable object, not as a robot subject to laws, regulations, procedures. The dehumanizing and harmful effects of organizations that are cogs in a larger economic machine are analyzed and conditions are presented that restore the worker to their proper human role based on the Christian social tradition.


The synod on synodality, together with Pope Francis, dreams of a more synodal Church. To realize this dream, it is imperative that the faithful acquire a new consciousness. St. Ignatius’ Synodality and the Spiritual Exercises outlines three main aspects of this spirituality: the method and dynamics of the Exercises; the proper way to perceive, welcome and arrange charisms; and the attitudes of dialogue that emerge from sentire cum Ecclesia (listening, praising and walking together).


Our reality is no longer that of the boomers’ years and we are facing the possibility of the demise of the liberal-democracy that shaped modern Europe. In The Crisis of the Liberal-Democratic Model our director, Antonio Spadaro, considers whether the centrist political forces will survive in the neoliberal era when many accept that “society does not exist, only the individual exists.”


Also in the issue:

Matteo Ricci. Holiness through Encounter, Federico Lombardi
The Arab League Rehabilitates Assad’s Syria, Giovanni Sale
Adam Smith on the Third Centenary of His Birth, Giovanni Cucci
Deconstructing Vermeer, Lucian Lechintan
Communication and Religion, Paul A. Soukup
Sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb: Identity crisis, racism, conflict, Jean-Pierre Bodjoko
‘None is the Number’: Antonio Monda’s spiritual noir, Antonio Spadaro


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Our commentary and analysis is both educated and informed providing a clear indication of what Rome is thinking on a wide range of issues that affect the contemporary Church.

© Union of Catholic Asian News 2024
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