GDC 204: Methodological processes

Methodological process: what does it mean? Listening, discernment, purification, stimulation, dialogue, and patience:

204. Catechesis, while avoiding all manipulation of culture, is not limited to a mere juxtaposition of the Gospel with culture in some “decorative manner”. Rather it proposes the Gospel “in a vital way, profoundly, by going to the very roots of culture and the cultures of (hu)mankind”. (Evangelii Nuntiandi 20) This defines a dynamic process consisting of various interactive elements: a listening in the culture of the people, to discern an echo (omen, invocation, sign) of the word of God; a discernment of what has an authentic Gospel value or is at least open to the Gospel; a purification of what bears the mark of sin (passions, structures of evil) or of human frailty; an impact on people through stimulating an attitude of radical conversion to God, of dialogue, and of patient interior maturation.

Difficult stuff. It implies that the relationship with a culture and the people of a culture involves a long-term plan with long-term goals. Some of these goals may take decades to achieve.

One application that comes to mind is how the Church deals with so-called New Age influences and practices in Christians (or on the evangelism front, post-Christians). Is there something inherently flawed, for example, in eastern meditation styles? More often I see an explicit condemnation that doesn’t appear to have engaged in “dynamic listening” or any discernment. As for the assessment for purification, it would seem that the mark of sin must be something more coherent than “it’s non-Catholic/non-Christian/non-Western” or something vague like “consider the source.”

Thoughts?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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