Christianity, as a living religious tradition has a significant impacts on lives of adherents, enabling them to respond to the enduring questions of human existence. Many teachings and practices of Christianity also set people on a path which in some way connects them to other religious traditions. These teachings include those from Pope John XXIII and bioethics as well as the practice of Baptism.
Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, known as Pope John XXIII was known as “the good Pope” due to the extensive renewal of the Church to form a greater level of understanding of the religious tradition. He instigated the Second Vatican Council, emphasising the spirit of ‘aggiornamento’ or renewal of the Church. Held between 1962 and 1965, Second Vatican Council aimed to promote peace and unity among humanity. Pope John XXIII said he aimed to “open the windows of the Church so we can see out and people see in,” emphasising the principal task of the council to make the Church more accessible to the Christian faithful, but also to all people of good will. This demonstrates, as seen in the image, the idea of all religious traditions being connected by a path which aims to bring the Christian Church into the modern world. The removal of the ‘three ills’ – clericalism (focus on the clergy), triumphalism (Catholic Church alone holds the truth) and juridicism (rules detriment to the people) restored unity among Christian denominations and other religious faiths, breaking the barrier between the clergy and the laity. The outcome of the Second Vatican Council led to a greater sense of liturgy as communal, rather than a personal act, emphasising the idea of restoring unity among the Church. The idea of bringing the Church into the modern world suggests a bringing together of the major religious traditions by encouraging greater understanding.
Pope John XXIII became Pope at a time when many inequalities still existed. Many events were taking place, such as WWII and the Vietnam War, at the time of his papacy which led to people questioning the treatment of human beings. Pope John XXIII’s encyclical “Pacem in Terris” meaning ‘peace on earth’ set guidelines for people to live in peace. It was addressed to all people of good will, demonstrating the idea in the image of placing Christianity on the same path as the other major religious traditions, aiming to restore peace among them. The encyclical focused on the dignity of a person made through the image and likeness of God; this demonstrates an attempt to provide adherents with an understanding about the enduring questions of human existence, for example the reason for living on earth explained through all human’s being made in the image and likeness of God. “Pacem in Terris” also focused on respect for human goodness, peace and justice along with the basic rights of every human being which should be recognised throughout the world. It was about establishing universal peace in truth, justice and charity. Pope John XXIII’s “Pacem in Terris,” through emphasising the need for peace for all people of good will encouraged an understanding of the questions of human existence, however most importantly encouraged a greater understanding among the 4 other major religious traditions, placing them on a ‘similar path or journey.’
Ethics are the practical application of belief. Bioethics refers to the connection between biology and life. Christian ethical teachings are sourced from the Scriptures, for example the New testament provides Christians with firm guidelines on how to approach life, looking to Jesus for inspiration and guidance. It is this inspiration and guidance which allows adherents a greater understanding of the questions of human existence. Sources also include experience, natural law and Jesus’ instruction and commandment of love. Experience for example, allows