EG 62: A Pope’s Perspective, Standing with Africa and Asia

Vasnetsov_Maria_MagdaleneIs Pope Francis’ assessment accurate?

62. In the prevailing culture, priority is given to the outward, the immediate, the visible, the quick, the superficial and the provisional. What is real gives way to appearances.

Does this ring true, an emphasis on good looks?

In many countries globalization has meant a hastened deterioration of their own cultural roots and the invasion of ways of thinking and acting proper to other cultures which are economically advanced but ethically debilitated.

I also hear the same complaint from people in my surroundings, that some aspects of modern culture have superceded the virtues of previous generations. Two sides to the same coin? Or just fogeys in complaint?

Pope Francis isn’t focused solely on his own continent. He thinks the bishops of Africa and Asia back up this observation, and he suggests Pope John Paul II is on their side:

This fact has been brought up by bishops from various continents in different Synods. The African bishops, for example, taking up the Encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, pointed out years ago that there have been frequent attempts to make the African Is countries “parts of a machine, cogs on a gigantic wheel. This is often true also in the field of social communications which, being run by centers mostly in the northern hemisphere, do not always give due consideration to the priorities and problems of such countries or respect their cultural make-up”.[John Paul II, Ecclesia in Africa  52, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis , 22.] By the same token, the bishops of Asia “underlined the external influences being brought to bear on Asian cultures. New patterns of behavior are emerging as a result of over-exposure to the mass media… As a result, the negative aspects of the media and entertainment industries are threatening traditional values, and in particular the sacredness of marriage and the stability of the family”.[John Paul II, Ecclesia in Asia 7]

On the Vatican web site: Evangelii Gaudium.

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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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