Tagged: inculturation

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Narratives that Colonize

Narratives are powerful. Narratives help frame issues and events, making them accessible and more easily understood. Within a world full of confusion and “information overload,” narratives can provide meaning and clarity on complicated issues and controversies. But it is also true that narratives can be dangerous. Narratives almost always reflect the perspectives and biases of those who construct them. Many narratives are built on false or inaccurate assumptions; some narratives are devised to intentionally deceive....

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Who is Pachamama anyway?

In my past articles covering the controversy around the carved figure from the Amazon Synod, I arrived at the conclusion that–contrary to the accusations from the usual suspects–there is no evidence that a pagan ritual took place in the Vatican. The statue could represent, depending on who you asked, a kind of Marian depiction of Our Lady of the Amazon, or a mere symbol of life and fertility, without idolatrous intentions. The Pachamama references (which...

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Still Worried About Pachamama? Read Laudato Si’

I know that papal documents are not easy reading. I also know we all have lots on the go, and it is hard to find the time to sit down and read and think for a couple hours. But this is crucial: if you are Catholic and worried about paganism having infiltrated the Church through the Amazon synod, but have not yet read Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’, please read it as soon as...

Inculturation and Syncretism

With the ongoing Amazon synod dealing extensively with the relationship between Catholicism and various indigenous South American religious beliefs and practices, the concepts of inculturation and syncretism have rocketed into the Catholic news cycle. These terms are somewhat technical but many people have been able to get the (more or less accurate) sense that one of these things is desirable and the other is not. This piece seeks to provide working definitions and historical examples...

Paganism in the Vatican? Hermeneutic of suspicion at its peak

[Note: this article has been updated. See here] On Friday, October 4th, a ceremony took place in Vatican gardens in preparation for the Synod on the Amazon. This ceremony was not organized by the Vatican itself, but by the Order of Friars Minor, the Global Catholic Climate Movement, and the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network. Here is Vatican’s press release issued before the ceremony. A video of the entire service can be seen below. The high point...