Aparecida 479: Inculturation

Looking to the cultures of the Caribbean and Latin America is hardly a sellout; it involves new ways of expressing faith. The bishops here see it as a means of going to where people express their culture and drawing them to Christ from there.

479. With the inculturation of the faith, the Church is enriched with new expressions and values, manifesting and celebrating ever better the mystery of Christ, and is enabled to unite faith more with life, thereby contributing to a full catholicity, one that is not simply geographical but cultural as well.

A caution about today’s culture:

Nevertheless, this Latin American and Caribbean cultural heritage is now facing contemporary culture, which shows both lights and shadows. We must consider that culture with empathy in order to understand it, but also with a critical stance to discover whatever within it is the product of human limitation and sin.

Discernment here is vital. There is a distinction between being a product of sin and being close to sinners. Jesus cared little for what others thought of his proximity to sinners. Likewise, we should not dismiss elements of culture that can be turned for the Gospel.

It displays many successive changes, caused by new knowledge and discoveries of science and technology, resulting in the disappearance of a single image of the world which used to provide direction for everyday life. The full responsibility for constructing one’s personality and shaping one’s social identity falls on the individual. Thus, on the one hand, we have the emergence of subjectivity, respect for the dignity and freedom of each individual, no doubt an important conquest of humankind.

Be on watch for modern trends that impose culture on others:

On the other hand, this same pluralism of a cultural and religious nature, forcefully spread by a globalized culture, ends up making individualism a dominant characteristic of contemporary society, responsible for ethical relativism and the crisis of the family.

For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in 2007 Aparecida document, bishops, evangelization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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