Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"Inculturation"--A Thought

From B-16's speech to the Regensburg faculty:

...I must briefly refer to the third stage of dehellenization, which is now in progress. In the light of our experience with cultural pluralism, it is often said nowadays that the synthesis with Hellenism achieved in the early Church was a preliminary inculturation which ought not to be binding on other cultures. The latter are said to have the right to return to the simple message of the New Testament prior to that inculturation, in order to inculturate it anew in their own particular milieux. This thesis is not only false; it is coarse and lacking in precision. The New Testament was written in Greek and bears the imprint of the Greek spirit, which had already come to maturity as the Old Testament developed. True, there are elements in the evolution of the early Church which do not have to be integrated into all cultures. Nonetheless, the fundamental decisions made about the relationship between faith and the use of human reason are part of the faith itself; they are developments consonant with the nature of faith itself.

Seems to me that the Pope has placed significant limits on the theory of "inculturation," by insisting that the synthesis of "Athens and Jerusalem" achieved by St John's Gospel be the underlying principle in both proselytizing AND teaching the Faith.


About 15-20 years ago, I had remarked to a publisher-friend that the Church had better control the definition of "inculturation" or some strange things might result--and that comment was limited to the area of musica sacra.

This guy B-16 is so....really....GOOD at making sense, and reducing the complex to the understandable....

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