Humanization and Evangelization: Two Synonyms for the Vincentian Charism

by | Aug 25, 2016 | Formation, Vincentian Family at the U.N.

“Many times I am ashamed to be part of this inhumane humanity”[1]

Without a doubt the most hurtful aspect of our world today is the continuous dehumanization of reality. The violence, hunger, the marginalization, the ever growing inequality, and the lack of opportunities for the majority, along with the persistent deterioration of the ecosystem today reach alarming and threatening levels for the existence of life in our planet. In my ministry at the UN-NGO in this last year, I have heard that same humanity, especially through the work of NGOs and of civil society, the strong echo of the cry for a more just and more humane world. This tumultuous cry today reaches to heaven, echoing the voices of the Israelites who were enslaved in Egypt. (Cf. Exodus 3, 7-10).


According to the BURNDTLAND commission (1983)[2] the two biggest challenges of our time are:

  • Resolving the necessities of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to resolve their own necessities and
  • Sustainability, that is to say, economic and social well being within ecological boundaries

The two challenges can only be resolved through the humanization of our humanity. Right Now!

This time, where everyone waves the human rights flag and where many predict the birth of a new humanity, free of every kind of alienation, is maybe the most inhumane of all times. The human person continues being cruelly submitted to the slavery of the economy, politics, culture, religion, academics, and science, many of them manipulated by multinationals – the real and exclusive power of our times. The majorities of the political, social, educative, and religious institutions are being questioned and denounced today as machines of economic power and instruments that contribute little or nothing to the humanization of our world.[3]

The crisis in these traditional institutions and the consequent emptiness of power that this crisis produces has opened the door to a new institution that little by little has accumulated all the power in the large decisions about the course of the world and the course of history: the Market! This institution and world super power is concentrated in the MULTINATIONALS. These mega-companies impose their rules and submit the states of the world, highjack the world agenda, and produce a cycle of inequality which is likewise the root of all the evils with which we live.

The state, education family, scientific work, health, communication, sports, mediums of communication, as well as religion serve them: they have been bought and corrupted by the “free market” augmneted by the consumerism of the majority. In our time, being or not being a human person is measured by the capacity of buying and selling that each individual possesses, and not by knowing (modernism) or their relational capacity (post-modernism).

This type of new social structure is much more powerful than we can imagine, and it is root has been eating away at the human bases of our personal and collective existence. This mega-power of the multinationals has been created by the combination of  capital and technology, the media – which imposes the cultures of consumerism – and the institutional emptiness.

Our mission: The Human Person and Earth at the center of everything

Pope Francis had incessantly asked the church to consider the human person and the planet as the central subject of faith and therefore the action of evangelization. From the teachings of Pope Francis it is not difficult to conclude that in his heart evangelization is synonymous to humanizing, and that every action of the church and that every specific charism must be employed to humanize history and to save our planet.

Looking at the human person and earth as the center, and the true sense of any activity of the Vincentian charism is an imperative of this affirmation from the Pope, but above all of the courageous discernment of a sign of our times. We can measure the level of humanity in any action of ours, whether it is personal or institutional, though the respect of the human dignity of the earth and its capacity to promote the entirety of the human person in relation to earth. Every humanizing action from the charism is clear reflection of our mysticism, and of our prophecy. Mysticism and prophecy of  justice/charity are capable of humanizing our world.

It is evident to me that the Vincentian Family cannot stay on the margin of this preoccupation for the human person and the earth. Sustainable development, systemic change, human rights, decreased social inequality, ecology, defense of life… all of these are elements of the new glossary of our charism which are key to the humanization-evangelization in Jesus’ way in a new time.

We are called are bearers of life at all times, like the Good Samaritan (Cf. Like 10:31) and ministers of humanization like Christ incarnate (Cf. John 1, 1ff). We have a great desire that the Vincentian Family would become more Samaritan, capable of kneeling in every corner of the world to uplift, to heal, and to care for all the brothers and sisters wounded in their most basic right, and a Family who is also doubled over by all the pain of the earth, the poorest of the poor, because to our cruelty and “unconsciousness.”

Humanization, key to the Vincentian charism,  means the conversion of the Vincentian Family toward the drama of the poor of the world and the drama of the earth…,  it means conversion to the Reign of God and a return to the unmitigated gospel.

[1] This phrase that has been attributed to Jon Sobrino expresses very well my personal feelings towards many realities in this day and age.

[2] The BURNDTLAND Commission (World Commission of the ecosystem and development: WCED) was created by the UN in 1983. The principal function of this commission is to investigate on the rapid deterioration of our human ecosystem and natural resources and the social and economic consequences of this.

[3] Cf. Cumblin, Jose. Crisis of Religion in Christianity

This article was translated from the Spanish by Nur Gorayeb