Among other traditional forms, Salesian Christian Humanism revels in the glory revealed by God, who guides history along its path toward the perfection of love and who inserts into that history the human being created in the divine image and likeness, whose fullness is the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.
Central to the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) is his vision of
Man (is) the perfection of the universe, mind the perfection of man, love the perfection of the mind, and charity (love of God) the perfection of love.
Interest in the human person and the positive affirmation of human life and culture which stems from faith is the hallmark of any humanism qualified as “Christian.” Several salient features distinguish its world view, including:
- an understanding of human nature as dependent on one’s relation to God
- an acknowledgment of human sinfulness and faith in the power of forgiveness
- an emphasis on human freedom as ordered to ultimate beauty, truth, and goodness
- an emphasis on human responsibility over and against forms of determinism
- a vision of the individual as rooted in communion with God and others through the Church
- a vision of the universe as ordered by divine providence and oriented toward salvation
- a conviction that human history as a purpose for which Jesus Christ is the key
The ongoing promotion of Christian humanism seeks to provide a necessary corrective to other forms of humanism that can threaten human life in the twenty-first century, including:
- a scientific humanism that proclaims itself capable of explaining the human mind, human qualities, and religious faith itself, entirely by means of physical laws
- a technological humanism that locates meaningfulness in human capabilities alone, and fulfillment in material objects of human production
- a secular humanism that seeks the full meaning of human existence within the boundaries of this age and this world itself
- an ethical humanism that values responding to human need but rejects religion as failing to foster independence and courage