Monday, March 07, 2016

FOCUS OF THE SOCIAL DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH



As Theology has God as its Centerpiece, the Social Doctrine of the Church has man as its focal figure primarily in conjunction with his life in society.  As God is the Highest Being in the spiritual word, man is the crowning  glory of His creation, the highest being in the world of earthly realities all over the globe.  No wonder then that the human person has so much significance and so many implications, so many constitutive dimensions and manifold features, so many inherent rights as well as corresponding obligations – all of which are the direct or indirect concerns of the Social Doctrine of the Church that is categorically pro-God and pro-Man  in line with the fundamental that her own Founder is nothing less than true God and true Man.

When someone claims that he completely knows and altogether understands man, the same is either but boasting or wallowing in ignorance – or simply lying.  The truth of the matter is that there is an immense number of men who do not even know themselves – who and what they are really all about.  The complementary truth of the matter is that in the seemingly unending course of time, there is usually something new that comes to fore – be this good or bad about man and/or for man.  So it is that even the Social Doctrine of the Church may not but be attentive to and responsive to such a continuous progressive concerns of man in conjunction with the equally continuously changing situation of earthly circumstances.

It can thus be rightfully said that the Social Doctrine of the Church knows only too well that the human person has many constitutive elements from within plus many practical aspects  in conjunction with the outside world.  This is why it is necessary that the social teachings of the Church have to dwell particularly on the primary and indispensable dimensions of the human person for the purpose of coming out with a basically integral Doctrine about man in his social nature and dimension – contrary to the individualistic perspective of man.  To focus  on such an egoistic dimension of man is a reductionist view of the human person, and any teaching based thereon cannot but be also a minimized and minimizing view of man.  This errant perception of man is precisely what makes ignoramus individuals  trample upon him – simply using the latter as a footstool of power, a source of wealth, an instrument of self-service for selfish satisfaction.

So it is that there is no such thing as an “absolute individual” in dealing with the human person – as if he comes from himself and grows by himself, as if there is nothing else but himself and for himself.  The Social Doctrine of the Church is about man, yes, but about man as someone living and interacting with others in society.  This is precisely why the Church qualifies her Doctrine about man and the world wherein he lives as “Social”.  There is no such thing as the “Political Doctrine of the Church”.  So it is that when the Church addresses politics, this is basically on account of her mandate to serve the good of man.  And rightly so.  After all, as it is categorically and clearly said in the Good Book, there are but two Commandments, viz., Love of God and Love of Man.  So it is that on the occasion of the forthcoming 2016 Election – as in all other elections before – the focal concern of the Church is man as he undergoes another political exercise.