We are experiencing great changes both individually or socially, the values that traditionally defined our societies are changing. I want to encourage you through this letter to know more about the reality of the world today.
We cannot talk about Church Pastoral work without an objective awareness of our cultural and social transformations, which will allow us to know the new challenges of our church and its mission to build the kingdom of God.
I want to invite you to apply the methodological process proposed by the document of Aparecida, in Brazil, in all our communities and pastoral work: To recognize the problems surrounding us, as well as the true signs of hope happening around us. We must recognize both: Problems and hopes!
The novelty about this deeply changing process is its global outreach, that with differences and nuances, affect the whole world (Celam 34). These changes bring with them new problems that represent real challenges (narcotrafficking, the loss of financial autonomy, climate change, migration, etc.) But at the same time, they offer new opportunities to build more just societies.
With the globalization process our past experiences are changing faster, and it is not unusual that they do not exist anymore. In the Social Catholic Doctrine, the dimensions of world economic problems started to be remarkably acknowledge with the publication on 1967 of Pope Paul VI’s Encyclical Populorum Progressio, and 20 years later John Paul II reminds us of its importance through his Encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis. In the second General Conference of the Latin-Americans Catholic Bishops in Medellin, Colombia on 1968, they retook what Paul VI had said in his Encyclical and adapted it to the Latin-American conditions, by underlining the existence of a unjust economical world system, with inequity between the northern developed countries and the underdeveloped ones from the southern hemisphere. The Aparecida Conference used the term “globalization” the first time, which allowed a new level of comprehension, recognizing the importance of all cultural changes happening in our countries and the whole world because of the scientific and technological revolution in the media.
The access to technologies allows the people to communicate for whatever reason and in real time from any place in the world, with that we can learn more about the diversity of our own cultures, even without evaluating its quality, positive or negative effects.
My Brothers and Sisters, all these changes that we observe represent great challenges because of the problems that they cause, but they also bring great opportunities of development and improvement for our peoples. We conclude that “globalization” is a sign of this times and that it is the main characteristic of this generation we are living in, with its mutation of values and all behaviors either social or individual.
In this context of the globalized world the traditional ways that gave meaning to all individual’s lives and their communities, are rapidly weakened, affecting families, educational institutions, all forms of citizen’s participation, all governmental public safety procedures and many other fields, as well as all people’s religiosity, meaning the way of communication with the transcendental.
All this context is for us to remember the disposition of our brothers and sisters that have gone before us, our founder St. Cajetan and his first companions, some canonized some not, but is still a healthy practice to value their creativity and sensitivity to what was happening around them, since they always sought to be close to the people, even if it meant a great deal of work, such as the hospital for the incurables and the Monte Pio (which today are credit unions).
We can take the example of St. Andrew Avellino who made a special vow to better himself every day in the way of perfection. He used to say that inner perfection required tenacity and constancy, and that was not the task of a single day since it required many months and years, moreover the one who is humble only externally, in the way of hypocrites, who to be esteemed gave the impression of humility, if they suffer insults or the object of rejection, become impatient, loses his inner peace and quietude. He is a clear example of our holy Theatine brothers, and we know about their lives.
We, Theatines of today have a lot to work on, moreover, let us remember that we must work more in being than doing, the doing will come by itself, without worrying about it.
I wish all of you a very productive year, let us together open our ourselves to aid of our Lord to achieve it.
I commend myself to your prayers.
General Curia “Sant’Andrea della Valle”, Rome Italy, January 15th 2017
Fr. Salvador Rodea Gonzalez, C.R.
Superior General of the Theatines