People of God

People of God is a description that in the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible applies to the Israelites and that the New Testament applies to Christians. Within the Catholic Church, it has been given greater prominence because of its employment in documents of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965).

In the Bible

In the Old Testament, the Israelites are referred to as "the people of God" in Judges 20:2 and 2 Samuel 14:13. The equivalent phrases "the people of the Lord"[1] and "the people of the Lord your God" are also used.[2] In those texts God is also represented as speaking of the Children of Israel as "my people".[3] The people of God was a term first used, by God in the book of Exodus Chapter 6:7 which carried stipulation in this covenant between man and God. God promised deliverance, in return the people owed obedience.

In the New Testament, the expression "people of God" is found in Hebrews 4:9 and 11:25, and the expression "his people", that is, God's people, appears in Revelation 21:3. 2 Corinthians 6:16 mentions the same promises to the New Testament believer "I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people" which is a parallel to Exodus 6.

Later Christian use

Continued use of the expression "people of God" (in Latin, populus Dei) in the writings of the Church Fathers are found in Augustine's De civitate Dei[4] and Pope Leo I's Lenten Sermon.[5] Its use continued up to and including Pope John XXIII's apostolic letter Singulari studio[6] of 1 July 1960, two years before the Second Vatican Council.

In Gaelic, Latin populus Dei became pobal Dé and has continued for centuries to be an expression in everyday use for the Church in a parish, a diocese or the world.[7][8]

Second Vatican Council

The dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium devoted its chapter II to "the new People of God", "a people made up of Jew and gentile", called together by Christ (section 9). It spoke of "the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh" as among those who "are related in various ways to the people of God" (section 16). It described in detail the qualities of this People of God in words "intended for the laity, religious and clergy alike" (section 30), while also pointing out the specific duties and functions of the different ranks of which it is composed, such as that of "those who exercise the sacred ministry for the good of their brethren" (section 13).

In 2001, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was to become in 2005 Pope Benedict XVI, stated that the council's choice of this term reflected three perspectives. The principal one was to introduce a term that could serve as an ecumenical bridge, recognizing intermediate degrees of belonging to the church. Another was to put more in evidence the human element in the church, which is also part of her nature. And the third was to recall that the church has not yet reached her final state and that she "will not be wholly herself until the paths of time have been traversed and have blossomed in the hands of God".[9]

Ratzinger also declared that the term is not to be understood in way that would reduce it "to an a-theological and purely sociological view" of the church.[10] Michael Hesemann wrote:

After the Council, the expression was taken up enthusiastically, but in a way that neither Ratzinger nor the Council Fathers had intended. Suddenly it became a slogan: "We are the People!" The idea of a "Church from below" developed; its proponents wanted to engage in polemics against those who held office and o carry out their agenda by democratic majority vote. Although the theological, biblical concept of people was still the idea of a natural hierarchy, of a great family, suddenly it was reinterpreted in a Marxist sense, in which "people" is always considered the antithesis to the ruling classes. The centre of the Christian faith, however, can only be God's revelation, which cannot be put to a ballot. Church is being called by God. Joseph Ratzinger said: 'The crisis concerning the Church, as it is reflected in the crisis concerning the concept "People of God", is a "crisis about God"; it is the result of leaving out what is most essential.[11]

While the council distinguished between the Jewish people and "the new People of God", Carl E. Braaten has said that, being somewhat analogous to the expression "chosen people", the term "People of God" suggests a persisting trend of supersessionism in the church, and that the expression "People of God" implying that the church is the same people as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Hebrew Bible.[12]

Use since the Second Vatican Council

The Popes have continued to use the expression "the People of God". Pope Paul VI used it with regard to his profession of faith known as the Credo of the People of God. Pope John Paul II used it in his catechetical instructions, teaching that the church is the new People of God.[13] Pope Benedict XVI has spoken of "the Church, the people of God throughout the world, united in faith and love and empowered by the Spirit to bear witness to the risen Christ to the ends of the earth".[14] On 20 August 2018, Pope Francis released a letter, addressed to the "People of God", in response to recent revelations of sexual abuse cases within the Church, quoting St. Paul: "If one member suffers, all suffer together with it" (1 Corinthians 12:26).[15]

The concluding messages of each General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops are addressed to "the People of God."[16]

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Catechism of the Catholic Church devotes a section to describing the church with this image,[17] and indicates the characteristics of the People of God "that distinguish it from all other religious, ethnic, political, or cultural groups found in history", so that it does not belong to any one of these groups. Membership of the People of God, it says, comes not by physical birth but by faith in Christ and baptism.

See also

References

  1. ^ Numbers 16:41; Judges 5:11, 5:13; 1 Samuel 2:24, 10:1; 2 Samuel 1:12, 6:21; 2 Kings 9:6; Ezekiel 36:20; Zephaniah 2:10
  2. ^ Deuteronomy 27:9
  3. ^ Exodus 3:7, 3:10, 5:1, 6:7, 7:4, 7:16, 8:1, 8:20-23, 9:1, 9:17, 10:3-4, 12:31, 22:25; Leviticus 26:12; 1 Samuel 2:29, 9:16-17, 2 Samuel 3:18, 5:2, 7:7-11; 1 Kings 6:13, 8:16, 14:7, 16:2; 2 Kings 20:5; 1 Chronicles 11:2, 17:6-10; 2 Chronicles 1:11, 6:5-6, 7:13-14; Psalms 50:7, 81:8-13; Isaiah 1:3, 3:15, 10:24, 40:1, 47:6, 51:4, 52:4-6, 58:1, 63:8, 65:10, 65:19, 65:22; Jeremiah 2:11-13, 2:31-32, 4:11, 4:22, 5:26, and over 30 other verses of the Book of Jeremiah; Ezekiel 11:20, 13:9-10, 13:19-23, 13:19-23, 14:8-11, 21:12, and at least another 15 verses of the Book of Ezekiel; Hosea 4:6-12, 6:11, 11:7; Joel 2:26-27, 3:2-3; Amos 7:8, 7:15, 8:2, 9:10, 9:14; Obadiah 1:13; Zechariah 2:8-11, 8:7-8, 13:9
  4. ^ De civitate Dei 19:26
  5. ^ Lenten Sermon 50:2
  6. ^ Singulari studio
  7. ^ Parish as Pobal Dé
  8. ^ A poem in an eighteenth-century manuscript begins with Is fairsing dealbh pobal Dé ("Extensive is the aspect of the people of God").
  9. ^ The Ecclesiology of Vatican II
  10. ^ Church as "Mystery" or "People of God"
  11. ^ Georg Ratzinger, My Brother, the Pope. As told to Michael Hesemann (Ignatius Press 2011 ISBN 978-1-58617-704-1), p. 202
  12. ^ Jews and Christians : People of God, Carl E. Braaten
  13. ^ "The Church Is the New People of God. General Audience at November 6, 1991". Archived from the original on 20 October 2012.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  14. ^ Farewell ceremony at Sydney airport, 21 July 2008
  15. ^ Letter of His Holiness to the People of God, 20 August 2018
  16. ^ For example, Message of the October 2008 assembly
  17. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 781-786
1983 Code of Canon Law

The 1983 Code of Canon Law (abbreviated 1983 CIC from its Latin title Codex Iuris Canonici), also called the Johanno-Pauline Code, is the "fundamental body of ecclesiastical laws for the Latin Church". It is the second and current comprehensive codification of canonical legislation for the Latin Church sui iuris of the Catholic Church. It was promulgated on 25 January 1983 by John Paul II and took legal effect on the First Sunday of Advent (27 November) 1983. It replaced the 1917 Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Benedict XV on 27 May 1917.

Ad gentes

Ad gentes is the Second Vatican Council's decree on missionary activity. The title is Latin for "To the Nations," and is from the first line of the decree, as is customary with Roman Catholic documents. It establishes evangelization as one of the fundamental missions of the Catholic Church and reaffirms the tie between evangelization and charity for the poor. Ad Gentes also calls for the formation of strong Christian communities as well as strong relations with other Christians. Finally, it lays out guidelines for the training and actions of the missionaries.

Catholic Church by country

The Catholic Church is a "Communion of Churches, both Roman and Eastern, or Oriental, that are in full communion with the Bishop of Rome (the pope)." The Church is also known as the People of God, the Body of Christ, the "Temple of the Holy Spirit", among other names. According to Vatican II's Gaudium et spes, the "church has but one sole purpose -- that the kingdom of God may come and the salvation of the human race may be accomplished."This Communion of Churches comprises the Latin Church (or the Roman or Western Church) as well as 23 Eastern Catholic Churches, canonically called sui juris churches, each led by either a Patriarch or a Major Archbishop in full communion with the Holy See. Historically, these bodies separated from Eastern Christian communions, either to remain in or to return to full communion of the Catholic Church. Vatican II decree on Eastern Catholic Churches, however, explicitly recognises Eastern Catholic communities as "true churches" and not just rites within the Catholic Church. The term sui juris literally means "by its own law" — these bodies retain own canonical and liturgical traditions. Particular law typically provides for the synods of the larger sui juris churches to elect their own bishops, including their patriarch or major archbishop, subject only to papal "assent" (formal recognition), which is very rarely withheld. The pope appoints bishops for those smaller sui juris churches which have too few bishops to form a synod.

Four Latin Church archbishops are also called Patriarchs. This is only titular but gives them precedence in papal milieu. In the case of the Patriarch of Venice, he may wear the red vestments of a Cardinal. Archbishops and bishops administer individual dioceses as successors of the twelve apostles. They are responsible for the ordination, appointment, and supervision of parish priests and the oversight of all church affairs within their diocese except the internal affairs of religious orders of pontifical right. If the responsibility associated with a certain diocese is large, a Bishop may be assisted by one or more Auxiliary Bishops, who are accorded a titular see. A diocese may also have a coadjutor bishop (coadjutor archbishop in the case of an archdiocese), who is effectively the "co-ruler" of the diocese and automatically succeeds to the office of bishop whenever the incumbent bishop leaves office. The title of primate refers to the bishop of the first diocese in a country or territory, which typically has grown into a metropolitan archdiocese, but carries no additional authority.As of 5 September 2017, the ecclesiastical jurisdiction statistics for Latin/Roman/Western and Eastern Catholic Churches were as follows: one Holy See; nine Patriarchates; four Major Archdioceses; 554 Metropolitan Archdioceses; 77 Archdioceses; 2,225 Dioceses; 42 Prelatures; eleven Territorial Abbeys; eighteen Apostolic Exarchates; nine (Eastern Catholic Church) Ordinariates; 36 Military Ordinariates; three Personal Ordinariates; one Personal prelature; 88 Apostolic Vicariates; 39 Apostolic Prefectures; eight Apostolic Administrations; and eight Missions 'sui juris'.The Catholic Church is the "world's oldest continuously functioning international institution." It is also the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world, while the diplomatic status of the Holy See facilitates the access of its vast international network of charities.

Catholic ecclesiology

The ecclesiology of the Catholic Church is the area of Catholic theology covering the ecclesiology -- the nature, structure, and constitution -- of the Catholic Church itself on a metaphysical and revealed level.

Chosen people

Throughout history, various groups of people have considered themselves to be chosen people by a deity for a purpose, such as to act as the deity's agent on earth. In monotheistic faiths references to God are used in constructs such as "God's Chosen People". The phenomenon of a "chosen people" is particularly common in the

Israelite tradition, where it originally referred to the Israelites—in fact Jews refer to this as a burden to spread the message of one God. Some claims of chosenness are based on parallel claims of Israelite ancestry, as is the case for the Christian Identity and Black Hebrew sects—both which claim themselves (and not Jews) to be the "true Israel". Others claim a "spiritual" chosenness, including most Christian denominations, who traditionally believe the church has replaced Israel as the People of God.

Anthropologists commonly regard claims of chosenness as a form of ethnocentrism.

Christus vivit

Christus vivit ('Christ is Alive') is a post-synodal apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis, written in response to the Fifteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on young people, faith and vocational discernment, held from 3 to 28 October 2018. It is addressed "to young people and to the entire people of God". The document is dated 25 March 2019, the day on which Francis signed the original Spanish text while visiting the Basilica of the Holy House of Mary in Loreto, Italy, and published on 2 April, the anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II, who was "the first Pope to address a letter to young people in 1985 and he was the Pope who began the World Youth Days". When the text was released on 2 April, the Vatican provided translations in Italian, French, English, German, Portuguese and Arabic. Though not published in Latin, the document takes its title from the Latin translation of its incipit (opening words), rendered in the English translation as "Christ is alive". The Vatican also provided a summary of the document by Andrea Tornielli, the editorial director of the Holy See's Dicastery for Communication. The 35,000 words in the English translation are organized into 299 paragraphs in nine chapters.Francis quoted the concluding document of the synod, discussed the problem of sexual abuse, as well as other abuses, committed by "some bishops, priests, religious and laypersons" and asked the young to participate in keeping priests true to their vows and vocations. He wrote: "If you see a priest at risk, because he has lost the joy of his ministry, or seeks affective compensation, or is taking the wrong path, remind him of his commitment to God and his people, remind him of the Gospel and urge him to hold to his course. In this way, you will contribute greatly to something fundamental: preventing these atrocities from being repeated." The document also acknowledged, among other things, the church's history of promoting male domination and clerical protection of "members of the Church" who committed "the abuse of power, the abuse of conscience, sexual and financial abuse" against women and children. The document further stated that the church had to repair its reputation with young people or risk becoming a "museum" if it did not change.

Church visible

Church visible is a term of Christian theology and ecclesiology referring to the visible community of Christian believers on Earth, as opposed to the Church invisible or Church triumphant, constituted by the fellowship of saints and the company of the elect.In ecclesiology, the Church visible has many names, such as Kingdom of God, Disciples of Christ and People of God. St. Ignatius of Antioch was one of the first Christian authors to write about the subject, insisting that the Church visible was centered on the Bishop and the Eucharist or Last Supper.In early Christianity, anti-Gnostic writers such as Irenaeus, or anti-Novatian writers like Cyprian of Carthage, would often focus on the visible Church in order to oppose various opinions deemed heretical. It was in this context that the expression Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus came about, which heavily insisted on the non-distinction between the visible and invisible Church.In the context of contemporary pluralism, there have been theological currents that downplay the role of liturgy and the public role of Christianity in order to remove it to the private sphere. Church leaders have responded by re-asserting the public, social and political character of the Church.

Communitas perfecta

Communitas perfecta ("perfect community") or societas perfecta ("perfect society") is the Latin name given to one of several ecclesiological, canonical, and political theories of the Catholic Church. The doctrine teaches that the church is a self-sufficient or independent group which already has all the necessary resources and conditions to achieve its overall goal (final end) of the universal salvation of mankind. It has historically been used in order to define church–state relations and to provide a theoretical basis for the legislative powers of the church in the philosophy of canon law.

Covenant (biblical)

A biblical covenant is a religious covenant that is described in the Bible. All Abrahamic religions consider biblical covenants important.

The Hebrew Bible contains the Noahic Covenant (in Genesis), which is between God and all people, as well as a number of more specific covenants with individuals or groups. Biblical covenants include those with Abraham, the whole Israelite people, the Israelite priesthood, and the Davidic lineage of kings. In form and terminology, these covenants echo the kinds of treaty agreements in the surrounding ancient world.

In the Book of Jeremiah, verses 31:30–33 predict "a new covenant" that God will establish with "the house of Israel". Most Christians believe this New Covenant is the "replacement" or "final fulfilment" of the Old Covenant described in the Old Testament and as applying to the People of God, while some believe both covenants are still applicable in a dual covenant theology.

Dominum et vivificantem

Dominum et vivificantem (Latin: The Lord and Giver of Life) is the fifth encyclical written by Pope John Paul II. The encyclical was promulgated on 18 May 1986. It is a theological examination of the role of the Holy Spirit as it pertains to the modern world and the church and the use of spiritual prayer to renew one's spiritual life. This extended meditation on the Holy Spirit completed the Pope’s Trinitarian trilogy of encyclicals, which includes Redemptor Hominis and Dives in Misericordia.In 1986, Pope John Paul II was already anticipating the new millennium, with its new challenges, as well as the new graces the Holy Spirit would bestow upon the Church as she celebrated the Great Jubilee beginning the third millennium of Christianity. Wishing to prepare the Church for these things by giving the people of God an increased awareness and knowledge of the Holy Spirit, he issued the encyclical on May 18, the Solemnity of Pentecost.

Lumen gentium

Lumen gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, is one of the principal documents of the Second Vatican Council. This dogmatic constitution was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on 21 November 1964, following approval by the assembled bishops by a vote of 2,151 to 5. As is customary with significant Roman Catholic Church documents, it is known by its incipit, "Lumen gentium", Latin for "Light of the Nations".

Lumen gentium magnified the authority, identity, and the mission of the church, as well as the duty of the faithful.

New Covenant theology

New Covenant Theology (or NCT) is a Christian theological position teaching that the person and work of Jesus Christ is the central focus of the Bible. One distinctive result of this is that Old Testament Laws have been abrogated or cancelled with Jesus' crucifixion, and replaced with the Law of Christ of the New Covenant. It shares similarities with, and yet is distinct from, Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology.

Omnium in mentem

Omnium in mentem (To everyone's attention) is the incipit of a motu proprio of 26 October 2009, published on 15 December of the same year, by which Pope Benedict XVI modified five canons of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, two concerning the sacrament of holy orders, the other three being related to the sacrament of marriage.

Pastor bonus

Pastor bonus (Latin: "The Good Shepherd") is an apostolic constitution promulgated by Pope John Paul II on 28 June 1988. It instituted a number of reforms in the process of running the central government of the Roman Catholic Church, as article 1 states "The Roman Curia is the complex of dicasteries and institutes which help the Roman Pontiff in the exercise of his supreme pastoral office for the good and service of the whole Church and of the particular Churches. It thus strengthens the unity of the faith and the communion of the people of God and promotes the mission proper to the Church in the world".

Peace Testimony

Peace testimony, or testimony against war, is a shorthand description of the action generally taken by members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) for peace and against participation in war. Like other Quaker testimonies, it is not a "belief", but a description of committed actions, in this case to promote peace, and refrain from and actively oppose participation in war. Quakers' original refusal to bear arms has been broadened to embrace protests and demonstrations in opposition to government policies of war and confrontations with others who bear arms, whatever the reason, in the support of peace and active nonviolence. Because of this core testimony, the Religious Society of Friends is considered one of the traditional peace churches.

Sacred tradition

Sacred tradition, or holy tradition, is a theological term used in some Christian traditions, primarily those claiming apostolic succession, such as the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian, and Anglican traditions, to refer to the foundation of the doctrinal and spiritual authority of the Christian Church and of the Bible.

Christians believe that the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles were preserved in the scriptures as well as by word of mouth and were handed on. This perpetual handing on of the tradition is called the "Living Tradition"; it is believed to be the faithful and constant transmission of the teachings of the Apostles from one generation to the next. That "includes everything which contributes towards the sanctity of life and increase in faith of the People of God; and so the Church, in her teaching, life and worship [the Creeds, the Sacraments, the Magisterium, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass], perpetuates and hands on to all generations all that she herself is, all that she believes." The Deposit of Faith (Latin: fidei depositum) refers to the entirety of divine revelation. According to Roman Catholic theology, two sources of revelation which constitute a single "Deposit of Faith", meaning that the entirety of divine revelation and the Deposit of Faith is transmitted to successive generations in scripture and sacred tradition (through the teaching authority and interpretation of the Church's Magisterium (which consists of the Church's bishops, in union with the Pope), typically proceeding synods and ecumenical councils).

In Eastern Orthodox theology, Holy Tradition is the inspired revelation of God and catholic teaching (Greek katholikos, "according to the whole") of the Church, not an independent source of dogmatic authority to be regarded as a supplement to biblical revelation. Tradition is rather understood as the fullness of divine truth proclaimed in the scriptures, preserved by the apostolic bishops and expressed in the life of the Church through such things as the Divine Liturgy and the Holy Mysteries (Eucharist, baptism, marriage, etc.), the Creed and other doctrinal definitions of the First seven ecumenical councils, canonical Christian iconography, and the sanctified lives of godly men and women.

According to the Christian theological understanding of these Churches, scripture is the written part of this larger tradition, recording (albeit sometimes through the work of individual authors) the community's experience of God or more specifically of Jesus. Thus, the Bible must be interpreted within the context of sacred tradition and within the community of the church. That is in contrast to many Protestant traditions, which teach that the Bible alone is a sufficient basis for all Christian teaching (a position known as sola scriptura).

Sensus fidelium

Sensus fidei (sense of the faith), also called sensus fidelium (sense of the faithful) is, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "the supernatural appreciation of faith on the part of the whole people, when, from the bishops to the last of the faithful, they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals." Quoting the document Lumen gentium of the Second Vatican Council, the Catechism adds: "By this appreciation of the faith, aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth, the People of God, guided by the sacred teaching authority,... receives... the faith, once for all delivered to the saints. ...The People unfailingly adheres to this faith, penetrates it more deeply with right judgment, and applies it more fully in daily life." The foundation of this can be found in Jesus' saying in Mt 16:18 that "the gates of Hell will not prevail against it," where "it" refers to the "Church", that is, the Lord's people that carries forward the living tradition of essential beliefs throughout history, with the Bishops overseeing that this tradition does not pursue the way of error.The terms sensus fidei fidelium (sense of the faith on the part of the faithful) and sensus fidei fidelis (sense of the faith on the part of an individual member of the faithful) are also used.

Supersessionism

Supersessionism, also called replacement theology or fulfillment theology, is a Christian doctrine which asserts that the New Covenant through Jesus Christ supersedes the Old Covenant, which was made exclusively with the Jewish people.

In Christianity, supersessionism is a theological view on the current status of the church in relation to the Jewish people and Judaism. It holds that the Christian Church has succeeded the Israelites as the definitive people of God or that the New Covenant has replaced or superseded the Mosaic covenant. From a supersessionist's "point of view, just by continuing to exist [outside the Church], the Jews dissent". This view directly contrasts with dual-covenant theology which holds that the Mosaic covenant remains valid for Jews.

Supersessionism has formed a core tenet of the Christian Churches for the majority of its existence. Christian traditions that have traditionally championed Covenant Theology (including the Roman Catholic, Reformed and Methodist teachings of this doctrine), have taught that the moral law continues to stand.Subsequent to and because of the Holocaust, some mainstream Christian theologians and denominations have rejected supersessionism.The Islamic tradition views Islam as the final and most authentic expression of Abrahamic prophetic monotheism, superseding both Jewish and Christian teachings. The doctrine of tahrif teaches that earlier monotheistic scriptures or their interpretations have been corrupted, while the Quran presents a pure version of the divine message that they originally contained.

Young India

Young India was a weekly paper or journal in English published by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi from 1919 to 1931. Gandhi wrote various quotations in this journal that inspired many. He used Young India to spread his unique ideology and thoughts regarding the use of nonviolence in organising movements and to urge readers to consider, organise, and plan for India's eventual independence from Britain.

In 1933 Gandhiji started publishing a weekly newspaper, Harijan, in English. Harijan - which means "People of God", and was also Gandhi's term for the untouchable caste - lasted until 1948. During this time Gandhi also published Harijan Bandu in Gujarati, and Harijan Sevak in Hindi. All three papers focused on India's and the world's social and economic problems.The journal was reprinted in USA by the India Home Rule League of America.

The Indian Opinion newspaper established by Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi Heritage Portal, portal to preserve, and protect the works of Mahatma Gandhi

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