Posted January 28, 2003
Book: The Multicultural Church: A New Landscape in U.S. Theologies
Editor: William Cenkner
Paulist Press, pp.202
Excerpt from Jacket:
A new landscape in U.S. theologies one marked by the rich heritages of Hispanic, African, and Asian cultures is emerging as the 20th century closes. The Multicultural Church provides an array of scholarly perspectives where the many dimensions of multiculturalism and their relationship to the church in America are explored. The scholars who have provided essays for this volume draw from their academic, pastoral and personal experience. In doing so, they show how ethnically diverse contexts affect the way the church engages in evangelization, education, liturgy, and pastoral care, highlighting how the worshiping community is enhanced and enriched by the many cultures within its embrace. Contributors to the Multicultural Church include the following:
A local church arises out of the encounter of divine and human freedom that generates its distinctive Christian experience . . . The various churches bring to one another not only their natural cultural gifts, but their special Christian experiences generated by the encounter between gospel and culture. The achievement of catholicity requires the symphonic harmony of all these special, local ecclesial experiences. Joseph A. Komanchak
In these last days of the twentieth century, we need to take responsibility for a theological mediation of the Christian faith which accurately, adequately, and authentically grasps and apprehends our differentiated experiences in this country . . .We need a theology that analyzes our national culture and is willing to struggle with our conflictual and contradictory experiences, social locations, and intellectual positions. M. Shawn Copeland
It seems to me that the best future open to the North American Catholic Church is eventual cultural and religious mestizaje. In the meantime, as we walk toward that new ecclesial model, we have to recognize the immediate need for respect and promotion of cultural diversity as it exists in real life, not as a problem that needs solution but as a gift from God that awaits grateful welcoming, even in professional theology. Orlando O. Espin
A large number of contextual theologians insist that the primary agent of contextual theology is the local community of believers, in particular the common people . . . The role of experts and professional theologians is not thereby abolished but significantly reduced; it consists mainly in listening, interpreting, and giving voice to the experience and reflection of the community and relating it to those of other communities, past and present. Peter C. Phan
Excerpt from Book:
Our present multicultural predicament raises three challenges to those of us in the Catholic Church. . .
We need to take responsibility for a theological mediation of the Christian faith which accurately, adequately, and authentically grasps and apprehends our differentiated experiences in this country. Our church and our people need a serious, theoretically rigorous, historically grounded theology capable of meeting the level of human suffering, disregard, disdain, and human abuse in this country. We need a theology that analyzes our national culture and is willing to struggle with our conflictual and contradictory experiences, social locations, and intellectual positions. . . .
The second challenge flows from the first: it is a moral challenge. Put simply, the surviving native peoples, blacks, Latinos, Koreans, Jews need a Celtic, Anglo, European-American theologian to do for the United States what Johann Baptist Metz did for Germany. We need some intelligent, self-sacrificing, generous, human and moral man or woman to analyze critically and thoughtfully for his and her community, the implications, dynamics, structures, customs, beliefs and practices of white racist supremacy as these arise from within racially constructed, ethnically erased white communities and as they engage children, women, and men of different racial, linguistic, ethnic-cultural heritages. We theologians must assume responsibility for our complicity in sustaining past oppressive social orders through our silence.
The third challenge flows from the first and second, and it is an existential challenge. Celtic, Anglo, European-American theologians must identify their respective social locations. This neglect leaves the best of male theologians open to the charge of positing a kind of universal viewpoint and cripples the work of the best of our female theologians because racial self-critique and analysis do not figure in their discussion.