Incarnation Seen as a Model for Inculturation of Gospel

In Pope’s Prayer Intentions for December

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VATICAN CITY, NOV. 29, 2004 ( This December John Paul II will pray “that the incarnation of Jesus Christ may be the authentic model for every attempt at inculturating the Gospel.”

This is the missionary intention of the Apostleship of Prayer, which the Pope makes his own each month. He offers his prayers and sacrifices together with thousands of the faithful worldwide.

“Inculturation is the ever renewed incarnation of the mystery of Christ, which in turn is the supreme model and perfect realization of authentic inculturation,” explained Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, in a commentary published by the Fides agency.

“Any attempt at inculturation by the Church means the intimate transformation of authentic cultural values through their integration into Christianity, and at the same time the insertion of Christianity into the various human cultures,” he said.

Given the above, the “motivation, the model, the criterion, the content and the purpose must be the Word of God become man, who is himself the subject and object of this Word,” the cardinal added. “The good news is Jesus Christ. He is both the starting point and the destination.”

“In imitating the Incarnation of the Word of God, inculturation, therefore, is and ought to be historical and transcendent, total and integral,” he continued.

“Just as ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,’ so too the good news, the word of Jesus Christ proclaimed to the nations, must take root in the life situation of the hearers of the Word,” because, he said, “inculturation is precisely this insertion of the Gospel message into cultures.”

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