“beige Catholicism”… inculturation…

On this blog and in print I have often made a distinction about inculturation.

Inculturation is inevitable and necessary and a nature dynamic of who we are as Catholic Christians.  But inculturation must be properly understood and applied.

There is a two-way street between the influence of the world on the Church and the Church on the world.  It is always going on and always will and always must.  But where modern inculturation has gone dreadfully, tragically, destructively wrong, is that all too often what the world has to give to the Church has been given logical priority over what the Church has to give to the world.

The process of the exchange is chronologically simultaneously , but the Church must have logical priority.

The Church shaped cultures.  Those cultures gave things to the Church, which reshaped them and gave them back, which resulted in more exchanges yet.  Modern inculturation stiffed the healthy process in favor of one in which the world, especially the immanent was given priority.

I see that Fr. Ray Blake of St. Mary Magdalen in Brighton has linked to a piece about inculturation by Fr. Robert Barron on “beige Catholicism”.

On a side note, many of the offices of the Vatican were redone during the time of the reign of Paul VI.  They were painted in what some called “Paul VI beige”.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Andy F. says:

    Catholic Philosophy is a necessary tool in the workshop of the New Evangelization.

  2. The Cobbler says:

    Whosoever says beige is a color, anathema sit!

  3. Matthew the Penitent says:

    Just watched Father Robert Barron’s video and agree 100%. I could say more but I won’t. More priests like him needed.

  4. We do need more priests like Fr. Barron. If you haven’t seen it yet, the trailer for Fr. Barron’s video series on Catholicism is amazing. It’s a 10 part series shot on location all over the world in HD.

    You can see the trailer at http://www.catholicismproject.org

  5. Supertradmum says:

    The video is great. The pointing out that the study of the Humanities can bring about more interest in the Western Catholic Tradition is great. The problem is that academia has been in the hands of the Marxist, atheist, Post-Modernistic teachers for over thirty years. Also, the Catholic schools in America, in the seventies, stopped teaching history, art, and other liberal arts, from a Catholic point of view, changing from what was then called as “triumphalist” view of history to the same curricula as the public schools. Now, even non-Catholics teach at many, if not most, elementary and high schools, which are supposed to be teaching Catholic doctrine and the Catholic world-view. Father Barron’s comments are excellent, but two generations have been raised without the love and commitment to the Catholic Faith.

    As to the Pew Survey, many of us on this comment box would get 100%, as I did, but many of the questions had nothing to do specifically with the Catholic Faith and were asked from a Biblical perspective, which, of course, is fine. The fact that Catholics did so badly is not merely because of education, but simply laziness and a lack of interest in preserving a Catholic Culture. How sad the many things which have disappeared from families, for example, which were taken for granted when one was part of the large Catholic world.

  6. Tradster says:

    I also enjoyed Fr Barron’s video with one exception. To no surprise, he immediately made certain to stress that VCII was not to be blamed in any way.

    Which raises a question about defending VII. When all the devastation was taking place after the council, one bishop pointed at VII, denounced it, and began the SSPX. But I know of no evidence that any of the legions of the Church hierarchy who were instrumental in the Council’s documents ever stood against the “Spirit of Vatican II” devastation and tried to stop the horrors as not being the Council’s intentions. If the Council really was blameless for the ensuing nonsense then the Council Fathers would have / should have tried to stop it. But if all – or even the majority – remained silent how can anyone conclude otherwise than the Council must be held responsible for what was unleashed?

  7. Apparently plenty was said by plenty of the Council Fathers. But they followed the rules for being obedient bishops (or theologians, in the case of then-Fr. Ratzinger), and only said these things in papers or in the proper venues, and never ever contradicted the Pope in public. Meanwhile, “the Spirit of Vatican II” types captured all the usual Catholic media sources, and spread false information (or truthy information they were convinced was, or would soon be, true).

    Look at what happened with Humanae Vitae. So much false/truthy information was spread before the encyclical even came out, that people were often totally unable to accept it. Even though it just reiterated the Church’s ancient teachings, people acted as though the Pope were imposing something new — because it didn’t agree with the misinformation they’d been given.

  8. Mike says:

    “if all – or even the majority – remained silent how can anyone conclude otherwise than the Council must be held responsible for what was unleashed?”

    You’re forgetting Joseph Ratzinger. He spoke out, and wrote, many times about the abuses following the Council, and has even expressed criticisms of certain wordings of some V2 docs.

    As Fr. Z can attest, many of the worst changes were not mandated at all in V2 or in the missal of Paul VI.

  9. “You’re forgetting Joseph Ratzinger. He spoke out, and wrote, many times about the abuses following the Council, and has even expressed criticisms of certain wordings of some V2 docs.”

    Including this week, in the wonderful Theotokos/Genetrix Dei homily he just gave. “Dear brothers and sisters, on October 11, 1962, forty-eight years ago, Pope John XXIII inaugurated Vatican Council II. Back then, October 11 was the feast of the Divine Maternity of Mary, and by this action, on this date, Pope John wanted to entrust the entire council to the motherly hands, to the motherly heart of the Virgin Mary. We are also beginning on October 11, and we also want to entrust this synod, with all its problems, with all its challenges, with all its hopes, to the maternal heart of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.”

    That’s pretty critical, pointing out that the “Spirit of Vatican II” deleted the feast on which Vatican II began, and then acting almost as if the feast never went away at all. The man can’t rebuild Rome in a day, but absolutely nothing is forgotten by him; and he’s stubbornly consistent about pointing out these little facts, so that others won’t forget them, either.

  10. In the spirit of authentic ecumenism, I once attended a Coptic Orthodox church festival. Great food, by the way. In the church hall, a rock band made up of Coptic youth were playing contemporary Praise and Worship music, not unlike can be found in very many Protestant churches.

    At that moment I realized that enculturation will happen automatically and with no effort. Indeed it ought to be the Church’s mission to apply a brake and opposite impulse to this natural enculturation, which will otherwise lead to leveling and indifferentism.

    While there I took a look at their Missal, which was in Coptic, Arabic, and English. In the Credo, they used the word ‘consubstantial’. Also interesting is that they used ‘pantocrator’ instead of ‘almighty’.

  11. SonofMonica says:

    In the Credo, they used the word ‘consubstantial’.

    When they got to the word consubstantial, did all the blue collar workers in the parish stop in silence, look at each other, and have their heads implode with confusion? I’ve been told that’s what would happen by a number of folks at various “witty” liturgical blogs and fishwraps.

  12. pablo says:

    The Smoke of Satan has entered the Church.

    How does it manifest itself today? What are the divinities the Holy Father speaks of?

    We have a darkness that is crowding our entire world: it is the darkness of the Jew, who desired to set Christ upon a cross. They conspired to put Him up there; they went to the political powers, they went to the religious homes, and the financial event; they paid off with thirty pieces of silver.

    Today we must look at those three same things: the money, the politics and the Faith.

    Just as the Faith brought prosperity to Society and to those that proclaimed their faith in Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ was proclaimed King, Our lady was lifted up, the Priesthood was lifted up the Church was lifted up. The Light of the World was lifted up, so the world went forward.

    Then came a Jewish desire to once again kill Christ. As they killed Him in His physical body, the wanted to also kill Him in His Mystical Body.

    How could this be accomplished?

    First they had to gain the financial power. They took over the financial power by establishing the Banking System, using our own funds to do their dirty work.

    After establishing their financial power, the Jews set off to establish Political Power. They established the Masonic Lodges. The Masonic Lodges are the political right hand of the Jew.

    Using this political power, they began to cast Christ down one nation at a time, lifting up these three terms: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. The Masonic creed.

    These are the principals upon which America was established; the Statue of Liberty, the goddess Colombia is its ‘holy mother.’

    This Masonic arm is the power that goes through the world in order to cast Christ down, it established a one world brotherhood, a one world religion, a one world economics, a one world politics.

    All of Americas Presidents who have come through colleges and universities, at which there were Masonic Lodges, were inculcated with satanic principals.

    Just as there is a Mystical Body of Christ, the Jew had to establish the anti-mystical body.

    As there are those who are believers, there is a State that proclaims “We do not believe”.

    The Jew formed the Russian Revolution and the Communists. A communist attitude that sets us not as God sets us, as persons, sources of personal responsibility, each one with an immortal soul.

    Instead, out of Communism comes a new philosophy that says you are nothing more than a species, expendable to the State.

    We need to become the victims that Christ asked us to be, ready to lay down our lives if it is necessary to proclaim that there is dignity in each and every human being.

    That dignity is God’s presence.

    Original Sin has flourished that we are now in the state that there is a battle going on.

    That battle is won by the Blood of the Lamb, and by consecrating ourselves to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. They are joined.

    We must do the battle that is most necessary to redeem our families by seeking forgiveness of the sins that have plagued us and have destroyed our families.

    Our Society needs to rejuvenate itself through the understanding of the need for prayer in union with God, through the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart.

    We are in this battle for eternity. Our immortal soul is eternal.

    If we give up, if we are not faithful, it is because we have entered into impurity. It is impurity. It is purity that gives us the strength to be faithful.

    The obstacles that face us in the world and in our social society remind us that we are called to be Christs. If that means we are to go to a cross as He did, let us go there bravely, knowing there is a purpose.


  13. Mike says:

    “First they had to gain the financial power. They took over the financial power by establishing the Banking System, using our own funds to do their dirty work.”

    This is too close to the Protocals of the Elders of Zion for my taste.

    “Our immortal soul is eternal”
    Wrong. Eternal means no beginning, no end. Our souls began to exist at the moment of conception.

    “If we give up, if we are not faithful, it is because we have entered into impurity.”

    While grave sins of impurity will get you into hell quickly, they are not the only sins. Sins against charity are worse.

  14. The Cobbler says:

    Dear Pablo,

    Christ died for your and my frakking sins. I’d like to know whence comes the notion that the particular people who actually killed him are of any relevance.

    The New Testament writers told us to stick to Christ’s Church rather than following the false prophets and anti-Christs that have either left it or been kicked out of it because they are not of it. I’d like to know whence comes the notion that we need to give a darn about identifying the worldly conspiracy of the anti-Christ and his servants, as if unmasking the enemy were the important thing and not sticking to following Christ ourselves.

    And when I say I’d like to know, I’m not being rhetorically barbed (or at least, it’s not my primary intention). I really want to know. As far as I can tell these ideas/attitudes just spontaneously generate in cyberspace or something (except it can’t be cyberspace, as I’m told they showed up before the nineties too), and I’m really baffled as to where they come from.

  15. howarda says:

    Dear Pablo,
    Your anti-semitic rant has no place on this blog. Please read Romans Chapter 11. St. Paul says in Romans 11 verse 1. “I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.”

    I’m a Jewish convert to the Church. I love my Lord Jesus Christ and Holy Mother Church. I also love my Jewish people. Your talking about MY family. Your comments are very personal. You also offend our Lord who happens to the Lion from the tribe of Judah. You also offend our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, who also are from the tribe of Judah. I’m sorry I had to respond this way because it’s slightly off topic. However, Pablo’s statement is TOXIC TO CHARITY.

  16. pablo says:

    Christ words to His Jewish Brethren:

    33) You serpents, generation of vipers, how will you flee from the judgment of hell? 34) Therefore behold I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them you will put to death and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city: 35) That upon you may come all the just blood that hath been shed upon the earth, from the blood of Abel the just, even unto the blood of
    Zacharias the son of Barachias, whom you killed between the temple and the altar…

    He said this to and of the Jews. Just before they had Him crucified.

    Did He include His mother, or Saint Joseph, or anyone else in these comments?

    Just as well, mine did not include the Holy Family or others.

    By the way, in this Last Discourse of Christ, it is one of the few times He speaks directly of Hell.

    His words, not mine.

    “…Wrong. Eternal means no beginning, no end. Our souls began to exist at the moment of conception…”

    “Your wife has been your wife since the beginning of time…” God places our souls in a body whenever it pleases Him, and He takes that soul out at His pleasure. Eternal: I don’t care what the word according to Webster’s or Funk and Wagnall’s and so on means. I used it in a Catholic context. Only God is truly eternal. Speaking in Catholic speak, is Hell not eternal? Will we not spend eternal time in Heaven?

    “…While grave sins of impurity will get you into hell quickly, they are not the only sins. Sins against charity are worse…”

    “If I am in a state of grace, may God keep me there. If I am not, may He put me there.”

    A soul in the state of grace is in a state of purity. When we choose any form of sin, we become impure; sin is legion, but we are either pure or impure.

    “…This is too close to the Protocals of the Elders of Zion for my taste…”

    Truth does not depend on your personal taste or virtue.

    “…I’m a Jewish convert to the Church…”

    (May God’s grace be with you; may He increase you.)

    Are you a member of the Tribe of Judah?
    As I understand from my catechism classes, Christ left the Jewish Levitical Priesthood and became a Priest in the Order of Melchizedek. Is the Melchizedek Priesthood Jewish?

    Why did He abandon the Jewish Priesthood?

    To expose problems for what they are is the path to resolving them.

    I lunched with a woman that was complaining of her four husbands that became drunks and druggies after they married her, and how, after leaving her, reformed their lives.
    She had no clue as to what the real problem is, and refused to acknowledge it even after I told her.

    Exposing the source of a problem leads to the possibility of recognizing it and making corrections.

    This is a good thing to do.

    Please do not call my pontifications rants just because they offend you.

    And don’t call me an anti-Semite. Jesus Christ, my Lord and my God was a Semite.


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