The church’s current social teaching is profoundly rooted in the Second Vatican Council and oriented to the urgent needs of today said Cardinal Michael Czerny in an annual lecture for the Australian Cardijn Institute on 15 November.
Cardinal Czerny is the prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. In March Pope Francis sent him with humanitarian aid to Ukraine, along with the papal almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski.
In the Cardijn lecture which the cardinal delivered online from Rome, he discussed his book, co-authored with Fr Christian Barone, Siblings All, Sign of the Times: The Social Teaching of St Francis, which is a guide to Pope Francis’ latest encyclical Fratelli Tutti.
“Pope Francis teaches us to interpret, embrace and implement the most important sign of the times and that is the urgent vocation to behave like the siblings that we really are… to develop the social friendship necessary to care for one another and to care for our common home,” Cardinal Czerny said.
The cardinal said that ‘sign of the times’ was key to understanding the Council including its “rediscovery of the synodal nature of the Church” and “probably the most memorable expression that came to us from Vatican II” but added that the phrase was also misunderstood. Rather than a purely secular understanding of the ‘sign of the times’ as precursors of future social, economic and cultural realities, the Church is called to a different view, he said.
“The Council doesn’t see the sign of the times sociologically but in relationship to our life as followers of Jesus, as the Church, as the living people of God.
Responding to the lecture, Susan Pascoe, chair of Catholic Emergency Relief Australia and one of the drafters of the Document for the Continental Stage of the Synod on Synodality said that part of the “genius” of Pope Francis’s communication is his constant invitation to all of the people of God, not only the hierarchy.
Cardinal delivers Cardijn Lecture to Aussies (Catholic Weekly)
Siblings All, Sign of the Times – The Social Teaching of Pope Francis (ACI/YouTube)
Cardinal Michael Czerny, undersecretary for the Vatican’s Migrants and Refugees Section, stands on the terrace of the Jesuit residence in Rome April 22, 2020, where he lives and, during the coronavirus lockdown, works. (CNS photo/courtesy Cardinal Czerny) See VATICAN-LETTER-RESOLUTIONS April 22, 2020.