Dr Andrew Meszaros delivered the Kiliani-Lecture this year hosted by the Catholic Theology Faculty of the University of Wurzburg in Germany.
Entitled "Work or Leisure," Dr Meszaros explored the theological significance of work and leisure, drawing upon the theological explorations of Marie-Dominique Chenu (1895-1990) and Josef Pieper (1904-1997).
In Chenu's theology, work received a positive evaluation, as an activity that it was suitable for the realization of salvation - the communion of the people among each other and with God - in the beginning, and in so far as through them men can pursue a definite goal together. For Pieper, on the other hand, work, especially as a social function as claimed by Chenu, is critically evaluated. Work instead serves above all to enable leisure (non-activity, inner silence and contemplation), whose central characteristic is openness, to God, fellow human beings and to oneself. This results in a fundamental contradiction to the work, which, as a self-contained activity, aims to pursue a specific goal. So while Pieper wants to focus on the profane aspect of work apart from the sacred realm, Chenu believes that salvation can be realized within this seemingly profane realm, through the work itself.
Dr Meszaros concludes that both Chenu and Pieper expressed in their views a fundamental aspect of Christian social teaching. Chenu points out the theological value of the work for the divine plan of salvation, and Pieper points to the limitations of this value with regard to salvation.
The Kiliani Lecture, which was founded in 2017, and was first delivered by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin. This is a further aspect of the mutual cooperation between the Pontifical University and the Universität Würzburg, that includes a long running ERASMUS agreement and external examination.
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