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Ioannes Paulus PP. II
Ecclesia in Africa

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  • CHAPTER IV
    • I. Present-Day Challenges
      • 78
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Inculturating the faith

78. By reason of its deep conviction that "the synthesis between culture and faith is not only a demand of culture but also of faith", because "a faith that does not become culture is not fully accepted, not entirely thought out, not faithfully lived",151 the Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops considered inculturation a priority and an urgent task in the life of Africa's particular Churches. Only in this way can the Gospel be firmly implanted in the Continent's Christian communities. Following in the footsteps of the Second Vatican Council,152 the Synod Fathers interpreted inculturation as a process that includes the whole of Christian existencetheology, liturgy, customs, structures — without of course compromising what is of divine right and the great discipline of the Church, confirmed in the course of centuries by remarkable fruits of virtue and heroism.153

The challenge of inculturation in Africa consists in ensuring that the followers of Christ will ever more fully assimilate the Gospel message, while remaining faithful to all authentic African values. Inculturation of the faith in every area of Christian and human life is an arduous task which can only be carried out with the help of the Spirit of the Lord who leads the Church to the whole truth (cf. Jn 16:13).




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