Skip to content

Healing the Rift Between Faith and Culture (Part 1 of 2)

Interview With Jaime Antúnez, Editor of Humanitas

ROME, OCT. 12, 2005 (Zenit) - For 10 years the Chile-based Catholic review Humanitas has been promoting dialogue between faith and culture.

For the 10th anniversary of the publication, we interviewed its editor, Jaime Antúnez Aldunate.

Antúnez holds a doctorate in philosophy. He is a member of the Academy of Social, Political and Moral Sciences of the Institute of Chile.

Part 2 of this interview appears Thursday.

Q: From your experience over these years, do you think it is possible to overcome the "divorce" between faith and culture?

Antúnez: With the grace of God, we cannot deny that this and much more is perfectly possible.

By overcoming that "divorce," it might be possible to advance decidedly toward a situation -- as has been witnessed so many times in so many places over 2,000 years of Christianity -- in which faith in Christ becomes the keystone of culture.

The profound relationship between faith and culture is something, moreover, which is appreciated in the genesis and development of all the greatest and oldest civilizations.

Q: But in the intensely secularist atmosphere that prevails in our time, where in many countries characterized by a Christian past, including the Ibero-American, political-cultural actions are being taken of an aggressive secularist bias, does this not seem to be far removed from reality?

Antúnez: In the same measure in which the prevailing atmosphere is difficult and adverse, there are people and nuclei of Christians that are becoming aware of the problem and acting as a consequence.

The existence and development of a culture is something that is not limited and that is far beyond the spectacle, the event or the theater world, which greatly catch the attention of the media in our time. It is an error to confuse this plane with what philosophy properly calls culture.

Sufficiently removed from all this, the real traces of what is culture are found in an horizon that transcends us and that in that same sense invites us to be genuinely free.

It was said magnificently by John Paul II in his address to the U.N. General Assembly in 1995: Every culture is an effort to reflect on the mystery of the world and, in particular, of man: It is a way of manifesting the transcendent dimension of human life. The heart of every culture is constituted by its approach to the greatest of all mysteries: the mystery of God.

Q: In what way do you say that culture invites us to be free? Is there not, perhaps, in the aforementioned an ideological conditioning?

Antúnez: Very much the contrary. An ideology, in the modern sense of the word, is something different from faith, even if it tends to corner the same sociological functions.

Ideology is a work of men, a mechanism by which the political will tries consciously to shape social tradition to his ends.

But faith looks beyond the world of man and his works. It leads man to a higher and more universal degree of reality than the temporal and finite world to which the state and economic order belong.

And for this very reason, it introduces in human life an element of spiritual freedom that can have a creative and transforming influence both on the interior life of each person as well as on the social culture of men and their historic destiny.

Q: How does this occur in a predominantly liberal society, as the one that prevails today virtually throughout the whole world?

Antúnez: A culture is a way of organized life which is supported by a common tradition and animated by a common environment. In this connection, it is like the form of society.

The stronger a culture is -- exactly as we see it in Renaissance art, for example, and in so many manifestations through time -- such culture forms and transforms more completely the varied human context in which it is incarnated. A society without culture is an information society.

I think there is an inherent factor in the liberal societies in which we live today which we have an obligation to repair. It is the fact that these societies do not offer a concrete meaning to life, for example, a justification of suffering and of people's fears.

Neither do these societies have a plan for the future, capable of mobilizing consciences; they leave the individual exclusively at the mercy of his own concepts, in terms of private personal satisfaction.

This situation makes us reflect, as we can plainly see that the great fruits of culture and of civilization have always rested on the strength of that spiritual and religious dimension of reality, and that in its bankruptcy we also find the origin of the decadence and even of the great tragedies that history shows us.

Borrowing a word from that great British thinker of culture and history that was Christopher Dawson, one could say that when the mystical and prophetic dimension of a culture declines, its very religion also "becomes secular, is absorbed in the cultural tradition to such a point that it identifies with it, and finally it becomes only a way of social activity and perhaps even a slave or accomplice of the powers of this world." Much of this is also happening in the present day.

[Thursday: Recovering the unity of culture]

Contact

Catholic Online
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

Faith, Culture, Autunez, Humanitas, Chile

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.