2/2022 English Summary – values over time

Pavel Hošek
The European Values, the Christian Values and the Collective Identity of the Czech Nation

Prof. Hošek, in his synoptic work, attempts to define so-called traditional values facing overusing and misusing the term. First, he deals with a definition introduced by Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida and the one included in the EU agreements. Second, he explores vagueness regarding the essence of Czech cultural values. He recalls the controversy about the meaning of Czech history and an attempt by Karel Skalický to overcome it by focusing on Christ. He considers the task of unity in plurality to be the dominant Czech value. On this foundation, he describes the criteria for making a return to Christian values of Czech culture possible.

Tomáš Petráček
“We Introduce You Your Traditional Culture!”
Changes in Perception and Promotion of Values in the History of Western Christianity

A study focuses on the transformation in the perception of so-called traditional values, primarily on the process of discernment of what these values are and should be. The author examines the role of the church in this process and its development within various historical circumstances when the framework of symbols and values has been reconstructed. It is not only an academic question since contemporary society has necessarily been approaching the church as taking part in this social and political evolution. The study includes a political aspect of the problem. It points out that an approach of the church in this matter will be crucial for its future and institutionally organised Christianity in European countries. It emphasises that not only values themselves but also accepted strategies and actions undertaken in various value controversies are influencing the credibility of the church and ability to proclaim the gospel in the contemporary world.

Dominik Opatrný
Where Have Traditional Values Disappeared?
A Relation Between Cultural Traditions and Moral Values in Gaudium et Spes

What does the church as a tradition-based institution teach about so-called traditional values? Magisterial documents are very restrained in using this term; however, values in general without the attribute are important in Gaudium et Spes, the pastoral constitution of the Vatican II. Presented analysis indicates that the dichotomy between traditional and modern values is false and is not contained in the pastoral constitution either. Furthermore, in the postmodern era, Christianity and its values represent one of many narratives simultaneously present in society, questioning each other and pointing out their limits.

Massimo Faggioli
Beyond the Paradigm “Hegemony or Persecution”
The Church Facing Pluralism

The Vatican II is the central point of the polemics about the future viability of the church in the contemporary world. Therefore, we should ask ourselves if it is part of our practical ecclesiology. In order to answer this question, it is first necessary to look at what Vatican II said about the church and the world of secular institutions. Second, it is important to understand a few of the global changes that happened in the post-Vatican II period and had an impact on the position of the Catholic church toward the modern world. Finally, it is vital to look at the church and pluralism today in this context.

Roger Scruton
The Significance of Common Culture

A classical philosophical text is written by a renowned representative of conservativism Roger Scruton, and it was introduced by Czech philosopher Jakub Jirsa. The author rejects postmodern individualism and privatisation of values and argues for the irreplaceable role of shared culture and its formative function in the process of acquiring practical knowledge, which is necessary for ordered and joyful living. Therefore, he thinks that politics mustn’t resign from proper support of values which are essential for human development.

Anne-Marie Pelletier
The Experience of Limits and the Biblical Wisdom

A study proceeds from the omnipresent question of limits and boundaries in the age of exponential technical development and artificial intelligence when the bold approach to living creatures raises various ethical questions. The biblical scholar describes permanent tension between the infinite vocation of a human being as imitatio Dei and boundaries which he or she experiences in relation to his or her physicality, to the other sex and to God, who is radically different. Joint consideration of both these constants should protect Christianity against becoming just another ideology. It is emphasised that Bible is not a reservoir of definitive assertions, and it disrupts all ideological cer­tain­ties respecting the complexity of reality and challenging us to look for the divine purpose, which always transcends human perspective.

Timothy Radcliffe OP
Tradition and Creativity: The Paradigm of the New Testament

The author explores a relationship between the Tradition and creativity, fidelity and freedom, looking at three important moments establishing the New Testament: formation of the theology of epistles, creation of gospels as a new literary genre and introduction of the cannon of the New Testament. The church of that era faced crucial questions regarding its identity and relation to the Tradition. It didn’t find solutions in discreet negotiations between progressives and conservatives, firm or loose bond to the Tradition, but in creative discovering of new approaches and innovative ways of thinking and speak­ing. Based on this historical experience, the author argues that the Tradition cannot be main­tain­ed through conservation but through an unexpected creative outbreak enlightening what else it con­tains. As Christians, we try to keep knowledge and relation to the life-giving God who resurrected Jesus Christ, and this totally new act also becomes a reality. When we allow him to bring us into the new life.

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky
April 16. Masha Is Lying on the Table. Will We Meet Again?

A translation of a diary note of Russian novelist F. M. Dostoevsky is supplemented with an exten­sive commentary of a theologian and literary historian, Peter Beneš. He examines questions of life, time, love, transcendence and relationship to the other. He points out dilemmas, paradoxes and deep insights included in the note of Dostoevsky, which can inspire our contemporary questions.

Honesty Determines
An Interview with Daniel Pastirčák

An interview with a Slovak poet, artist and preacher of the Church of the Brethren provides to a Czech reader an experience of a reflective and creative person living in the traditionally Christian environment. He offers his observations about the mission of the church in the contemporary world, about dangers of religion without critical self-reflection and about the necessity to open constrict­ed environment of the church, which obstructs honest search for the truth and deprives people of inner spiritual power and independence.

Martin Vaňáč
Between Gospel and Politics
Struggle for “the Christian Values” in the Czech Republic Face to Face the 2015–2016 European Migrant Crisis

The text analyses statements about migration, Islamic terrorism and Islam itself presented in the Czech public space during the 2015–2016 European Migrant Crisis. It maps the position of the ­Prague archbishop and his co-workers as it is gradually moving nearer to the extreme views of the issue. Politicians often used the reference to so-called Christian values during the time of the migrant crisis, and, remarkably, it has been relevant to many people in the context of the secularised society of the Czech Republic. These debates have been tempting for representatives of churches to participate in political fights, which eventually negatively influence their credibility as preachers of the gospel.

Perception of Traditional Values in the Czech Society
An Interview with a Sociologist Vojtěch Prokeš

This is an interview with a sociologist of Behaviour agency about research which they provided for this Salve. It describes what deeper human needs are understood as the most important by Czech people, which of them are related to the term traditional values and which of their concrete representations are relevant these days. It raises a question, how these social phenomena should be approached by political parties or churches.

Matej Cíbik
Political Correctness and “Cancel Culture”
A New Totality on the Rise?

The text aims to critically analyse debates about so-called cancel culture and political correctness in the Czech public sphere. The author collects a set of known cases described as cancel culture and tries to find out what they have in common and how they relate to each other on a deeper level. He argues that so-called culture and political correctness cannot be defined adequately because these phenomena and how they are presented consist of various problems and characteristics of contemporary society superficially interconnected but not making real sense.

Lukáš Fošum OP
Discovering the Meaning and Giving an Example
Obedience to Authorities on the Path of a search for the Truth and Good

Restoration of respect to authorities and obedience as a virtue, which is not going to be a caricature and relict of the previous era, demands to recover their psychological foundations in a free search for the truth and good, the bond between authority and functioning of human society and the whole creation, and eventually Christs’ and therefore Christian obedience to God the Father. Considering the degradation of the role of authority and obedience, we need to properly understand the dynamics of secularisation and liberalisation and do not hope for revision of previous orders as well as do not resign from viability of authorities and education to obedience. However, it is necessary to rediscover the meaning of authority for the healthy functioning of civil society. The Christian understanding is based on an example of Christ’s free obedience as an appropriate and deep realisation of the human way to God.

Josef Kroutvor
Drawings, Sketches and Scribbles
The Legend to Image Accompaniment

Pictures included in the issue come from a poet and historian of art Josef Kroutvor. He says: “the main thing is to keep looking around the world to see what there is to note” and emphasises that he understands drawing as a separate discipline being more a kind of handwriting than a style. “A loose drawing, a sketch is a living communication for me and closer to me than a proper image on the canvas.”