top of page

 Featured Article

The Gospel and the Culture of Life


Steven Meyer, S.T.D.

Assistant Professor of Theology  University of St. Thomas, School of Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary

Bioethics in Law & Culture

Spring  2019     vol. 2  issue  2

The mystery of the Incarnation stands at the center of history and gives an interpretive key to the meaning of what John Paul II has famously called a “culture of life.” The meaning of the culture of death, for him, is rooted in human sin and the rejection of God. This essay begins with reflections on the conception of Jesus Christ in connection to the Holy Family and offers some theological anthropology remarks on sin and death. Some principles of human culture in the thought of John Paul II are considered as well as the importance of the mediation of culture, symbols and the church in regards to an understanding of the Gospel of Life.  


I know what a culture of life is, provided you don’t ask me. The phrase a “culture of life” is practically ubiquitous for just about everything involved in the work of pro-life groups including apostolates such as the Society of St. Sebastian.[i] The “culture of death,” on the other hand, seems to have few voluntary participants, but groups like Planned Parenthood are consistently named as leading the way for it.[ii] We can find the famous clash of cultures, without any reference to Samuel J. Huntington, in the writings of St. John Paul II’s charter pro-life encyclical, “The Gospel of Life” often referred to as Evangelium vitae. A culture of life is not an abstract or a specific social program. I propose that a “culture of life” is not new with John Paul II, but a new term for a perennial activity with a different stress. Namely, that it is perennially the totality of Christian living in the Spirit. Because it is living, it seeks to impart the core values of the Gospel into the culture where it is found. In our culture the value of vulnerable and defenseless humanity is at stake. The culture of life seeks to inform society from principles consistent with the Gospel and recourses to natural law, the Constitution and other foundational American documents. The “culture of death” is ancient too. It began in a garden with the first humans. It is also a new term for an old thing: a participation in sin and a rejection of God. Where these two cultures clash is in our very hearts. Where humans exist they create culture with specific laws that externalize our hearts.

I joke that I can’t articulate what a culture of life is because I propose it is bound up in mystery. It is a mystery because it is inseparable from Christ who is the resurrection and life itself. It is beyond writing an essay—or 1,000 essays.  As far as I can tell categories regarding human action offered to us by the late St. John Paul II, and working for a culture of life is part of this, defy simplistic reductionism.[iii] In this particular piece, I would like to offer some theological reflections for a multidisciplinary readership (law, education, medical, political, activism, theology, and more) on the culture of life as a mystery related to the Incarnation of Christ.[iv] I will succinctly relate four topics to a culture of life: a Christological reflection on Mary and Joseph in the Gospel vis-à-vis the unborn life of Jesus, sin and the culture of death, John Paul II as a theologian of culture, and some observations on mediation through apostolic dialogue, symbol, and inculturation.


The Gospel and the culture of life


John Paul II deliberately chose March 25 for the publication of Evangelium vitae. Why? This day the Church celebrates and meditates on the Mystery of the Incarnation in the Solemnity of the Annunciation. The Good News or Gospel begins with life, literally, unborn human life. “You shall conceive and bear a son and give him the name Jesus.” (Lk 1: 31) If faith is a remembrance of the future,[v] then a reflection on our sacred history discloses that a culture of life comes through Jesus in “the fullness of time” in the context of the family. We know this through apostolic or ecclesial mediation. My first observation is this: a culture of life is meaningfully disclosed prior to the birth of Jesus in the Gospel. The Gospel accounts are continuations of the culture of life given first through the covenant with Israel. They show the formation of a new people in a definitive covenant with the Son. This new covenant is initially revealed in the “yes” to life conceived of within Mary (cf. Lk 1:38).[vi] St. Paul speaks of this new event in the following way: “When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son born of a woman…” (Gal 4:4) At a moment of utmost kairos (time as meaningful) God in the slipstream of chronos (clock counting time) and dwelt among us. He comes to us as one of us, except in sin of which he is without. The mystery of the Incarnation is this: the pre-existent Logos, the creator of Adam who had yet to be born, now unites himself with all humanity through the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary (cf. Lk 1:26-38). St. Thomas speaks of this event as exceeding our reason and as a marvelous divine action in human history.

St. Luke, who accounts for the Annunciation of the Angel to and consent of Mary, quickly moves the narrative to Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth. Here we encounter the unborn St. John the Baptist leaping for joy in the presence of his Savior. Unlike Eve who hides in shame, Mary goes to visit others. She “proclaims the greatness of the Lord” (Lk 1:46) and rejoices in God her Savior. (cf. Lk 1:47) The defense and witness in favor of life is joyful and communal. It begins in wonder and awe at God who gifts life finding similar expression in the Psalms: “I give you thanks that I am fearfully, wonderfully made; wonderful are your works. You know me through and through (Ps 139:14).”[vii] The Gospel also begins in St. Matthew who tells of St. Joseph’s righteousness actions at this revelation of the unborn life he discovers in Mary. “He seeks the path that brings law and love into a unity.”[viii] He protects unborn life when it is vulnerable. He guards the Redeemer. A culture of life has something to do with coming into act from potency through the family where there is protection for life, openness to life, joy, wonder, charity, right action, and community. All of this is gifted by the Holy Spirit whose other title is the Lord and “Giver of Life.” A culture of life is Divinely oriented, and to be working for one, we must remember our faith.

A culture of life, at its deepest level, is in some way bound up with a person. Jesus claims to be “the way, and the truth, and the life.” (Jn 14:6) All life comes mysteriously through communion with “The Word of Life” (1 Jn 1:1) who “…unites himself in some way with the entire reality of man.”[ix] The Gospel indicates that the very words and actions of Christ give life. For example, the forgiving of sins, the multiplication of food, the casting out of demons, the healing of bodies, and ultimately the sacrifice of his own body. His words are “the words of eternal life.” (Jn 6:68) After raising Lazarus from the dead he tells Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whoever is alive and believes in me will never die”. (Jn 11:25-26)[x] He indicates his mission when he proclaims, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (Jn 10:10).[xi] He offers his body and blood to his followers, a point where many had their faith shaken, through which is “life eternal.” (Jn 6:54) A culture of life is inseparable from the source and redeemer of life. All traits of it are in some way bound up in Him. Furthermore God reveals that humanity, all since Adam, is made in His image (cf. Gen 1:26-7; Ps 8:6; Sir 17:3). He is the firstborn of all creation, the Son who“…was life, and the life was the light of men.” (Jn 1:4).

Sin and the culture of death


Another way to approach the meaning of a culture of life is to examine some traits in a culture of death. I have given four previous Sebastian’s Point reflections on a culture of death following the description of it by John Paul II as: a misunderstanding and devaluing of human personhood, freedom as disassociated from truth, an “eclipse” of God from daily living, and a darkened sense of conscience that mistakes evil as something good.[xii] I will not repeat those reflections here but to say that promoting a culture of life would be to educate and to assist others in the truth through charity regarding these four areas. My angle this time is to point out the deepest root of the culture of death, sin and the turning away from God. The Gospel indicates in the message of the angel to Mary that the name “Jesus” indicates his mission, he “will save his people from their sins.” (Mt. 1:21) The culture of death on one level is linked to the evils of backing bad philosophy applied to law and campaigning for the triumph of individual rights over the right to life for the innocent. These ills are rooted in the sin of Adam which darkens the mind, makes God the enemy, and creates enmity between persons. One of the primary effects of Adam’s sin is death into the fabric of human nature and history. “Just as through one man sin entered the world and with sin death…” (Rom 5:12) In Evangelium vitae St. John Paul uses the word death 137 times beginning with Adam and giving a meditation on the murder of Abel by Cain.[xiii] As children of Adam, all of us through participating in sin contribute to a culture of death. Sin results in shame, fear, and hiding from God.

The culture of death is being associated with what St. Paul calls living in the flesh. “The flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh;…It is obvious what proceeds from the flesh: lewd conduct, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hostilities, bickering, jealously, outbursts of rage, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” (Gal 5:17, 19-21) It “…leers at us daily: pornography and the degradation of sexuality throughout the media and internet, substance abuse and violence, broken families, children abused and abducted; most of all we see the growth of the abortion industry as it gobbles up lives, money, and the very future of our country.”[xiv]

As a sign of the times, Evangeium vitae gives a prophetic assessment on the progress of a culture of death in light of the sexual revolution: loss of chastity, the breakdown of the family, philosophical skepticism and moral relativism now reaching mass proportions,[xv] and the widespread rejection of Church teachings on contraception to the openness for abortion.[xvi] Followers of the Society of St. Sebastian will find that while the news stories are recent, they reflect the prophetic nature of Evangelium vitae and the consequences of Humanae vitae: the misuse and discarding of human embryos, the ‘virtuous’ and emotional proposals for eugenic abortions and infanticides, and the ‘virtuous’ arguments to eliminate the incurably ill and handicapped.[xvii] Demographics, without naming Malthus, and utilitarian economics without naming Bentham are marshaled by “experts” to justify the elimination and prevention of life.[xviii] To paraphrase Joseph Sobran, advocates for the sexual revolution deny these links to a culture of death like tobacco companies denied the link between cigarettes and cancer.

 John Paul’s use of the symbolic images of a culture of life and a culture of death are new expressions creatively applied to the modern war against life and in its various tentacles. Just as a culture of death is life in the flesh, a culture of life has the traits of living in the spirit. As Paul tells us, “The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patient endurance, kindness, generosity, faith, mildness, and chastity.” (Gal 5:22-23) How often is chastity the antidote to the ills of a culture of death? Notice how those who work tirelessly for a culture of life display these spiritual attributes? Discovered in 1873, there is an ancient Christian manual called the Didache. Written sometime in the late first or early second century (around the time of the Gospel according to John) begins, “There are two ways, one of life and one of death; and between the two ways there is a great difference.”[xix] It then goes on to advocate chastity and directly name and condemn abortion and infanticide.

John Paul II as a theologian of culture


To better appreciate a culture of life and death, it is important to note three features of John Paul II’s theology of culture of which he formed prior to his election as pope. These are the inseparability of man and culture; humans are more valuable than things and may never be used as means; culture should allow for human flourishing both physically and spiritually.[xx] First, man and culture cannot be separated and exist in a type of dialectical relationship. Humans exist within a culture and a culture is shaped and formed where humans exist. In his United Nations address he stated, that the essential nature of culture is that it constitutes human life and existence.[xxi]  Avery Cardinal Dulles, who considered John Paul II a “theologian of culture” summarizes one John Paul’s addresses in the following way: “As a result of culture man is to a greater degree. Culture is of man, since no other being has culture; it is from man, since man creates it; and it is for man, since its prime purpose is to develop man as man.”[xxii]

In this dialectic John Paul II gives a priority to the importance of the human being as the subject and actor who shapes culture. Citing Immanuel Kant that “the person is always an end and never a means of your action,” he finds agreement in Gaudium et spes that humans are “the one creature on earth that God willed for itself.” [xxiii] In regards to human work and action, the intransitive is more important than the transitive. This means, “Human beings are more important for what they are than for what they have… Culture…is constituted through human praxis to the extent that through it people become more human, and not merely acquire more means.”[xxiv] Human work consists in transitive activity that produces outcomes (like this paper) or other things that constitute culture. The purpose of transitive action is to make the world a better place.[xxv] There is also the intransitive aspect to work. The intransitive consists in what remains in the person after the transitive activity is completed. Our activity shapes who we are. Since persons are more important than things, the intransitive aspect is more important than the transitive. Against communist materialism and capitalist consumerism, persons are more than pieces of the state, economic conditions, consumerist tendencies, or societal conditions.[xxvi] A culture of life leads to the betterment of humanity. A culture of death allows for laws and behavior that encourage or promote sin.


Another principle for understanding culture is the connection, or in most cases the disconnection, between a theopocentric (God centered) and anthropocentric (man centered) orientation. A culture of life would leave room for man’s transcendent nature to be in communion with the Divine. A culture of death is formed when “…all reference to God has been removed,” and this leads to “…the meaning of everything else becomes profoundly distorted.”[xxvii] For intellectuals such as Feurbach, Marx and Nietzsche, ‘to be himself, one must discard God.’ This idea, says John Paul II, repeats the same lie as the serpent in the garden.[xxviii] To live as if God does not exist has something to do with leading to the type of legislation allowing for the destruction of innocent life on a massive scale. “The crisis of the twentieth century” notes George Weigel, “which gave birth to totalitarianism in its sundry forms, has been in the first instance a crisis of culture: a crisis in the order of ideas and morals.”[xxix] John Paul II understood that when the sense of God is lost, so too are the ties between freedom and truth resulting in and lowed mental horizons on the dignity of the human person including the weak, defenseless, and vulnerable. Through fidelity to the Word of God, can human progress truly take place because it considers the mystery of his transcendent nature. 


Hugo Grotius in an attempt to “bracket faith” proposed that one, presumably a Christian, could be a fair minded and objective person in society and could live as if God does not exist. Grotius did not personally believe this, but he attempted to establish the principles of natural law in the human heart as forming a normative notion for moral behavior in society independent of God’s revelation.[xxx] Cardinal Ratzinger proposed that we should bring back the challenge of Blaise Pascal to his secular and non-religious friends. Live as if God did exist, even if you don’t believe in religion.[xxxi] To foster a culture of life we must live as if God does exist. Our work is always in reference to the Lord of Life be it through: personal witness, education, volunteer work, social activities, health care professions, or political commitment.[xxxii] All of this means that a culture of life, like Mary’s joyful visitation, is evangelical. It promotes the dignity of all persons, places persons as ends in themselves and not means, and promotes the transcendent dimension of human nature.

The culture of life incarnates the Gospel


The culture of life comes to us ecclesially mediated through symbols in order to transform the larger human culture for life. A culture of life exists where the Gospel exists since the Gospel is the source of life. Historically the Gospel is mediated through culture and connection to the apostles. This apostolic connection I will refer to as ecclesial mediation. Since the Gospel concerns both the words and actions of Jesus it is more helpful to understand that it (the Gospel) comes to us through symbols rather than limiting it to only being propositional speech. Symbols are dynamic, not static. They consist of both words and actions. They lie at the heart of any culture. A classic modern definition for culture comes from Clifford Geertz who says a culture “…denotes an historically transmitted pattern of meanings embodied in symbols, a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which men communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about and attitudes toward life.”[xxxiii]

Human “culture is more expansive than the Christian Church as visible in this world for it encompasses all issues of civil, social, artistic, literary, and customary acts and signs that are not directly contained in the visible Church.”[xxxiv] At the same time God is not reducible to a human culture. The incompatibility of these two things is where I think the mystery of the Incarnation is quite a helpful meditation point for understanding the culture of life. God, the uncontainable, is mediated to the world through the humanity of Christ. The humanity of Christ is mediated through a human culture. The Incarnation takes place in the historical culture of Israel and through the family. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were Israelites. They inhabited a land, spoke a language, shared religious symbols, and passed on practices and stories.


St. Paul and the other apostles bring the Gospel of life in the power of the Holy Spirit to places outside of Israel where churches are founded. They impart their personal knowing of Christ and adapt it to meet the needs of the various cultures to which they are sent. For example, Paul brings the Gospel of Christ to the Gentiles through dialogue. Dialogue is not relativism in conversation. It is more akin to what we find in the dialogues of Plato where truth is sought. As such I find “dialogue” to be a categorical term for how faith is imparted through witness and words in truth. A culture of life is one that promotes truth. Through apostolic dialogue with St. Paul, the gentiles either did or did not receive the Gospel for truth can always be rejected. Where they did found Churches and worked fastidiously with them in adapting the Gospel to their culture without losing the meaning of the Gospel. This adaptation came with some controversy as is depicted in a famous scene in Acts of the Apostles where the question over restrictions on eating pork and being circumcised is determined to not be necessary for all the Gentile converts to Christ. A culture of life, “does not spring spontaneously from any cultural soil; it has always been transmitted by means of an apostolic dialogue which inevitably becomes part of a certain dialogue of cultures.”[xxxv] This dialogue is an ongoing and charitable insistence on imparting the symbols (for example, doctrinal assertions on life) of faith into the larger culture.

Theologians since Vatican II often write of missionary activity, both historical and ongoing, under the umbrella category of inculturation or the dynamic process within the history of evangelization in how the Gospel promotes a culture of life through slowly transforming natural human cultures with supernatural faith. Today, those who promote a culture of life already understand this, they continue the work of St. Paul, they understand that all their actions are missionary words and actions. They are all bound up in the work of the Holy Spirit however mysteriously. John Paul II refers to inculturation as “incarnating” the Gospel into a culture. It is akin to the Annunciation all over again, but through missionary or evangelical activities, effective only the power of the Holy Spirit.

Ecclesial mediation becomes scandalously obscured when members of the Church become the source of moral scandals. The rise of modern atheism, according to Gaudium et spes, has its roots in the divisions between Christians and the historical and ongoing scandals of Christians. Without faith it is difficult if not impossible to distinguish between the Church and the members of the Church who are fallen and produce and give rise to scandals. When John Paul II apologized for the Crusades, oppression of women, anti-Semitism, and Galileo, he did not apologize for the Church but for “the sons and daughters of the Church.” The Church is Holy, albeit not perfectly in this world. When we commit mortal sin we remove ourselves from the Church, when we sin at all we become less a part of the Body of Christ, the Pauline definition for the Church. The culture of death can be rooted within our own hearts and give rise to societal scandals which have been ongoing since the beginning. A culture of life is a full commitment to living out faith.  

Evangelization as inculturation is something ongoing and never perfectly completed in this world. It involves assimilation or authentic transformation of a culture from within. It is not merely attaching Christian values to a culture that rejects Christ and his Word. It is not a compromise that dilutes the core message and values of the Gospel. The culture and the persons within it are authentically transformed, converted as it were, to the Gospel. Faith cannot be lived apart from culture. “The synthesis between culture and faith, is not just a demand of culture, but also of faith…A faith that does not become culture is a faith that has not been fully received, not thoroughly thought through, not faithfully lived out.”[xxxvi] On the other hand, “A culture that has been impregnated with the gospel, sincerely received in faith, becomes capable of expressing and living out the truth of proclaiming the revealed mystery.”[xxxvii]



I will conclude with claiming that our work in promoting a culture of life is really a participation in a great drama of the ongoing battle in defense of Christ’s own body so silently conceived by Mary and guarded by Joseph. A culture of life has something to do with sanctifying the world and all that it contains. In our time it is has been focused on promoting laws that safe-guard human life and working to rescind laws that destroy innocent life. In fact, the family is the heurmenutic key. I believe Evangelium vitae (1995) to be a prophetic encyclical similar in importance to Rerum Novarum (1891) of Leo XIII. Time will tell. At this point I will point out that on the one hundredth anniversary of Rerum Novarum St. John Paul first writes of a culture of life and death in Centesimus annus (1991). Here he states, “In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life…the sanctuary of life”.[xxxviii]

As a community of persons the family forms a culture that serves as the basic cell of society.[xxxix] The family forms the fundamental humanity of persons through manners, religion, language, customs, history, and so much more. The family is a micro-culture of life when humanity flourishes. As a cell of the larger society, say a local or national culture, the safety and health of the family can ripple out to build a culture of life. When society attacks the family, it is really an attack against itself.[xl]  With marriage, and communion with apostolic faith, the family becomes a domestic church.[xli] Moving in the reverse direction, however, the ills of the larger society can cause an illness in the family. All too often members in a family decay in their relationships leading to isolation, and personal misunderstandings of each person’s strengths and weaknesses. In my opinion the culture of life or the culture of death take root and grow within the family and its relationships depending on the work of the inculturation of the Gospel in the hearts of its members. John Paul recognizes that normally the family is by design the environment of love. It should be the place where the theocentric connections are made in prayer. He is horrified that in modern times it can be the place of anti-love and the destruction of life.

Consciously aware of it or not, we are engaged here on earth in the cosmic scene of the woman with child who is attacked by the dragon sweeping away one third of the stars. (cf. Rev 12) The modern myth is to reduce dragons to only being green, scaly, large, old, and sentient reptiles. As such this is a smoke screen. The dragon does exist, we simply need to re-learn how to see it as the serpent of the garden from whence lies and death are closely associated. As G.K. Chesterton says of dragons, “St. George had not to consider any obvious odds or proportions in the scale of things, but only the original secret of their design.”[xlii]


John Paul II  |  The Gospel of Life |  Evangelium vitae | culture of life | culture of death | theology of culture



[i] Groups such as the Washington, DC thinktank “Culture of Life,” was created in 1997 and blessed by John Paul II. last accessed 4 April 2019.


[ii] For example, see this Family Research Council last accessed 8 April 2019.


[iii] See John Grabowski, “The Luminous Excess of the Acting Person: Assessing the Impact of Pope John Paul II on American Catholic Moral Theology,” Journal of Moral Theology, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2012): 116-147.


[iv] My essay is not trying to be original, but I hope it adds to a growing number of writings on a culture of life and Evangelium vitae. If the culture of life is what I think it to be, there should be thousands of essays on it each unique to its author.


[v] Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei (2013) article 9.


[vi] cf. John Paul II, Evangelium vitae (1995) article 33;


[vii] Evangelium vitae article 84.


[viii] Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives (New York: Crow Publishing Group, 2012) p. 41.


[ix] John Paul II, Dominum et vivificantem (1986), article 50.


[x] cf. Evangelium vitae article 29


[xi] Ibid., 29


[xii] See Steven J. Meyer, “The Culture of Death and the Person” 14 June 2018 Society of St. Sebastian Sebastian’s Point (last accessed March 1, 2019); Ibid., “Evangelium vitae and the Truth About Freedom” 20 September 2018 Society of St. Sebastian Sebastian’s Point (last accessed March 1, 2019); Ibid., “The Eclipse of God and the Culture of Death” 12 December 2018 Society of St. Sebastian Sebastian’s Point (last accessed March 1, 2019); Ibid., “The Darkening of Conscience” 27 March 2019 Society of St. Sebastian Sebastian’s Point! (last accessed April 3, 2019).


[xiii] Cf., Evangelium vitae articles, 7-10


[xiv] John Hittinger, “Three Masks of the Culture of Death,” edited by Roland Millare, 2013 in Human Life International


[xv] Evangelium vitae, cf. 11, 12.


[xvi] Evangelium vitae, 13.


[xvii] Ibid., 14-15.


[xviii] Ibid., 16.


[xix] Early Christian Fathers edited by Cyril C. Richardson, (New York: Touchstone, 1996) p. 171. Scholars do not fully agree (they never really do) on its exact date of publication, but it may be as early as 70-90 AD or some time in the next century.


[xx] It is Avery Cardinal Dulles who calls John Paul II a “theologian of culture.” See Avery Cardinal Dulles, The Splendor of Faith: The Theological Vision of Pope John Paul II  (New York: Herder & Herder 2003) chapter 9 “Theology and Culture” which re-prints his article “John Paul II as a Theologian of Culture,” Logos 1 (Summer 1997): 19-33. For an overview to John Paul’s theocentric vision of culture see Steven J. Meyer, “A Theocentric Vision of Culture in John Paul II” Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies Vol. XXIX No. ½ (2017): 71-90; For a helpful overview of culture and evangelization in John Paul, see R. Jared Staudt, “Culture in the Magisterium of Pope John Paul II: Evangelization Through Dialogue and the Renewal of Society”, Claritas: Journal of Dialogue and Culture 2014 3 (1): 52-65.; Creed and Culture: Jesuit Studies of Pope John Paul II edited by Joseph W. Koterski, S.J., and John J. Conley, S.J. (Philadelphia: St. Joseph’s University Press, 2009)


[xxi] Cf. The Church and Culture Since Vatican II. Edited by Joseph Gremillion, (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1985) p. 189.


[xxii] Avery Dulles, The Splendor of Faith (2003), p. 155.


[xxiii] Karol Wojtlya, “The Problem of the Constitution of Culture Through Human Praxis” at page 267 in Person and Community: Selected Essays, edited by OSM Theresa Sandok, 4 263-75 (New York: Peter Lang, 1993) at page 267.


[xxiv] Wojtlya, Ibid., p. 268


[xxv] Dulles,  p.173.


[xxvi] Cf. Dulles, pp. 173-4


[xxvii] Evangelium vitae article 22


[xxviii] John Paul II, General Audience November 12, 1986 in Jesus Son and Savior: A Catechesis on the Creed (Boston: Pauline Books and Media, 1996), cf. pp. 66-72.


[xxix] George Weigel, “John Paul II and the Priority of Culture,” First Things no. 80 (1998): 19-25; quoted from


[xxx] Cf. Livio Melina, “The Eclipse of the Sense of God and Man” Communio International Catholic Review Spring 2007 volume XXXIV, Number 1 pp. 100-116.


[xxxi] Cf. Joseph Ratzinger, lecture at the School of Catholic Culture in Santa Croce, Bassano in Christianity and the Crisis of Culture esp. pp. 107-116.


[xxxii] cf. Evangelium vitae, 87-90.


[xxxiii] Clifford L. Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures (London: Hutchinson, 1973), p. 89.


[xxxiv] Avery Dulles, The Reshaping of Catholicism p. 38. (find the page)  His essay originally appeared in the Proceedings of the C.T.S.A. 39 (1984): 1-12, titled “The Emerging World Church: A Theological Reflection.” In Reshaping he titled it “The Emerging World Church and the Pluralism of Cultures.”


[xxxv] John Paul II, Crossing the threshold of hope, 53.


[xxxvi] Dulles (2003), p.162.


[xxxvii] Dulles, (2003), p. 161.


[xxxviii] Centesiumus annus aricle 39.


[xxxix]  See Familiaris consortio 18; Christifideles Laici 40;


[xl] See Christifideles Laici articles 40 and 43.


[xli] John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio article 21.


[xlii] G.K. Chesteron, Orthodoxy  (New York: Image Books, 1990), p. 79.

bottom of page