Evangelii Gaudium addresses “Challenges to inculturating the faith” over the next three paragraphs (68-70).
I was struck first by Pope Francis’ reference to “authentic Christian humanism,” a topic I stumbled across a few months ago. He also seems optimistic about the challenges with which we are being presented in the modern situation. That Christian foundation in Western culture that seems to be absent: a cause for lament or hope? With the Holy Father, I would say the latter.
68. The Christian substratum of certain peoples – most of all in the West – is a living reality. Here we find, especially among the most needy, a moral resource which preserves the values of an authentic Christian humanism. Seeing reality with the eyes of faith, we cannot fail to acknowledge what the Holy Spirit is sowing. It would show a lack of trust in his free and unstinting activity to think that authentic Christian values are absent where great numbers of people have received baptism and express their faith and solidarity with others in a variety of ways. This means more than acknowledging occasional “seeds of the word”, since it has to do with an authentic Christian faith which has its own expressions and means of showing its relationship to the Church. The immense importance of a culture marked by faith cannot be overlooked; before the onslaught of contemporary secularism an evangelized culture, for all its limits, has many more resources than the mere sum total of believers. An evangelized popular culture contains values of faith and solidarity capable of encouraging the development of a more just and believing society, and possesses a particular wisdom which ought to be gratefully acknowledged.
What do you readers think? Are the modern challenges in “Christian” or “post-Christian” settings a plus or a minus for us?