Thursday 25 April 2013

The second inculturation

In the readings from the Acts of the Apostles these days we see the early church moving step by step from the Jewish world into the Hellenistic world: Peter and Cornelius, disciples from Cyprus preaching to the Gentiles in Antioch, the First Council of Jerusalem...

John Paul II had called this, in Fides et Ratio, the first great inculturation of the faith. He had also called for a second great inculturation, this time into the worlds of Asia and Africa. (The work of De Smet!)

To those working on the second inculturation, he had said: do not think you can do it by abandoning the first. 

To those in the first, he probably might have said: do not think yours is the last. 

To both: there is need of great openness, great hard work, and great competence. The church has need also of what we might call intellectual charity. 

So we pray for the wisdom and the discernment needed by the pioneers, those on the front lines. And for openness, avoidance of ridicule and rigidity, for those of us who will be simple educators and pastors. We are not all called to be pioneers and scholars, but we are all educators, and we can be open, and teach our youth to be open.

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