From the Joy of the Gospel to the Joy of Christ

Situating and Expanding the Christology of Evangelii Gaudium

In: Ecclesiology
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  • 1 Von Hügel Institute, UK

Many have perceived and reacted to the fresh presentation of the Christian gospel in the pontificate of Francis. It is tempting to read this as a switch in emphasis from content to form, or from ideas to action, and play Benedict XVI off against Francis I: the introverted scholarly theologian followed by the charismatic preacher. Ultimately undermining such a dichotomising approach, this article describes, analyses, situates, and draws out Francis’ christology. Exploring resonances between Francis’ thought and some ressourcement thinkers (Romano Guardini, Josef Jungmann, Yves Congar), it uncovers the christology underlying Evangelii Gaudium. Attention to the role of christology in Francis’ thought, as well as the inspiration he continues to draw from ressourcement thinkers, especially Guardini, uncovers surprisingly significant links between Bergoglio and Ratzinger.

  • 3

    @Pontifex, 28 May 2015.

  • 6

    @Pontifex 25 April 2015.

  • 10

    Sarah Bachelard, Resurrection and Moral Imagination (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013). This important work builds on key works by Oliver O’Donovan, Rowan Williams, James Alison, and Brian Robinette.

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  • 17

     See Nicholas Adams, Eclipse of Grace: Divine and Human Agency in Hegel (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), pp. 8–10, 20–25.

  • 18

    Jorge M. Bergoglio, ‘Necessidad de un antropologia politica: un problema pastoral’, Stromata 45/1–2 (1989), pp. 173–189, here p. 177, note 5. Bergoglio also uses this phrase in his texts on the monastic spirituality of Dorotheus of Gaza: The Way of Humility: Corruption and Sin; On Self-Accusation (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2014), p. 66.

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  • 21

     See Philip McCosker, Christ the Paradox: Expanding Ressourcement Theology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017).

  • 23

     See Walter Kasper, Pope Francis’ Revolution of Tenderness and Love (New York: Paulist, 2015), p. 20, and Austen Ivereigh, The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope (London: Allen & Unwin, 2014), pp. 197–198.

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  • 25

    Romano Guardini, Die Lehre des heil. Bonaventura von der Erlösung: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte und zum System der Erlösungslehre (Düsseldorf: L. Schwann, 1921), p. 48.

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  • 26

    Romano Guardini, Gegensatz und Gegesätze: Entwurf eines Systems der Typenlehre (Freiburg: Caritas, 1914); Der Gegensatz: Versuche zu einer Philosophie des Lebendig-Konkreten (Mainz: Matthias Grünewald, 1925). For a full analysis of Guardini from the perspective of opposition see Albino Babolin, Romano Guardini: Filosofo dell’alterità (2 volumes; Bologna: Zanichelli, 1968–69).

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  • 28

    Maurice Blondel, ‘Le point de départ de la recherche philosophique’, Annales de philosophie chrétienne 151 (1906), pp. 337–360; 152 (1906), pp. 225–249, here p. 235.

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  • 29

    Note the summary in Bergoglio, ‘Necessidad’, p. 177.

  • 32

    Guardini, Der Gegensatz, p. 42.

  • 33

    Guardini, Der Gegensatz, p. 48.

  • 35

    Romano Guardini, The Lord (London: Longmans, Green & Co, 1956), p. 436 and passim.

  • 37

     See Romano Guardini, The Humanity of Christ: Contributions to a Psychology of Jesus (London: Burns & Oates, 1958), p. 124.

  • 39

    Josef Jungmann, ‘Christus, als Mittelpunkt religiöser Erziehung’, Stimmen der Zeit 134 (1938), pp. 218–233, here p. 218.

  • 42

     See Kasper, Pope Francis’ Revolution, p. 97, note 2, where he mentions Jungmann’s Die Frohbotschaft und Unsere Glaubensverkündigung (Regensburg: Pustet, 1936). See the abridged translation: The Good News Yesterday and Today (New York: Sadlier, 1962).

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  • 44

     See Luigi Giussani, The Risk of Education: Discovering Our Ultimate Destiny (New York: Crossroad, 2001).

  • 45

     See Michael Ivens, Understanding the Spiritual Exercises (Leominster: Gracewing, 1998), pp. 43–44, 75–77.

  • 47

    Yves Congar, Power and Poverty in the Church (Baltimore: Helicon, 1964) and True and False Reform in the Church (Collegeville: Liturgical, 2010), especially pp. 205–213.

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  • 48

    Johann Adam Möhler, Unity in the Church, or, The Principle of Catholicism Presented in the Spirit of the Church Fathers of the First Three Centuries (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 1996), especially pp. 194–198. For good commentary on the role of opposition in Möhler’s ecclesiology see Rupert Geiselmann, Johann Adam Möhler, Die Einheit der Kirche und die Wiedervereinigung der Konfessionen (Vienna: Friedrich Beck, 1940), especially, pp. 47–48, 167–66.

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  • 49

     Cf. Ivereigh, Reformer, pp. xv, 93–94, 120, 142 amongst others.

  • 56

    Iain McGilchrist, The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009).

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