|Nuncio: Church's involvement in world affairs fits evangelizing mission|
Catholic News Service photo
Archbishop Francis A. Chullikatt, papal nuncio to the United Nations, is the recipient of the 2014 Harry A. Fagan Award from the Roundtable Association of Catholic Diocesan Social Action Directors. Archbishop Chullikatt was honored his defense of the poo r and vulnerable and his work to help forge international agreements on the environment and on nuclear weapons.
Catholic News ServiceWASHINGTON — Dialogue is "an important element of all social life" and "an essential element" of why the Catholic Church is involved "in the world of diplomacy and international relations," the Vatican's U.N. nuncio told Catholic social action directors meeting in Washington.
"With the church as a dialogue partner, temporal powers should see that faith and reason are compatible and necessary allies in addressing and combating the problems that threaten all of human society," said Archbishop Francis A. Chullikatt.
He made the comments in an address Feb. 1 after he received the Harry A. Fagan Award by the Roundtable Association of Catholic Diocesan Social Action Directors. The event came on the eve of the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, held Feb. 2-5.
The award is given annually to someone who has made a lasting contribution to Catholic social action efforts in light of church teaching.
It is named for the late Harry Fagan, a veteran Catholic social action leader who was involved in social ministry in Ohio and at the now-closed National Pastoral Life Center. He was secretary of the association, founded in 1987, until his death in 1993.
Archbishop Chullikatt, who has been U.N. nuncio since July 2010, was honored for his defense of the poor and vulnerable and his efforts to help forge international agreements on the environment and on nuclear weapons.
In his remarks, the archbishop discussed Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation, "Evangelii Gaudium" ("The Joy of the Gospel"). He tied the vision pope lays out for an evangelical church to the Catholic Church's efforts at the U.N. to protect the human person, especially the poor and vulnerable, and to promote the common good, dialogue and peace in society.
"'Evangelii Gaudium' is a call to action, a call to embrace the evangelizing mission, a call to dare, a call to proclaim the Gospel, not burdensomely ... but joyfully because the Gospel is the true inheritance of our lasting peace and happiness," Archbishop Chullikatt said.
Taken as a whole, he continued, the document "transmits the following conviction: The Gospel joy is the source of strength for the church's evangelizing mission in the world. Hence, the church has to transform the frailty of her people toward evangelical joy."
God is the source of that joy, which "indwells in the missionary nature of the church," Archbishop Chullikatt said.
The pope's focus in "Evangelii Gaudium" is the human person, he said, "in particular the poor among us, and the responsibility that we have as followers of Christ to promote their well-being, spiritual as well as material, by reaching out to them and by entering thus fully into the fabric of society."
Pope Francis discusses "the profound connection between evangelization and integral human advancement," Archbishop Chullikatt noted. The pope also stresses "the inclusion of the poor in society, and the promotion of the common good, solidarity, dialogue and peace in society," he added.
"The common good and global peace intersect the fundamental objectives of the United Nations," he continued. "The common good and peace are not simply attractive political slogans which can be put aside once they are mentioned in any discourse; rather, they are realities of life that guarantee authentic human flourishing for one and all."
"The world in which we live at the present time is beset with a great deal of challenges and difficulties. Yet the Christian response is not to give up hope," Archbishop Chullikatt said. "Rather, the Christian response should be to draw fresh hope from Christ who has redeemed us and made us his adopted sons and daughters."
Among the tasks of Christ's followers is to "know our faith and communicate it in the concrete circumstances of our daily lives," he said.
"Within the international context, and in particular at the United Nations, the Holy See actively works to transmit the values of the Gospel for the well-being of all persons," Archbishop Chullikatt said. "Several Catholic-inspired nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are also present at the United Nations and support us and join us in this noble task."
He said he hoped Pope Francis' exhortation would inspire all to recommit themselves to spreading the Gospel and promoting its values, "which are so much needed in the world in which we live, the ultimate purpose of which is really and truly the well-being of all peoples and the salvation of the world."
In its work at the United Nations, the Catholic Church "continues to exhort the position of right over might, not to preserve her own position or prestige, but to secure the peace and the inherent dignity that belong to all," he said.
"When right relations based on the exercise of objective reason and the application of generosity prevail, God's justice and peace will reign on this planet," he added. "Pope Francis has helped us understand this with his apostolic exhortation."
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