“The glory of God is man fully alive” –St. Irenaeus
It’s nearly hopeless to find words to describe what happens when you gather a room full of people who see the same truth, or at least care about the same truth. The quote above is the closest I’ve found to put words to it, and those are powerful words indeed.
I had the distinct pleasure of attending the Catholic thought and human flourishing event at AEI yesterday with a handful of old friends and an exciting consort of new ones. It’s somewhat funny to add my own insights to the discussion of Catholic Social Teaching by brilliant minds that occurred, so I’ll sum up the experience with a humble bouquet of reflections:
- The role of religion in society is to protect all things good, true, and beautiful in our world– by orienting it toward the eternal. Though other religions undeniably contain gems of all three, and bigger and smaller angels of right alignment, it is my belief that only the Catholic Church carries the whole treasure of the Good, True, and Beautiful. And that is the reason I esteem Catholic Social Teaching at a higher level than everyday political philosophy. Though not infallible, I have found it always merits a second, or third, look.
- For this reason, religion must permeate all we undertake– there is no divided life for the true believer as God is Creator of our private homes and public squares alike.
- At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that we are all brothers and sisters. Once you grasp that in a very real way, everything else falls into place.
So, in the transformative words of the Archbishop of Washington,
When everything else is all said and done, what the Catholic Church, what faith brings to the common human endeavor, is the realization that all things can be made new. ‘Behold,’ Jesus said, ‘I am making all things new.’ Our task is to recognize and accept that fact that we can do that.