The Church in the Modern World: Fifty Years Later

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The Church in the Modern World: Fifty Years Later

November 13, 2015 - November 14, 2015

On November 13-14, 2015, the Washington Session of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family will sponsor a conference entitled “The Church in the Modern World: Fifty Years Later” for the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s document Gaudium et spes. The conference concludes the Institute’s series of events devoted to the major texts of Vatican II.

Gaudium et spes provides the Church’s most comprehensive official statement regarding her relation to the world. The document carries out its reflection above all in terms of a distinctive anthropology conceived in inner openness to the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. Indeed, the anthropology of Gaudium et spes is best understood against the background of Chalcedonian Christology, with its affirmation that, in Jesus Christ, God truly assumes (assumpta) but does not absorb (preempta) human nature. As Joseph Ratzinger puts it: “The human nature of all men is one; Christ’s taking to himself the one human nature of man is an event which affects every human being; consequently human nature in every human being is henceforward Christologically characterized” (Vorgrimler, ed., Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, 160).

The question of the Church’s relation to the world, in this light, takes on a striking new feature. Her task of entering the modern world, of taking on the “joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the men and women of our time” and of bearing the “message of salvation intended for all,” consists in a genuine assumption of the world into and through Christ’s Eucharistic love, an assumption that does not absorb but on the contrary presupposes even as it fulfills the world’s own natural-creaturely integrity (GS 1).

The purpose of the conference is to ponder several main issues that arise regarding the Church-world relation so understood, treating first those problems that concern “the dignity of the human person and his individual and social role in the universe” (GS 46); and second, in light of these anthropological considerations, those “urgent problems deeply affecting the human race” (46). Chief among the latter is that identified first by Gaudium et spes: marriage and family (GS 47-52).


Friday, November 13
6:30 p.m. Check-in table opens
7:00 Keynote Address

America and the End of Civilization: God and the (Dis)Enchantment of Culture

Speaker: David L. Schindler

8:30 Reception
Saturday, November 14
8:30 a.m. Continental breakfast available
9:00-10:30 The Anthropology of Gift

Speakers: Adrian Walker and Rev. Antonio López, F.S.C.B.

Moderator: Frederick Bauerschmidt

11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Nature and Grace

Speakers: Matthew Levering and Nicholas J. Healy

Moderator: Rodney Howsare

12:30-2:00 Lunch
2:00-3:30 Discerning the Signs of the Times: Marriage, Family, and the Person

Speakers: David S. Crawford and Rev. Paolo Prosperi, F.S.C.B.

Moderator: William Mattison

4:00-5:30 Human Work and Economy

Speakers: Andrew Abela and D.C. Schindler

Moderator: Stephen Hildebrand

The presentations from this conference were published in Enlightening the Mystery of Man: Gaudium et Spes Fifty Years Later through Humanum Academic Press.


November 13, 2015
November 14, 2015
Event Category:

(Dis)Enchantment and the End of Modern Civilization: The Symbolical, Neutral, & Diabolical

YouTube video

Sincerum sui ipsius donum: The Trinitarian Ground of Gaudium et Spes’s Anthropology

YouTube video

Man’s Highest Calling: The Theological Anthropology of Gaudium et Spes

YouTube video

Nature and Grace in Gaudium et Spes: Status of the Theory of the Natural Desire for the Supernatural

YouTube video

Eucharistic Ecclesiology and Eschatology: On the Church’s Relation to the World

YouTube video

Discerning the Signs of the Times: Gaudium et Spes, Contraception, and Some Cultural Implications for Marriage and Family as Natural Communities

YouTube video

The Mystery is Great: Reflections on the Fittingness of the Nuptial Analogy in Trinitarian Theology

YouTube video

Human Work and Economy: Gaudium et Spes Fifty Years Later

YouTube video

Redeeming Work: On Techne as an Encounter between God, Man, & the World

YouTube video