The Gospel, Transforming Cultures

Does anyone know where this quote is from? Do you like it or not?

For the Church, evangelizing means bringing the Good News into all the strata of humanity, and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new: "Now I am making the whole of creation new." But there is no new humanity if there are not first of all new persons renewed by Baptism and by lives lived according to the Gospel. The purpose of evangelization is therefore precisely this interior change, and if it had to be expressed in one sentence the best way of stating it would be to say that the Church evangelizes when she seeks to convert, solely through the divine power of the message she proclaims, both the personal and collective consciences of people, the activities in which they engage, and the lives and concrete milieu which are theirs.

Strata of humanity which are transformed: for the Church it is a question not only of preaching the Gospel in ever wider geographic areas or to ever greater numbers of people, but also of affecting and as it were upsetting, through the power of the Gospel, mankind's criteria of judgment, determining values, points of interest, lines of thought, sources of inspiration and models of life, which are in contrast with the Word of God and the plan of salvation.

All this could he expressed in the following words: what matters is to evangelize man's culture and cultures (not in a purely decorative way, as it were, by applying a thin veneer, but in a vital way, in depth and right to their very roots), in the wide and rich sense which these terms have in Gaudium et spes, always taking the person as one's starting-point and always coming back to the relationships of people among themselves and with God.

The Gospel, and therefore evangelization, are certainly not identical with culture, and they are independent in regard to all cultures. Nevertheless, the kingdom which the Gospel proclaims is lived by men who are profoundly linked to a culture, and the building up of the kingdom cannot avoid borrowing the elements of human culture or cultures. Though independent of cultures, the Gospel and evangelization are not necessarily incompatible with them; rather they are capable of permeating them all without becoming subject to any one of them.

The split between the Gospel and culture is without a doubt the drama of our time, just as it was of other times.


SocietyVs said…
For me, this is a very touchy subject - and one with serious problems up and down it.

I basically agree our faith and cultures of the world are different - in some ideological sense and teachings wise (sometimes). However, Christian culture has tried to usurp many a culture across the world - and has destroyed many communities in the process.

The list can really go on and on but Canada's Indigenous people, South American Indian populations, African nations, and more have seen a lot of their cultures tried to be eradicated in the name of this belief 'culture is bad'.

What seems to be happening now is these cultures are resurrecting themselves and some are outright rejecting our faith on the grounds 'our church culture is dangerous' and not the other way around. Quite the fragile situation in some regards.

I think out faith needs to respect the culture to which it is adopted into - I also think the church needs to quit looking like a European empire and more like a diverse kingdom with many people groups at the helms of power and shaping the direction of the church. I think, as it stands, church en masse is altogether a European institution with very little cultural flavor besides their own.
Rob said…
-I think, as it stands, church en masse is altogether a European institution with very little cultural flavor besides their own.-

Forgive me, but this is just a lot of breezy talk. The African priests presently re-evangelizing my little Arizona town would disagree. The martyrs in China would disagree. The Korean church would disagree.

The whole idea of "cultures rebelling against Europeanism" is, in fact, European and born out of Western self-hatred. It is much easier to proclaim victimhood than to proclaim the gospel.
Pete Ascosi said…
To answer your original question - I would guess the quote is from "On Evangelization in the Modern World" by Pope Paul VI.

I really like the emphasis he places on "interior change" and how the intrinsic "power of the Gospel" will change culture - not as an exterior makeover or even worse a projecting of the missionaries' culture on those being evangelized - but as an inside out change.
Gashwin said…
That quote is indeed from Pope Paul VI's apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi (On Evangelization in the Modern World). It's worth a read.

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