We’re going to wrap up Part One and Chapter Three with a look at inculturation. DPPL 91 contains two long footnotes, one from Cardinal Ratzinger, and the other from the Pontifical Council for Culture. So we’ll tackle the witness of the recent magisterium for inculturation today. Then finish up tomorrow.
91. Popular piety is naturally marked by historical and cultural factors. The sheer variety of its expressions is an indicator of that fact. It reflects forms of popular piety that have arisen and been accepted in many particular Churches throughout the ages, and are a sure sign of the extent to which the faith has taken root in the hearts of particular peoples, and of its influence on the daily lives of the faithful. Indeed, “popular piety is the first and most fundamental form of the faith’s ‘inculturation,’ and should be continually guided and oriented by the Liturgy, which, in its turn, nourishes the faith though the heart”(J. Ratzinger, Commento teologico, in CONGREGAZIONE PER LA DOTTRINA DELLA FEDE, Il messaggio di Fatima, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Città del Vaticano 2000, p. 35.).
It’s the same work cited in yesterday’s post.
Notice Cardinal Ratzinger’s acknowledgement of faith being formed in the heart.
The encounter between the innovative dynamism of the Gospel message, and the various elements of a given culture, is affirmed in popular piety*
*Cf. PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR CULTURE, Per una Pastorale della Cultura, Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1999, 28: Popular piety remains one of the principal expressions of a true inculturation of the faith because in it faith and liturgy harmonize, as well as sentiment and the arts, while affirming a consciousness of a proper identity through local traditions. Thus, “America, which historically has been, and still is, a melting-pot of peoples, has recognized in the mestiza face of the Virgin of Tepeyac, ‘in Blessed Mary of Guadalupe, an impressive example of a perfectly inculturated evangelization’ …..(Ecclesia in America 11) Popular piety allows a people to express its faith, its relationship with God and Providence, with Our Lady and the Saints, with neighbors, with the dead., with creation and strengthens membership of the Church.”
“Innovative dynamism” isn’t quite how I would describe the institutional approach to the preaching of the Gospel. Still, it is a goal toward which we can be reaching.
Take a look at that long note to DPPL 91b. Affirmation for what has developed around the Lady of Guadalupe. Subsequent apparitions seem to have less power. Lourdes is where I would draw the line. But Juan Diego’s vision is certainly attractive and deeply meaningful for the Americas.
Your thoughts on any of this?
The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy is online at the Vatican site.