Let’s continue our discussion on culture and evangelization. Feel free to chime in with a response to the question at the end.
21. Together with this “more universal form of culture”,(29) there is a growing desire to esteem anew autochthonous cultures. The question posed by the Second Vatican Council is still valid: “What is to be done to prevent increased exchange between cultures (which ought to lead to genuine and fruitful dialogue between groups and nations) from disturbing the life of communities, overthrowing traditional wisdom and endangering the character proper to each people”.(30)
– In many places there is an acute awareness that traditional cultures are being assailed by powerful external forces and by alien imitations of imported life-styles, with the result that the identity and values proper to peoples are thus being gradually eroded.
– Similarly acknowledged is the widespread influence of the communications media, which out of economic or ideological interest, often imposes a vision of life which does not respect the cultural distinctiveness of the peoples whom they address.
Thus, with inculturation, evangelization encounters one of its greatest challenges. In the light of the Gospel, the Church must appropriate all the positive values of culture and of cultures (31) and reject those elements which impede development of the true potential of persons and peoples.
This last paragraph has an interesting directive, don’t you think? The Church must appropriate all the positive values of culture and cultures. It seems we are being told to cultivate an optimistic view of the world–to expect to find goodness.
Here’s a question for discussion: What elements of the post-Christian West fall into this category? Will they help the enchantment of non-Christians in a post-Christian culture?
(29) Gaudium et Spes 54.
(30) Gaudium et Spes 56c.
(31) Cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi 20; Catechesi Tradendae 53.