Journal for Christian reflections in the context of social sciences and humanities


Note: English translations of scholarly studies available since 2/2013.


From Church Scrutinizing the Signs of the Times (GS 4) to Church Discerning (EG 43)
Ambros Pavel
The paper reacts to the experienced need to embody faith in life, which implies also the need to interconnect theology and pastoral care. This requirement was loudly stated at the Second Vatican Council, which invites the Christian to scrutinize the signs of the times. The Church can be perceived as a great ship that is to provide security for humanity and bring salvation. The contemporary human being sails the sea of the world buffeted between hope and anxiety. Precisely this buffeting can be viewed as a sign of the times. But it is apparently insufficient to stop at it. Scrutinizing signs of the times is linked to a perceptiveness for the presence of Creator–Father in the created world. If from there we then move to a pastoral discernment in the Ignatian sense of the word, the presence of the Son of God as beginning and culmination of the salvation poured out into the entire body of Christ, i.e., the Church, becomes central. Central significance is then attained by the post-Easter presence of Christ in the Church as an experienced and spiritual fertility developing the unity of the divine and the human. The author shows that precisely through discernment, to which Pope Francis is newly inviting us, the Church can guide the person to hope.

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