Faith in the culture of the 21st century

In a society where Catholicism is no longer an influential cultural force, Christians are called to strive to inculturate the Christian faith in the world. 

December 9, 2021-Reading time: 2 minutes
Young person reading in public.

The culture of the 21st century seems to be subject to an inertia that is distancing it from Christianity. It certainly maintains, in countries with a Christian tradition such as Spain, links that are manifested in popular festivals and traditions. However, faith is not, as in other times, the driving force of cultural, intellectual or artistic creation. This is particularly worrisome if we recall the thought of St. Paul VI, which John Paul II also made his own: "A faith that does not become culture is a faith not fully embraced, not fully thought out, not faithfully lived.". Faith aspires to be incarnated in culture, to encourage a moral ecosystem that is also more humane.

As University of San Diego professor Steven D. Smith recently emphasized in his essay, "The University of San Diego is the only university in the U.S. to offer a new approach to the problem. Pagans and Christians in the CityThe dominant spiritual habitat in the West is a new immanentist paganism. The critical theory in its different versions (including the woke) proposes a Gnostic pseudo-religion, with new original sins, dogmas and cults, whose objective is the dismantling of an entire civilization. Can the Christian-rooted West survive this challenge, or is it doomed to die as Oswald Spengler predicted?

It is difficult to guess the future. Moreover, Christianity is not irretrievably linked to any civilization. However, it is no less true that in these early years of the 21st century, hopeful proposals have been made regarding the role of Christianity in a cultural renaissance of the West.

Rob Dreher in his Benedictine Option proposes a model that distances itself from the paganized world in order to preserve a strong identity in the face of the surrounding hostility, strong communities that live against the tide. Benedict XVI, for his part, took up again some time ago the idea of "creative minorities" made up of believers and non-believers who find in Christianity (the religion of the Lógos) a first-rate source of inspiration for revitalizing culture. Finally, in some American intellectual circles, another option inspired by the teachings of St. Josemaría has been formulated: The Escriva Option. In a writing dated 1934, this saint compared ordinary Christians to a "intravenous injection, put into society's bloodstream".a healing transformation from within. That is: a transformation that comes from a strong spiritual life and a deep and demanding intellectual formation.

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