Inculturation: Not a morbid desire to distinguish


Cultures recognize God but they also recognize that God makes use of culture to speak to us.

In an interview with La Croix Africa, Father Léonard Santédi (pictured) explains the concept of inculturation.

La Croix Africa: What is inculturation?

Father Léonard Santédi: Inculturation is an encounter between life and the Christian message and culture, understood as a way of living in the world.

In this perspective, the Gospel message encounters a culture, enriches it and transforms it by enabling it to display all its harmonics.

However, in welcoming this message, a culture simultaneously enriches the heritage of the church.

Here, it is also important to note that the Gospel message is always transmitted via a culture. It is not something chemically pure.

On the contrary, it is lived out within a culture without limiting itself to that culture because it is a revealed message that transcends all cultures.

Therefore, the Gospel is always inculturated. The Gospel as we received it in Africa was influenced by Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek as well as Latin culture.

The West added its own vision before it arrived in Africa and Asia. This is why we are able to speak of African or Asian Christianity.

Jesus’ message is received on African soil. From this marriage, new fruits develop which enrich the church’s heritage.

This new Christianity is not a certified copy of Western Christianity. Continue reading

  • Father Léonard Santédi is a professor of theology, a former member of the International Theological Commission and rector of the Catholic University of the Congo in Kinshasa.
Additional reading

News category: Features.