For those of you are sensitive to the epistemology, and have spent some time with the person as relation over the years: What Pope Francis is doing is living out the “New Evangelization” in front of our eyes as person-in-relation, and, in Evangelii Gaudium, pointing to the failure to move the entire ecclesial and global culture from “nature” to person. In EG, he is outing American and global economics as built on the reductive, positivist, materialist calculus of supply and demand where the work of the human person is split from the person and treated as a commodity. At best we will have an ethic of material justice, but the person is trashed, and relationality and gift as demanded by the real metaphysics of the person is trashed. And sexuality, even in the pre Vatican II mind, is nature with ends.
Pat Deneen (posted somewhere on my blog in recent days/weeks) shows this discrepancy with.which Francis has caused great disruption What occurs to me after listening to Fr. William Smith of Brooklyn, is that the media is doing our job for us. They are bypassing this whole epistemological problem, i.e., how to move from a nature based ethic to a person based ethic semantically. They are doing it with pictures and headlines. The Church proposed the human person in GS#24 as moral criterion for all things sexual and economic. Both. The point made is that pope Francis is out of himself and into others living mercy, and that is on the side of the poor. He is cutting both ways because he is working with the human person as imaging Christ the prototype. This was the message of Vatican II, but it could not escape the gravitational pull of a reductive, objectified and abstractive way of knowing.
The effect that Francis is producing resonates in everybody. All buy it. And it turns out to be the central message of Christianity. Again, see Pat Deneen on this below. This week Francis is on the cover of Time as “Person of the Year” and “The New Yorker” as pope in full regalia making snow angels in the snow. Perfect. He is an icon of freedom liberated from himself and at the service of the poor with heart. That is the message. Semantically, it has been a nightmarish quagmire of verbiage trying to get this kind of giftedness across from a reductive, objectivized conceptualism. But it is happening thanks to the media. They do not really know what they are dealing with, but what they see, they like. They know the pubic likes it. It fits with what has played under the banner of political liberalism. And to the dismay of some, it turns out to be the truth. The “liberal” has been popularly conceptualized as non-truth, but as love for the other and being-in-relation, when turned into a metaphysics of person imaging the Person of Christ, it is the “new evangelization” that the Spirit is communicating through the person of this pope.
See P. Deneen below.