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Ivan Merz's lay apostolate in the light of the II Vatican Council

Nikola Mate Roščić

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 188 Kb

str. 353-365

preuzimanja: 324



The Author has devided his survey into three parts: Ivan Merz and the "Paris Circle" inspiration; Ivan Merz — Contours of "Lay Theology"; and Ivan Merz — and as we are today.
Ivan's stay in Paris between 1920 and 1922 influenced his professional and spiritual formation immensely. Apart from his literary studies Ivan studied the social and political problems of catholic organisations as well, with special emphasis on the education of youth, on work with the working class and on the problems of social justice and relationship with totalitarian systems. However, the most significant part of his stay in Paris was Merz's religious growth, his achievement of ascetic-mystical image and the belief that contemplation was the basis of all spiritual thought and activity. The author proves that Merz could have the possibility of having contacts with the »session« of Jacques and Raisse Maritain in Paris: his approach to French literature was the same as Maritain's; his attitude on questions concerning social and political life concurred with Maritain's ideas; his opinion on the Catholic Movement in Croatia were the same as Maritain's on Action Française. Many paralelles could be drawn between Merz's thoughts and Maritain's numerous texts, particularly between their ideas and achievements in spiritual life. Merz is a great catholic, an intellectual and mystic, who carried echoes of catholic universahsm in his heart participating in the creation and circulation of new views. These views, unquestionably valid even in our days, proved to be a kind of preparation for the ideas of the II Vatican Council.
If we compare pre-Council works on lay theology and Council guidelines we will find a great resemblance with Ivan Merz's writings in them: a true catholic inspiration, boundless love for the Church and the pope, a zeal for creating a new spirit within the Catholic Movement, correctness of ideas on the place and role of laymen, Ivan's image as a lay apostle and his lay apostolate.
In order to understand Ivan Merz's activities and his powerful personality fully we should know the historical frame of his time (traces of which can still be found in our Church). Merz pointed to correct directions that are still valid; views on the relationship between the laity and clergy and the role of hierarchy are the same today as Merz's ideas; catholic laity should be revived according to Merz's spiritual school as well as according to the teachings of the II Vatican Council.

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