Tag Archives: inculturation

Endogamous discrimination in the Syro-Malabar Church?

Many times when Catholics think of inculturation they mis-identify the term by saying that the Church just needs to lighten up its rule and fit to the local culture. Others will locate the philosophical and missionary effort inculturation in the liturgical sphere. Inculturation matters are a very contentious matter that gets people in crosshairs. Adapting or in some way making changes to a system  of living so that you can “fit in” is an external fact and is not the method the Catholic Church uses to bring Lord’s Good News to other peoples, that is, those who outside the European and North American context. The Catholic Church tends to focus on the interior life of the person; externals are secondary and may change in time.

There is, however, a more precise way of understanding inculturation deals with adaption in saying that it is “the incarnation of the Gospel in autonomous cultures and at the same time the introduction of these cultures into the life of the church” (John Paul II’s 1985 encyclical Slavorum Apostoli, or his address to the Pontifical Council for Culture plenary assembly on Jan. 17, 1987). It is also understood that inculturation is, as John Paul II said in his 1990 encyclical Redemptoris Missio, “an intimate transformation of the authentic cultural values by their integration into Christianity and the implantation of Christianity into different human cultures.”

As Redemptoris Missio said, “By inculturation, the church makes the Gospel incarnate in different cultures and at the same time introduces peoples, together with their cultures, into her own community” (52). And yet the Church speaks of a interpenetration of the Gospel into a given, that is, a particular socio-cultural context which  “gives inner fruitfulness to the spiritual qualities and gifts proper to each people …, strengthens these qualities, perfects them and restores them in Christ” (Gaudium et spes, 58). More on this issue here.

This is a long way to introduce the sticky issue of Indian Catholics retaining their customs of endogamy and not truly inculturating the Gospel. Judge for yourself: do the adherents to Knanaya customs cause a philosophical and theological problem here is that if we use the definitions noted above, or are we being “too Western” in wanting others to conform to a radical way of thinking which may weaken a culture? How would Christ judge the situation? Who bears the standard? How are the demands of the gospel really lived in this Christian caste? Who has ultimate authority, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, the Holy See, or the persons involved? Can endogamy be tolerated for a greater good?

The story of alleged discrimination among the Syro-Malabars can be read here.

“A bishop of the people,” Bishop Anthony Wieslaw Krótki ordained

Krótki ordination homily.JPG

Here are some pictures of Bishop Anthony Wieslaw Krótki, OMI’s episcopal ordination in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut this past May. He is the 6th bishop of the diocese.

The Bishop’s biography is here.

Bishop Krótki, 49, a Polish born missionary of Mary Immaculate, is the new Bishop of Churchill-Baie d’Hudson, Manitoba, Canada. The Churchill Diocese is Canada’s largest diocese land-wise. The snowfall is quite significant up there in this Canadian province.

He’s fluent in Polish, English and can communicate in Inukitut.

According to recent statistics there are 6,100 Catholics in this diocese in 17 parishes with 7 religious order priests; no secular priests.

Krótki ordination1.jpg

God bless Bishop Anthony Wieslaw Krótki, and the diocese of Churchill-Baie d’Hudson!

Pictures are courtesy of Archbishop Terry Prendergast, SJ.

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The faith needs to be intelligible, Pope says

Using the method of Saint Cyril and Methodius Pope Benedict
spoke about the work of the Church in making the faith intelligible to people
using their own language. The task of inculturation is an extremely difficult
work because of the nuances of language and culture. Just look at the headaches
in translating catechisms, papal speeches and liturgical texts today. The
coalescing of faith and culture is a work the Church has done since the time of
Christ. Watch the video clip on the subject.

The Pope said, in

This was a decisive factor for the development of the Slavic
civilization in general. Cyril and Methodius were convinced that the various
peoples could not consider that they had fully received Revelation until they
had heard it in their own language and read it with the characters proper to
their own alphabet.

To Methodius falls the merit of ensuring that the work
began by his brother would not remain sharply interrupted. While Cyril, the
“philosopher,” tended toward contemplation, he [Methodius] was directed
more toward the active life. In this way, he was able to establish the
foundations of the successive affirmation of what we could call the
“Cyril-Methodian idea,” which accompanied the Slavic peoples in the
various historical periods, favoring cultural, national and religious
development. Pope Pius XI already recognized this with the apostolic letter Quod Sanctum Cyrillum, in which he classified the two brothers as
“sons of the East, Byzantines by their homeland, Greeks by origin, Romans
by their mission, Slavs by their apostolic fruits” (AAS 19 [1927] 93-96).

The historic role that they fulfilled was afterward officially proclaimed by
Pope John Paul II who, with the apostolic letter Egregiae Virtutis
, declared them co-patrons of Europe, together with St. Benedict (AAS
73 [1981] 258-262). Indeed, Cyril and Methodius are a classic example of what
is today referred to with the term “inculturation”: Each people
should make the revealed message penetrate into their own culture, and express
the salvific truth with their own language. This implies a very exacting work
of “translation,” as it requires finding adequate terms to propose
anew the richness of the revealed Word, without betraying it. The two brother
saints have left in this sense a particularly significant testimony that the
Church continues looking at today to be inspired and guided. (Wednesday Audience, June 17, 2009)

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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