Explaining the New Initiative


Joe Holland

Dear sisters and brothers,

Welcome to the official blog for the Pacem in Terris Global Initiative. Named in part after the famous 1963 social encyclical letter of Blessed John XXIII and guided in part by his global and ecumenical vision, the Initiative has a longer name as you can see in the banner above. But here ‘Pacem in Terris Global Initiative’ will serve as its abbreviated name.

In Washington DC on 19 January 2012, the Feast of Epiphany in the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches, our movement, Pax Romana / Catholic Movement for Intellectual Affairs USA, publically announced the creation of this new Pax Romana Global Ecumenical Initiative. This blog will provide ongoing reflections to support its development.

For more information about the Initiative, please go to our website at http://www.paceminterris.net. There you will find the official global Ecumenical Invitation — to  Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic Christians, including the twenty-three sui juris Catholic Churches, as well as other interested persons on Planet Earth — to join us in the Initiative. You will also find the official Initial Working Paper: “Four Great Late Modern Global Crises” to guide the Initiative. We welcome your feedback on those documents. Please send your comments to paceminterris@comcast.net.

We are creating this Initiative because we are now in the beginning of the Postmodern Electronic Revolution, which supersedes the Modern Industrial Revolution. This passage marks one of the most traumatic and complex transformations in all of human history, namely the environmental, social, and spiritual breakdown of Modern Western Industrial-Colonial Civilization and the still largely unexplored passage to a fresh Postmodern Global Electronic-Ecological Civilization.

Our global human family has now experienced the terminal breakdown of the Western project of Modernity in the ultimate failure of its two dominant industrial ideologies — despite the abiding contributions of both ideologies and of Modernity’s entire project. Thus, in recent decades we have experienced  both the collapse of the Marxian socialist ideology and the correlative ideological triumph of a new and anti-communitarian Global Capitalism which, however, is being revealed as fundamentally unsustainable

Yet the deep root of Modernity’s breakdown is neither economic nor ideological, but rather philosophical, and it spans both modern ideologies. As many profound intellectuals have been documenting for some time, the entire modern scientific-technological project — again, in both its ideological forms of ‘Liberal Capitalism’ and ‘Scientific Socialism’ — has been grounded philosophically in an erroneous atomistic-mechanistic cosmology. This modern cosmological paradigm — despite its also abiding contributions — fundamentally misunderstood the relational and co-creative, and even spiritual, nature of the human, of the ecosystem (of which we humans are a part), and of the cosmos.

This erroneous modern philosophical worldview is widely known as the Cartesian-Newtonian Paradigm, but it is now referred to by many visionary intellectuals as the ‘Old Cosmology.’ In the midst of its fundamental breakdown, these same visionary intellectuals — dialoguing for some time now across the postmodern frontiers of Philosophy, Science, and Religion — have been exploring what has been called the ‘New Cosmology.’

This new cosmological paradigm for Science and Technology is based in part on fresh philosophical insights made feasible by new postmodern electronic tools of observation and data-storage (e.g., the electronic microscope, the electronic telescope, and the computer). The new paradigm is also being shaped by creative cultural contributions from the rising global energy especially of women, and also of once colonized peoples and of workers movements. (John XXIII called these the three key ‘signs of the times.’) This new philosophical paradigm understands reality at every level as cognitively evolutionary and relationally holistic, and for some even as spiritually mystical.

Meanwhile, as noted, the current late modern anti-communitarian stage of Global Capitalism is revealing that the modern scientific-technological project — still grounded philosophically in the Old Cosmology and expressed across wide ranges of both business and government — is unsustainable. So the real debate is far deeper than current one over whether society should be guided by the market, by the state, or by both.

That ecological unsustainability is already clear in terms of the expanding scientific-technological devastation of the natural ecology of our garden planet Earth. Thus, the entire modern scientific-technological project, grounded in the Old Cosmology, is unsustainable ecologically. We clearly need to develop a richer and deeper ecological guidance for Science and Technology.

I would further argue that the modern scientific-technological project is also more widely anti-communitarian and so is unsustainable at three levels — clearly at the ecological level, but also unsustainable socially and spiritually. (The Initiative will also explore these wider ranges of Modernity’s erosion of humanity’s communitarian social and spiritual life.)

Hence, in the midst of the current anti-communitarian and unsustainable late modern capitalist globalization, our global human family is beginning the holistic search for a ecologically, socially, and spiritually regenerative and sustainable Postmodern Global Electronic-Ecological Civilization.

At the same time, our global Christian family is experiencing the correlative traumatic passage from the breakdown of the Modern Western Industrial-Colonial Christian Evangelization toward a fresh Postmodern Global Electronic-Ecological Christian Evangelization. The Modern Western Industrial-Colonial Evangelization is simultaneously collapsing, or becoming pathological, along with the Modern Western Industrial-Colonial Civilization for which it was designed. Thus, and correlatively, our global Christian family is already beginning the search for a fresh Evangelization.

For both fundamental projects, namely the search for fresh postmodern global human civilization and for a fresh postmodern global Christian evangelization, fresh postmodern global leadership is already arising from the Global South of Planet Earth. It is there that the vast majority of our human sisters and brothers now live. It is also there that the vast majority of our Christian sisters and brothers now also live. And so it is there that we especially look for fresh and regenerative and sustainable social paths and ecclesial paths.

For our global human family and for our global Christian family to navigate creatively through these two traumatic transformations, one societal and the other ecclesial, we all need first to ask the Holy Spirit for the gifts of wisdom and courage. And so, our first step in this new Pacem in Terris Ecumenical Initiative is humbly and prayerfully to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us both as citizens and as believers into a creative postmodern globally regenerative and sustainable societal and ecclesial future. We seek this guidance especially for the sake of our children and our children’s children for countless future generations.

While seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we again invite our Christian sisters and brothers from across the global Christian family, as well as all interested persons of good will — to join us in this Initiative. We humbly, prayerfully, and gratefully invite our sisters and brothers to join us in a global search for fresh and holistically regenerative and sustainable societal and ecclesial paths.

As we begin this process, we welcome your suggestions, insights, and criticisms on how we should proceed in developing the Initiative. Again, please visit the Initiative’s website at http://www.paceminterris.net to review the initial documents, and then please share your thoughts with us via email at paceminterris@comcast.net.

Most importantly, please hold this new Initiative in your prayer.

In prayerful gratitude and solidarity,

Joe Holland

President, Pax Romana / Cmica-usa




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