The Han of the Sinned-Against: A Global Sensus Fidei in the Pope Francis Era

Kevin Patrick Considine


The problem of the barbarous excess of human suffering is becoming the main question of global Christianity. This has been highlighted by Pope Francis—the first pontiff from the Global South—due to his sensitivity to the experiences of the women, men, and the ecological context that are “sinned-against.” With this in mind, an important question arises: in an intercultural, globalizing world, how does the global sensus fidei assist in envisioning the wounds of sin and God’s saving work of healing, liberation, and redemption?  My essay addresses this question by engaging with the Korean anthropology of han (ruptured heart/frustrated hope/black hole in the soul). I will argue that han is an anthropology with a constellation of signifiers “thick” enough to account for one aspect of the global sensus fidei: the shared experiences of unwarranted human suffering and ecological degradation that seek God’s salvation, albeit fragmentary, in this world. To do so, I discuss intercultural hermeneutics and the semiotics of culture, a constellation of some meanings associated with the Korean anthropology of han, and the terms sensus fidei and consensus fidelium as clarified by the recent document from the International Theological Commission. I suggest that han anthropology should be considered a global “flow” within the sensus fidei that can lead to a consensus fidelium: assessing and interpreting doctrine, faith, and practice based upon the experiences of the sinned-against.



Han; sinned against; intercultural hermeneutics; senses fidei; salvation; theological anthropology

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ISSN: 2169-1088