Thursday, October 24, 2013

Danielou's Prayer as a Political Problem

Br. Bonaventure Chapman, O.P. states that Jean Cardinal Danielou S.J. is not calling for some reactionary model of politics and prayer, a neo-Constantinianism, especially in the context of a post written by a man wearing a medieval habit. This would be a nostalgic impossibility. There is no hope for a "Benedictine escapism" from the world; rather, in an Augustinian register Danielou declares:
The reader might be surprised by the title given to this chapter and this book. Public policy and prayer are two realities not usually brought together in this way. I have chosen the heading deliberately, because it seems to me essential to make it clear—perhaps somewhat provocatively—that there can be no radical division between civilization and what belongs to the interior being of man; that there must be a dialogue between prayer and the pursuit and realization of public policy; that both the one and the other are necessary and in a sense complementary... In other words, there can be no civilization where prayer is not its representative expression. Correlatively, prayer depends on civilization.

A city which does not possess churches as well as factories is not fit for men. It is inhuman. The task of politics is to assure to men a city in which it will be possible for them to fulfill themselves completely, to have a full material, fraternal, and spiritual life...

We ought never to forget that the Church is the Church of Everyman. The salvation which Jesus Christ comes to offer, the life which he comes to give, are salvation and life offered to the poor—to all—and what is offered to all must be within the reach of all. Yet today, for most men, given the circumstances in which they find themselves, the realization of a life of prayer is practically impossible… A world which had built up its culture without reference to God, a humanism from which adoration was completely absent, would make the maintenance of a positive religious point of view impossible for the great majority of men...

I have no liking for Christians who will not touch the facts of human existence for fear of soiling their hands… I love that Church which plunges into the thickets of human history and is not afraid of compromising itself by getting mixed up with men’s affairs, with their political conflicts and their cultural disputes.
Post a Comment