What does the Vatican II document “Gaudium et Spes” (“Joy and Hope”) and Pope Francis have in common?
Both emphasize a commitment to the poor and see the human dignity in every person, said Professor Douglas Bushman of the Augustine Institute.
In the next Archbishop’s Lecture Series April 8 on the John Paul II Center campus, Bushman will speak about the pontiff’s focus on serving the poor and recognizing the God-given dignity in everyone, in particular those neglected by a world that values productivity and defines fulfillment in terms of material prosperity, he said.
He offered a glimpse of his upcoming talk with the Denver Catholic Register.
Blessed Pope John Paul II once said Vatican II and its documents are like a gift the Holy Spirit gave the modern Church, Bushman shared.
“Well, people love to open gifts, so they should open up the documents of Vatican II and read them,” Bushman said. “When my students study these texts, they always express their surprise at how profoundly relevant, biblical and spiritual they are.”
“Gaudium et Spes” is no exception, Bushman said.
In this document faithful may find one of the greatest gifts—the answer to many of life’s deepest and most profound questions like the meaning and purpose of life.
This answer, he said, lies in Christ.
“The main point of ‘Gaudium et Spes’ is that Christ is the answer to all of the questions that people cannot avoid asking about the meaning and purpose of life,” Bushman said.
The document states, “It is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear.”
And it’s precisely this message the Church wants to convey to people across the world. During his talk, Bushman said he will encourage faithful to help others discover the relevance of Christ’s life, teaching, mission and especially his death and resurrection.
This message can be kept alive.
He proposes raising these deepest questions of life among one’s neighbors.
Ask: “What is it that constitutes our ultimate fulfillment? What is love? What is justice? How can we make sense out of war and suffering? Why do I find it difficult to do what is good?”
This includes critiquing the modern world, he said.
“In families and among friends, Catholics should engage in a serious analysis of the news and discuss the issues of the day in light of faith. All of this will require a commitment to a life of prayer and examination of conscience,” Bushman said.
Bushman, who holds a licentiate in sacred theology from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, moved last fall with his wife and family from Green Bay, Wis., to teach at the Augustine Institute.
He is the author of several articles and books including “The True Spirit of Vatican II” on Catholic World Report Online. He also holds the Pope St. John Paul II Chair of Theology for the New Evangelization and specializes in spirituality, Vatican II, Blessed John Paul II and pastoral theology.
His talk will conclude the four-part series on Vatican II. Advance registration for the lecture is not needed; seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Archbishop’s Lecture Series
Speaker: Professor Douglas Bushman, S.T.L.
Topic: “Gaudium et Spes and the Apologetics of Meaning: Christ is the Answer to All of Man’s Questions”
When: 7 p.m. April 8
Where: Bonfils Hall, John Paul II Center campus, 1300 S. Steele St., Denver
RSVP: not required
Questions: Call 303-715-3230 or email email@example.com.