Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - SCU Access Only


Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2020.

Degree Name

Doctor of Sacred Theology (STD)


Alison M. Benders


This expression of Jon Sobrino describes the spirit and activities of mercy in the lives of Christians. Mercy is the essence of God, an act of the loving God towards humankind. At present, Pope Francis has reinstalled this spirit of mercy in the Church and desires that mercy imbues all the Church’s actions and opens the Church to the needs of people, particularly the poor and vulnerable. This dissertation explores the Christian principle of mercy for discipleship and articulates it into the Vietnamese context today.

Exploring the principle of mercy, I follow Sobrino in arguing that mercy is the guiding principle in the life of Jesus and the defining mark of the Church. Mercy should animate and transform the lives of disciples. Mercy must be expressed concretely. Drawing from the gospel teachings, Sobrino emphasizes that the principle of mercy is a restatement of the option for the poor that the Church is urged to make. The message of mercy needs to be proposed again and again with new enthusiasm resulting in renewed pastoral action. Disciples are commissioned to witness to God’s mercy through their lives.

This study tries to integrate the theological teaching of mercy into the concrete reality of Vietnam. It sets an undergirding Christology of discipleship for Vietnamese Catholics and proposes some practical activities of mercy for the disciples. It attempts to strengthen the faith of the Vietnamese people in the merciful Christ.

This project is an attempt to improve the discipleship in the Church, the world at large, and contribute particularly to the Church in Vietnam, helping believers deepen their identity as God’s disciples. They are called to experience personally God’s compassion and to enact the Church’s mission as credible witnesses of God’s mercy, particularly towards the poor and marginalized. A deeper immersion into God’s mercy leads the Church, on both the communal and personal levels, to an authentic renewal and a transformation that reflects Christ’s call to be “merciful like the merciful Father” (Lk 6:36) and to express the joyful and liberating Gospel in daily life.

SCU Access Only

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