Signs of the Times
Vatican II was the catalyst that helped create a new way of being Church: a Church centered on justice, professing a preferential option for the poor, a Church of modern day martyrs, and a Church with a growing number of laity desiring a more active role. Below is the first paragraph of the document – Church in the Modern World – that helped make this happen. Its focus and tone was a watershed moment in Church teaching as it challenged us to read the signs of the times.
Its anniversary was December 7, 1965. December 7, 1941 was the anniversary of Pearl Harbor which brought the U.S. into WWII. One event of peace; one of war. Both consequential.
Adding a new ‘sign of the times’ we have Pope Francis. The media coverage has, in many ways, been unprecedented! Most of the response has been positive; however, there is a caveat ~ many are asking “what will Francis do with regard to the role of women in the Church?” Many other issues seem to be on Go!
The upcoming Synod on the Family is surely a positive sign which bodes well for the sensus fidelium or sense of the faithful. May the U.S. Bishops be attentive and responsive!
Church in the Modern World
“The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties
of the people of this age, especially those who are
poor or in any way afflicted, these too are the joys
and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers
of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to
raise an echo in their hearts. . . this community realizes
that it is truly and intimately linked with humanity and
So, despite a continuing resistance from some, how do we continue to respond to the challenge of this way of being Church and, as we read new ‘signs of the times’, questions arise: are we ready and willing to respond to new questions? Are we willing to see the ‘signs’ in a new light, through a different lens? How are we stretching and challenging ourselves?
Advent is a time of waiting and anticipation. What will be the fruits of this time for us?