Secularism and the Difficulty of Inculturation

Interview With Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, Secretary of Propaganda Fide

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ROME, JULY 5, 2012 ( Secularism and the difficulty of inculturation: two of the  challenges facing evangelization.

The secretary of Propaganda Fide, Salesian archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai of Hong Kong spoke about this with ZENIT after the ordination of 10 deacons in the Sacred Heart Church of Rome.

ZENIT: What are the challenges for the evangelization of people in a globalized world?

Bishop Hon: The growing phenomenon of globalization has two very clear challenges: secularism, which also reaches countries less prepared to address it. Secularism is a system of life that seeks to marginalize the transcendental dimension, the dimension of God.

The second challenge is that of inculturation: faith must always be united with the daily life of the people.

However, there are also great possibilities, as globalizations makes trips, contacts and communication easier. Now it is possible to have more contact with people anywhere in the world.

ZENIT: What does the Pope’s testimony mean for those who live far away and know the faith, but also for those who don’t know it?

Bishop Hon: The Holy Father has a very special role as he is the Successor of Peter, the rock that the Lord chose and on which Jesus Christ himself builds his Church. It doesn’t matter who the Pope is, but what is known is that the Pope is and that he is the Successor of Saint Peter, and this is very important.

ZENIT: And with Benedict XVI in particular?

Bishop Hon: We are very fortunate to have this Holy Father, with long service in the Holy See. And although we see he is elderly, which results in human limitations, he does a fabulous service by explaining the faith in simple terms and inviting people to enter in communion.

ZENIT: For us, maybe, who hear and see him with a certain frequency, it is perhaps easier. But what happens when someone lives in a distant country?

Bishop Hon: I come from China and there the Church has her own difficulty and a path that isn’t easy to follow, especially if we speak of religious liberty.

The Holy Father is the leader of the Church and that is why the faithful in China accept him gladly and recognize him. There is, instead, a difficulty of a political sort. And even if we are far from Rome, we feel very much the closeness of the Holy Father when he sends us his messages, especially for his particular care for the Church in our country. It’s not because it is far away that he is not heard.

ZENIT: How do you, as a Salesian, concerned with the evangelization of peoples, see Don Bosco’s charism today?

Bishop Hon: He also dreamt somewhat of China and I see that Don Bosco’s charism has an incredible freshness, in the way of relating to young people, to the family, with its optimism and activity. All is summarized in this phrase: “Everything can be done except sinning.” He is truly a father who attracts and touches young people’s hearts.

[Translation by ZENIT]
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