Sunday, July 6, 2008

Traces - Charity and Politics

An excerpt from Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete's "Charity and Politics"

Indeed, charity is a reality of another world. It a “supernatural,” divine reality. But for those of us who believe in the Incarnation, the other- wordliness” of charity doesn’t prevent it from building a new kind of life, a new culture, a “civilization of love” in this world. To understand how this can happen, it is important to understand how it has already happened, and to be faithful to that unimaginable, absolutely exceptional, and unique meeting point between this world and the divine world. The meeting point between charity and politics cannot be deduced from theology, nor philosophy, nor even less political ideologies. It cannot be constructed by human thought, by reason. It can only be recognized by faith. The meeting point between charity and politics is Someone, a Man who is “God from God.” The meeting point in this world with “another world” is Jesus Christ.

The starting point for the Christian contribution to the struggle for liberation and social justice can only be faith in Jesus Christ. However, faith cannot be separated from reason. Politics is an exercise of human reason. The fact that faith in Jesus Christ–not simply “in God,” but in this Man, Christ–makes love (charity) present in this world happens because faith has an impact on reason. It doesn’t depend on us; it is not that faith inspires us or imposes a moral obligation on us. Faith changes the way we see reality, the way we think about it and respond accordingly. Pope Benedict said it very clearly in Aparecida, Brazil: “If we do not know God in and with Christ, all of reality is transformed into an indecipherable enigma.”

Without Christ, there is no way because there is no hope strong enough to overcome the law of corruption and death. Only love (charity) can overcome death and has already overcome death in Christ. Without Christ, therefore, charity is not present in this world.

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