John Paul II Urges an Evangelization of U.S. Culture

Exhorts Bishops to Present the Faith as an Encounter

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 4, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II appealed for the evangelization of U.S. culture, presenting Christianity above all as an encounter with Christ, and not something merely institutional.

This was part of the message the Pope delivered today to the bishops of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas at the conclusion of their five-yearly visit to Rome.

“God has entered our human history so that through his Son — the sum total of Revelation — we might be drawn into his own divine life,” the Holy Father said.

The Church’s mission “is to mediate the content of faith to different cultures enabling people to be transformed by the power of the Gospel which permeates their way of thinking, standards of judgment, and norms of behavior,” he said.

The “split between the Gospel and culture is undoubtedly the drama of our time,” he said, quoting Pope Paul VI’s words in the apostolic exhortation “Evangelii Nuntiandi.”

In short, there is today “a crisis of meaning,” John Paul II said.

“Ambiguous moral positions, the distortion of reason by particular interest groups, and the absolutization of the subjective, are just some examples of a perspective of life which fails to seek truth itself and abandons the search for the ultimate goal and meaning of human existence,” he lamented.

“Some today view Christianity as weighed down by structures and failing to respond to people’s spiritual needs,” the Pope continued.

“Yet, far from being something merely institutional, the living center of your preaching of the Gospel is the encounter with our Lord himself,” he told the prelates.

“In fact, it is only by knowing, loving and imitating Christ that, with him, we can transform history by bringing Gospel values to bear in society and culture,” the Holy Father said.

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