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Diego Irarrázaval

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"Our first task in approaching another people, another to take off our shoes, for the place we are approaching is holy." (Max Warren, Secretary of the Church Missionary Society from 1942-1963).

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"Our first task in approaching another people, another to take off our shoes, for the place we are approaching is holy."

(Max Warren, Secretary of the Church Missionary Society from 1942-1963)

The New Dawn of the Church is to be found in the indigenous culture and its blend of faith through the particular history of ethnic communities.
diego irarr zaval
Diego Irarrázaval
  • Roman Catholic charismatic theologian
  • Graduate of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago Divinity School
  • Missionary of the Congregation of the Holy Cross from Chile
  • Has served for among the indigenous and mestizo people of the Andean region (Andes Mountains) and Latin America
  • Current Vice President of the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians (EATWOT)
  • Engaged with feminist struggles, interreligious dialogue in Asia, Black and Native American religions, the environmental and economic effects of free market capitalism

"Inculturation is a movement toward full evangelization. It seeks to dispose people to receive Jesus Christ in an integral manner. It touches them on the personal, cultural, economic and political levels so that they can live a holy life in total union with God the Father, through the action of the Holy Spirit."

(John Paul II, Ecclesia in Africa, Given at Yaoundé, in Cameroon on September 14, 1995, Feast of the Triumph of the Cross)

  • A reciprocal movement and mutual interaction between the gospel and a people with its particular culture whereby both are enriched – First used 1960’s, but popularized 1990’s Roman Catholic Synod of Bishops in reference to evangelizing mission, liturgy and catechesis in Africa and Latin America
  • "An intimate transformation of the authentic cultural values by their integration into Christianity and the implantation of Christianity into different human cultures." (John Paul II)
  • The dynamic and creative process of incarnation to make the Christian message accessible in and through a local culture.
  • Contrasted with adaption, which could imply the external and temporary imposition of particular cultural values upon another
  • Three aspects of inculturation:
    • The theology of inculturation where the gospel is in different cultures based upon the will of God
    • The church as agent of inculturation with its connected responsibility
    • The challenge of inculturation as it relates to contextual identity in global perspective
Talca is the major city in Chile’s Central Valley, the agricultural heartland of the country. It is located near the banks of the Claro River, foreground. The river has played an important role in the region’s economy.
Experience is not… “something human that serves as preparation for revelation (something like an ‘old testament’) and Christian life as that which allows for doing theology of the true God.”

Rather experience is…“a salvation history, of which the church is the sacrament, becoming present in every human journey and spirituality of our peoples.”

perspectives on inculturation
Perspectives on Inculturation
  • Greatest concern is how we evangelize in a way that points to shared attainment of the fullness of life
  • A theology of liberating love of Christ which transforms
  • Systemization from below
  • Draws upon sources of salvation: the Incarnation, the Paschal event, and Pentecost
  • Must respond to everyday identity and experience being assaulted by instability, poverty, hunger, self-destruction
  • Basic challenge is to remain faithful to the holistic command to evangelize given to the church community
  • Carried out by ecclesial communities – “Inculturated liberation”
critiques challenges
  • Over-contextualization
  • Diminished catholicity
  • Myopia
  • Hyper-inculturation
reasons for change and renewal
Reasons for change and renewal
  • Liberation approach that arouses feelings, controversy and rethinking of religious life
  • Biblical renewal and prayerful, communal, and mutual reading the Word from the margins that challenges and energizes religious life
  • Rediscovery of particular history and charisms of each congregation and religious order
  • A beautiful journey where people are moved by the love of God and where Christ calls us to radical discipleship today and tomorrow
  • Martyrdom of men and women that bears fruit and draws the church out of routine and closer to the Crucified One
  • Ways of being involved in struggle and suffering for a better world
“Today other models are being attempted: small everyday contributions to the globalization of hope, connection between praxis and celebration, strengthening the family and local groups, a kind of production and consumption that is an alternative to a totalitarian market, art, and ecology, responsibility of people’s organizations to resolve matters of the common good.”