Volume 18, Issue 2, Summer 2021
Martin Owhorchukwu Ejiowhor
Pope Francis’s Culture of Encounter as a Paradigm Shift in the Magisterium’s Reception of Justice in the World
Implications for the Church’s Social Mission?
The statement that “action on behalf of justice” is a “constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel” in the 1971 Synod of Bishops’ Justice in the World (JW) has been widely debated in Catholic social teaching. Popes, beginning with Paul VI, have tactfully, albeit indirectly, responded to it as they reflected on the theme of evangelization. This article traces the history of the magisterium’s reception of JW with special attention to this controversial statement. An analysis of JW in juxtaposition with succeeding papal documents on evangelization reveals that Pope Francis’s culture of encounter introduces a paradigm shift while rehabilitating the original ideas of JW. In conclusion, this article sheds new light on evangelization and the Church’s social mission, wherein both charity and justice are constitutive.