Inculturation Is a Priority for Church in Africa, Says Pope

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 17, 2003 ( John Paul II says that inculturation is “a priority” for the Church in Africa.

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Inculturation allows the Church “to incarnate the Gospel in the different cultures, taking up what is good in these cultures and renewing them from within,” the Pope said.

He made his comments in an audience with the bishops of Burkina Faso and Niger, at the close of their five-yearly visit to the Holy See. He took the opportunity to remind them of a central message of his postsynodal apostolic exhortation “Ecclesia in Africa.”

Inculturation, he maintained, is “a way toward full evangelization so that every man can receive Jesus Christ in the integrity of his personal, cultural, economic and political being, in view of his full and total union with God the Father, and of a holy life under the action of the Holy Spirit.”

The Pope said that in these countries of the Sahel, inculturation is yielding fruit in the life and example of grass-roots Christian communities.

“The evangelizing action of the Christian community, first in its own territory and then elsewhere, as participation in the universal mission, is the clearest sign of the maturity of the faith,” he added. “To develop this missionary consciousness in the heart of each believer continues to be a genuine challenge.”

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