Reflection & Dialogue: Christianity and the soul of a nation.
Currently, when attempts are being made to decrease the influence of the Church in public life, or to impede it completely, or even assert that such influence is a danger to the public, it is well to reflect on this question in conjunction with God’s word in today’s Mass liturgy, especially in relation to what Paul has to say in his Letter to the Romans, passages of which are being read over the coming Sundays. This current secularization movement stresses what is external in the human person, in the state and in public life. As a result there may follow a void in the human person, a void within, leading to a lack of a sense of direction in life, and an absence of the strength required in times of trial.
Society as we know it today has many problems – drugs, and the misery that follow from them for households, the pressure on addicts to pay for the drugs under pain of punishment or death for themselves or their relatives or acquaintances if they do not. There are the murders, the injuries, the knifings. It is obvious that society as we now know it has become rough, in these and in other ways. Governments, state and other organizations can attempt, or do their best, to confront this situation. There is here, however, a dimension that goes beyond any government or organization, and that is the soul of the individual and the forces at work within it. Some writers who reflect on this situation of humanity today, or of society as we know it, note the absence of any metaphysic or substance with regard to the human person, as if the human person only consisted of desires, passions and such like, without a substance behind these to give meaning and direction. It is worth reflecting on all this. As believers we have a call to do something about it, especially as we reflect on what Paul has to say on related issues in his closing chapters of the Letter to the Romans.
The Church has very much to offer society, and we should all become conscious of this. The Church’s message, Christ’s message, is about the inner person, the soul of the individual, and with this of society.