|Is that a DeLorean?|
It appears that in the Cardinal's mind the eschatological hope can be hastened into existence through political action in which the church works alongside the poor in their struggle for economic and social justice. But in a balanced theology God's transcendence and immanence both need to be maintained in tension until the parousia resolves them. If anything, God's immanence in this fallen world is experienced only from the perspective of the Cross and is therefore always ambivalent unless mediated by His Word (the sacraments being visible Words, following Augustine's terminology). There is mention of the need for personal conversion but only in two sentences at the end, as if an afterthought. There are also hints of the usual naivety of churchmen in regard to economics and how the poor of the world might best be helped - in that matter the road to hell is paved with the good intentions of clergy.
From the Lutheran perspective, Vatican II was like the curate's egg: good in parts. The question which interests us then is which parts will Francis promote most strongly? So far Francis seems to be more given to praxis than theoria, at least in his public pronouncements. That might give the impression of being effective for a time, but sooner or later the content of the "new evangelization" must be filled out for our time with more than pious exhortations to hold a "preferential option for the poor". In terms of that content, Rome appears to be suffering amnesia in regard to what could learn from the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, flawed though that document is. Failing a review of the doctrinal content of the Gospel based upon Biblical studies (might the upcoming 500th anniversary of the Reformation provide an impetus to that?), I'm afraid the Roman Catholic church at the end of Francis's tenure as Pope may look much like it did in the mid-1970s during the final years of Paul VI's pontificate - polarised, demoralised and rankly synergistic in its proclamation of the Gospel.
* The Cardinal even condescends to call the Kingdom of God Jesus' "program", as though our Lord were a politician elected on a reform platform. Later a South American episcopal document is quoted which refers to the need for the church to side with the poor in their (political?) struggles. It was this sort of enthusiastic but naive talk which, in the 1970s, led to the attempted synthesis of South American Catholicism and Marxism known as Liberation Theology, which was roundly criticised by then Cardinal Ratzinger in 1983. Among Ratzinger's criticisms was the playing off of "the people of God" against the hierarchical church - I wonder if Papa Benny is experiencing deja vu as he reads the Cardinal's speech?