1. The proclamationand defense of the human person
At the veryfoundation of a globalization that is just and equitable is the dignity of thehuman persona theme which Pope John Paul II has returned to again and againfrom his first encyclicalRedemptor hominisonward. Without this focalpointany project for society is bound to go astray and enslave rather thanset free. We must make the proclamation of the truth about the human person thecenter of our missionary proclamation in a globalized world. The redemption wehave received in Jesus Christ is testimony to how God perceives and loves eachhuman being.
2. Creating a culture of life
Since our response tohuman dignity is deeply affected by the values which comprise one’sculturethe second and related major task facing a Church is the conversion ofculture. In the words of the Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Americathe cultures which globalization touches must be guided by “a moral visionof human dignitysolidarityand subsidiarity.” (No. 55) As the ApostolicExhortation explainsthis transformation involves both the inculcation ofthese positive values in every culture and in interactions between nationsandalso the attendant reduction of the negative effects of globalization on thepoor and weak. The global conversion of culture also involves supporting thoseinternational organizations that strive to create and sustain a culture oflife.
Let me give anexample of a proper response to one issue that is of special importance to thecountries of America: their massive external debt. Dealing with this centralissue in our people’s lives requires two strategies. On the one handwemust mitigate the negative effects of the debtwhich drains away resourcesfrom a country and hurts especially the poor. This requires concerted effortsto have the debt reduced by lender countries and institutions - or evencompletely cancelled in some cases. While some efforts have been made by theworld financial institutions and the major industrialized countries toacknowledge this issueall efforts have so far been inadequate. But on theother handwe must promote an internal culture within each debtor nation thatwill assure that loans and investments received are used for the common goodand for genuine human promotion. Thuscultural elements that encouragecronyismcorruptionand fraud must be eliminated within the country itself.As Christianswe are called upon to work at both of these dimensions.
1. The Church’scatholicity in an age of globalization
One of the greatresources the Catholic Church brings to the mission of evangelization in an ageof globalization is its catholicity. I understand catholicity here in both ofits theological dimensions: its extension throughout the entire worldand thefullness of truth which it brings to the human family.
As a Church extendedthroughout the entire worldthe Catholic Church itself is a transnationalinstitution which brings special resources to a globalized world. In an agewhen transnational institutions (such as the NGOs) can render a special serviceto mankind which no single nation can dothe Church has networks ofcommunication to build solidarity among nations and throughout the humancommunity. The challenge before us now as a Church is to use the network wealready have even more effectively. Missionary institutes and organizationshave a special role to play in this. Communion among local churches is meant tobe the leaven for solidarity among peoples.
The message of faithwhich the Church preaches provides a moral and spiritual vision for a just andequitable society in an age of globalization. The truths she has received fromChrist emboldens the Church to proclaim the dignity of the human personthecentrality of the human person for any social projectthe call to solidarityamong all members of the human familythe presence of both good and evil inevery culturean the reconciling mission of Jesus Christ to bring all thingstogether on the earth in offering to God (cf. Eph 1:10; Col 1:20).
Let me sketch for youhow I see the presentation of these truths. A Church which is truly catholicproposes the message of salvation to all people without exception ordistinction; all are called to the banquet table of the Reign of God. Theeffectiveness of this proposal is grounded in our own continual conversionacontinual “change of mentality” (metanoia)a constant turningaway from a radically autonomous and isolated selfa change brought about bythe encounter with Christ in his bodythe Church. In this constant conversionecclesial communionour relation to one another in Christis deepened. Theinculturation of the faith - the conversion of a society and culture broughtabout by preaching who Christ is in a language understandable to the people -begins with identifying semina verbi present in every culture and thenmoves to identify the demonic elements also present in any culture. Thisdiscernment becomes visible in the lives of the evangelizers themselveswhoare witnesses to the power of God’s grace. Such Catholic evangelizers mustbe in profound conversation both with Christ and with the people he places ontheir path.
2. The call for a new evangelization
The newevangelizationfirst called for by our Holy Father during a visit to Haititakes into account how the world has changed and asks how the saving message ofJesus Christ can be heard by those whohaving once accepted the Gospelnowhave deliberately put it aside. This conscious rejection of the faith ispresent not only in the new Aeropagoi of the mass media and of science of whichthe Pope spoke in the encyclical Redemptoris Missiobut also in thechanged outlooks of many men and women todayof entire groups who live in aworld order where the old compass points no longer orient. Keeping theprinciples of the new evangelization in mind will make our mission moreeffective in a globalized world: It is biblical; comprehensive in attending toall peoples; dialogic in its respect for freedom of conscience; culturallyadapted even as it transforms societies; innovative in its use of the new mediaof communications; and it is the responsibility of all members of the Church.
The newevangelization presupposes both ecumenical and interfaith dialogue. SinceChrist and his Church are oneecclesial disunity is a scandal that weakens thepreaching of the Gospel. Globalized economiessocieties and cultures willrespond only to a genuinely unified Church. As the faith communities becomeagain the primary shapers and leavens of culture in the next millenniuminterfaith dialogue becomes ever more imperative. Especially crucial is thedialogue between Catholicism and Islamboth of which are growing. Therelationship between Catholics and Muslims will define globalization moreprofoundly than any economic or political arrangements.
3. Celebration of the Great Jubilee
A third resource forthe mission in a context of globalization is the celebration of the GreatJubilee. The Jubilee carries with it messages that are central to mission.First of allit expresses the gratuitous character of the love of Godwhooffered His own Son for the salvation of our world. In a world where everyrelationship threatens to become commercializedwhere acts of generosity andgratuity are seen as diminishing possible profitsthe message of how God actsgratuitously to save the world brings us into a genuine new world.
SecondJubilee meansin the Bible the cancellation of debt and a new beginning. If authenticglobalization is about inclusion and participationthen such inclusion andparticipation must be made possible by giving the poor a fresh start. TheChurch brings her resources to bear upon imagining a new beginning wherejustice and then peace will have a better chance because both are grounded inlove.