THE CHRISTIAN HUMANISM OF PAUL VI: ITS CHRISTOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS (PAPACY, ECCLESIOLOGY)

MAUREEN EILEEN SULLIVAN, Fordham University

Abstract

The question that prompted this dissertation was the meaning and value of Christian humanism today. A satisfactory answer depended to a large extent on finding the right concrete topic, a person or event, which would manifest both the theoretical and the practical aspects of this age-old perspective on human life.^ The papacy certainly afforded preferential possibilities, since it stands at the center of Christianity. But popes differed radically from one another in their appreciation of Christian humanism and their contribution to it. Fortunately, a recent pope, Paul VI (1963-1978), proved to be an ideal subject, for he led the Church during difficult times, wrote wisely and well, and was convinced of the value of Christian humanism.^ The method used was to assess both the life and the works of Giovanni Battista Montini thus assuring a fullbodied understanding of his humanism. Although his formative years proved important to this study, his activities as pope were the main focus, for they presented the mature thinker in a position of power and responsibility and they revealed, especially through his official statements, the major themes of his Christian humanism with its foundations and implications.^ Paul VI turned out to be a Christian humanist in transition. He guided the Church as it slowly moved from classical to modern culture. He retained traditional convictions and commitments, which he discovered in Jesus Christ both as he is in himself and as he dwells in us through grace. The Church of Christ animated by the Spirit of Christ became for him the concrete center of his life and thought. But he was always open to change and ready to enter into dialogue with all peoples and religions. By his envisaging a humanism that had an existential grounding, an ecumenical outreach, and a supernatural core, he convincingly showed not only that Christian humanism is possible today, but that it is a pressing necessity, if the world is to achieve peace and salvation.^ What then was Paul VI's Christian humanism? It was a world view holding that God became man in Jesus Christ and transforms us by entering our lives through his Church and thus becoming the co-author of our personal and social history. ^

Subject Area

Theology

Recommended Citation

SULLIVAN, MAUREEN EILEEN, "THE CHRISTIAN HUMANISM OF PAUL VI: ITS CHRISTOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS (PAPACY, ECCLESIOLOGY)" (1985). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8521418.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8521418

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