Reflecting the Mind of the
Vatican Since 1850

Transformative Apostolic Planning
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Apostolic Planning has become a buzzword across the Church and wider society, but the term, and indeed the practice, has also provoked controversy and division. Core questions include: Does planning make sense in a context where we rely on the Holy Spirit who “blows where it wills” (John 3:8)? How far can human reason take us, given our faults and sinful inclinations? And if we look at how the world is at the moment – the so-called “VUCA environment” – how can we really plan?

Another issue relates to the particularities of the technocratic age where insufficient attention is given to the affective dimension or to inner wisdom and intuition. Christina Kheng, lecturer in pastoral leadership at the East Asian Pastoral Institute of Manila, notes that in these circumstances “the actual practice of strategic planning often gravitates back to what is quantifiable, formulaic, unambiguous, and controllable. Sometimes the process is also undertaken mechanically, bureaucratically, and superficially without any real dialogue, critical reflection, or strategic thinking […]. In the context of a digital age, there is a risk that these tendencies would increase further.”

Given all this, we can certainly say that the type of planning that we do in the Church needs to be radically different from the planning done in business circles and especially in business circles dominated by a technocratic model. Pope Francis underlines this and has shown himself to be very skeptical of planning dominated by certain ideologies: “we would fall into the dictatorship of functionalism. It is a new ideological colonization that tries to convince us that the Gospel is a form of wisdom, it is a doctrine, but it is not a proclamation, it is not a kerygma.”
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2024
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