Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Joy of the Gospel - 122

The evangelizing power of popular piety
122. In the same way, we can see that the different peoples among whom the Gospel has been inculturated are active collective subjects or agents of evangelization. This is because each people is the creator of their own culture and the protagonist of their own history. Culture is a dynamic reality which a people constantly recreates; each generation passes on a whole series of ways of approaching different existential situations to the next generation, which must in turn reformulate it as it confronts its own challenges. Being human means “being at the same time son and father of the culture to which one belongs”.[97] Once the Gospel has been inculturated in a people, in their process of transmitting their culture they also transmit the faith in ever new forms; hence the importance of understanding evangelization as inculturation. Each portion of the people of God, by translating the gift of God into its own life and in accordance with its own genius, bears witness to the faith it has received and enriches it with new and eloquent expressions. One can say that “a people continuously evangelizes itself”.[98] Herein lies the importance of popular piety, a true expression of the spontaneous missionary activity of the people of God. This is an ongoing and developing process, of which the Holy Spirit is the principal agent.[99]

[97] John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Fides et Ratio (14 September 1998), 71: AAS 91 (1999), 60.

[98] Third General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops, Puebla Document, 23 March 1979, 450; cf. Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops, Aparecida Document, 29 June 2007, 264.

[99] John Paul II, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Asia (6 November 1999), 21: AAS 92 (2000), 482-484.