Pope Francis on Christian Humanism

One of Millennial’s themes is Christian humanism, which rejects nihilism, relativism, and quietism, among other temptations for contemporary believers and non-believers alike. Here are some highlights of Pope Francis’ speech on the subject in Florence:

  • We can speak of humanism only from the centrality of Jesus, discovering in Him the features of man’s authentic face. It is the contemplation of the face of Jesus dead and risen that reconstructs our humanity.
  • I do not wish to design here, in the abstract, a “new humanism,” a certain idea of man, but to present with simplicity some traits of Christian humanism, which is that of the “sentiments of Christ Jesus.”
  • The first sentiment is humility….The obsession to keep one’s glory, one’s “dignity,” one’s influence must not be part of our sentiments. We must pursue God’s glory and this does not coincide with ours. God’s glory, which shines in the humility of the cave of Bethlehem and the dishonor of the cross of Christ always surprises us.
  • Another sentiment of Christ that gives shape to Christian humanism is unselfishness….A Christian’s humanity is always outgoing. It is not narcissistic, self-referential….Our duty is to work and struggle to make this world a better place. Our faith is revolutionary by an impulse that comes from the Holy Spirit. We must follow this impulse to come out of ourselves, to be men according to Jesus’ Gospel.  May  life be decided on the capacity to give oneself. It is there that it transcends itself, that it arrives at being fruitful.
  • A further sentiment of Christ Jesus is that of A Christian is a blessed, if he has in himself the joy of the Gospel. The Lord points out the way to us in the Beatitudes. By following it we human beings can attain an authentically more human and divine happiness.
  • These traits tell us that we must not be obsessed by “power.”
  • A Church that has these traits – humility, unselfishness, beatitude – is a Church that is able to recognize the Lord’s action in the world, in the culture, in the daily life of the people. I have said it more than once and I repeat it again to you today: I prefer a bumpy, wounded and soiled Church for having gone out through the streets, rather than a sick Church because she is closed in the comfortableness of holding on to her own certainties. I do not want a Church concerned to be at the center and that ends up enclosed in a tangle of obsessions and procedures (Evangelii Gaudium, 49).
  • Pelagianism leads us to have trust in the structures, in the organizations, in the plans, which are perfect because abstract. Often it even leads us to assume a style of control, of hardness, of normativity. The norm gives to the Pelagian the security of feeling superior, of having a precise orientation. He finds his strength in this, not in the lightness of the Spirit’s breath. In the face of the evils or problems of the Church it is useless to seek solutions in conservatism and fundamentalism, in the restoration of surmounted conduct and forms that do not even have culturally the capacity to be significant.
  • A second temptation to overcome is that of Gnosticism. It leads to trust in logical and clear reasoning, which, however, loses the tenderness of the brother’s flesh.
  • Please, do not look at life from the balcony, but commit yourselves, immerse yourselves in the wide social and political dialogue. May the hands of your faith be raised to Heaven, but may they do so while building a city constructed on relations in which the love of God is the foundation. And thus you will be free to accept today’s challenges, to live the changes and the transformations.
  • The Christian humanism you are called to live affirms radically the dignity of every person… it establishes between every human being an essential fraternity, it teaches to understand work, to inhabit Creation as a common home, it furnishes reasons for joy and humor… in the midst of a life that is so often hard.