Friday, April 27, 2012

Inculturation


Such is the term used by the church when reference is made to the integration of the Christian faith into the culture itself of a people – in the different parts of the world, irrespective of their color and race. In other words: Christ came. He preached the good news of salvation. Christ established the Church. People were converted to the Christian Faith. Christ died, resurrected and ascended into heaven. But the Church continued and still continues to teach and bring the faith to the four concerns of the globe – the Philippines well included. And the faith became a part of the Filipino culture. This in so many words, is the “Inculturation” of the Faith, the focal element of which is belief in God.

Once belief in God becomes nothing less than a cultural heritage of a people, there comes to fore certain noticeable realities among them, some of which are the following: Their belief in and reverence of God become as matter of course – although expressed in different ways and lived through different means. But just the same, faith in the Divine and respect for his Name developed as a way of life – as a part of living. Nevertheless, while observance of the teachings and the commandments of God are acknowledged, such are neither necessarily observed nor accordingly obeyed. This is a living reality even in Christian Philippines.

So it is that the word “Inculturation” – which is a term officially included in the Church language and formally promoted in the evangelization word of the Church the world over –means just that, viz., the faith “in” the “culture” of a people. For the faith to be inserted in the culture of a people, for faith to be a part of their culture, fir faith to become a cultural factor of their individual and social life – this is “inculturation” in its plain reality and simple understanding.

Again: Upon their Baptism, with their subsequent Confirmation, when thereafter receiving Holy Communion, with the reception of Penance, at their eventual Wedding up to the time of their Anointing on the occasion of serious illnesses, people are thus accompanied by their faith which then becomes a part of their heritage and which in turn brings about the inculturation of the Christian faith.

It is a given that long before Christianity reached the Philippines, the Filipinos were already religious in their own way. This explains the phenomena of the “anito,” “charms” and other items of superstition, all of which connote belief in a Supreme Being or God. The truth of the matter is that to this writing, the so-called “anting-anting” for any and all conceivable purposes, usually carry an imprint of the cross, the representation of the Holy Trinity, an image of this and that Saint – all of which imply the belief in God for their makers and buyers alike.

Therefore, the finding that “Pinoys biggest believers in God,” is tenable because it is true.