Pope Francis, Vatican II show love for poor

Professor to discuss mission of Church, gift of Vatican II document

Nissa LaPoint
Professor Douglas Bushman of the Augustine Institute

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 info@archden.org.


COMING UP: WATCH: Press conference introducing Bishop-Elect Jorge Rodriguez

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Below is a transcript of Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila and Bishop-Elect Jorge Rodriquez’s comments during the Aug. 25 press conference announcing Bishop-Elect Rodriguez’s new appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Denver.

Archbishop Samuel J Aquila: Thank you very much. As all of you are aware, this morning, it was announced in Rome, noon their time, 4 a.m. our time. I got my first text message at 4:05 a.m. from Bishop Conley congratulating us on the announcement of Bishop-Elect Rodriguez. It is a moment of great joy for the Church of Northern Colorado. It has been a long time waiting for a new auxiliary, and we are truly blessed with one of our own priests. Most of you know Father Rodriguez or know of him; I have known him since 1999, when I was rector of the seminary, he came here to teach and served as vice rector with me and was extremely helpful in beginning St. John Vianney seminary.

It is with great joy that I welcome him, both as a friend and a brother, and now as a co-worker as a bishop — as auxiliary bishop here. And we are truly blessed with his Hispanic background — as most of you know, he was born in Mexico and speaks much better Spanish than I do and will be a tremendous grace and blessing for our Hispanic community, and the fact that we are over 50% Hispanic now within the archdiocese. Today is a day of great joy. His ordination will be on Nov. 4, and we look forward to that. So, without further adieu, it gives me great joy to present to you Bishop-Elect Rodriguez.

Bishop-Elect Jorge Rodriguez: Good morning everyone and thank you very much for being here. It’s meaningful, your presence, especially the seminarians; I heard that you delayed your camping trip just to be here. God bless you. We’re going to make it short, so you can go. (Laughter)

When your receive a phone call from the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington and they tell you the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has named you to be auxiliary bishop of Denver, thats a very humbling experience. What that means that the Holy Father consider me to fit for this important service to the people of God in the people of Colorado; on the other hand, I’m aware of my own personal limitations. Of course, I told them, I was telling the secretary, ‘I don’t know,’ and I remember all the jokes, no? That you have to say all the time first, “no, I don’t” and then immediately say, “yes, yes, yes!” (Laughter)

But sincerely, you feel overwhelmed; that’s a moment in which you feel overwhelmed. I’m grateful to the Holy Father for his trust in me. I’m grateful to he archbishop, as he said, was the one who invited me to come to Denver to teach theology, this is why I moved from the Diocese of Rome to the Archdiocese of Denver. And along this year in my personal ministry, I met this wonderful and faithful Catholic community we have here and lots of wonderful people on Colorado. I feel very honored to be able to live in this beautiful state and serve my brothers and sisters here in the archdiocese.

My Hispanic origin connects me particularly to the growing Hispanic community here in Denver and I’ve been able to celebrate, rejoice and to help in their needs. My only wish is to offer my ministry as auxiliary bishop — inspire, because I really find very inspiring the teaching and example of Pope Francis and under the example of the archbishop. I beg for you prayers, that’s what I really need now. I never — like today, I really feel the need of prayers now and everyday all the time throughout these years that the Lord will allow me to serve you in his name. And in everything, may Jesus Christ be praised.

Kevin Jones, CNA: Father Rodriguez, a lot of Catholics no longer go to the Catholic Church. Either they don’t go to church at all, or they go non-Catholic churches. How do you think the Archdiocese of Denver can reach out and help get Catholics back to the sacramental life?

Bishop-Elect Rodriguez: Thank you very much for your question. The archbishop, since two years ago, has been promoting among the Catholic community the formation of disciple’s journey, we can call, and the Amazing Parish in order to revitalize parishes and bring back Catholics to our pews. If I can, in my limited experience, at Holy Cross, that’s wha we are doing. We are doing this formation of disciples, we are doing this Amazing Parish project, and there’s a lot of life. I think that under [archbishop’s] direction, because he’s the one who as been inviting us to enter into this — reactivate our own communities, people will come back. Especially because people fly away, but Jesus is the one who always attracts and appeals, and as much as we present the true Jesus, I think people will come back, because they really need him.