Inculturation through the dialogue of the Church and the cultures of the world

Co-organized by: the Faculty of Theology and Higher Theological Seminary in Kalisz

22-23 October 2019

On October 22-23, 2019, due to the announcement by Pope Francis of the Extraordinary Month of the Mission, the international scientific conference was held at the Theological Seminary of the Kalisz Diocese. The conference was entitled: "Inculturation through dialogue between the Church and the cultures of the world". The organizer of the conference was the Faculty of Theology at the University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznań and the Theological Seminary in Kalisz. The person responsible for the preparation of the conference was professor Dariusz Kwiatkowski from the Faculty of Theology of the University of Adam Mickiewicz. In the meeting participated well-prepared scientists from Poland, Italy, Spain, Bolivia, Serbia and Uganda. The aim of this conference was to reflect on the concept of inculturation in various dimensions of the life of the Church.

The conference was opened by the rector of the Theological Seminary in Kalisz, Marcin Załężny, who welcomed all the guests and gave a short speech.

The first speaker was Tony Makayu Sembatya (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), who showed the influence and importance of the French and English mission for the Catholic faith in Uganda and the entire continent. He illustrated the special role of a certain religious and cultural background, which was an excellent ground for the adoption of Christianity. The important factors influencing the spread of Catholic Christianity were the establishment of the Church hierarchy and evangelization activities. A special role was played by the martyrdom of Ugandan missionaries, thanks to which Africa has received its own model of holiness.

The speaker Jakub Bogacki (Faculty of Theology of Adam Mickiewicz University) began his lecture on sacred art and music in the Syro-Malabar Church by explaining the source of its separation from among the branches of the Eastern Church in Syria. He pointed out the limited knowledge and research within this field in the environment of the Western Church about what the Syrian liturgy is. The author emphasized that the Second Vatican Council deeply encouraged to seek and discover the liturgy of the East.

The topic "Religious inculturality in Serbia" presented by Nicola Dzavric (University of Belgrade, Faculty of Orthodox Theology) was a presentation of the history of the Church in Serbia. In his speech, the author presented Churches of different rank, which are the most significant and recognizable icons of the Catholic Church in this country. The author also provided a brief administrative outline according to which Serbia is divided into four dioceses. Then he discussed the organization of the Muslim community and the ethnic structure of Serbia.

The speech entitled: "Inculturation in the writings of saint Justin Martyr” was written by Ruzica Milic (University of Belgrade, Faculty of Orthodox Theology). The speaker discussed the biography of saint Justin Martyr, in which she emphasized the entire education of the saint, especially his philosophical preparation. She described the concept of the inculturation in the writings of saint Justin. Finally, the author stated that dialogue is the method that serves the proclamation of Christ and the action of inculturation.

Next one was the presentation of Małgorzata Heigelmann (Faculty of Theology, Adam Mickiewicz University) entitled: "Inculturation as one of the essential elements of evangelization". She explained a derivation of the word Evangelization, which is the proclamation of the good news about salvation. On the basis of the apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi written by Paul VI, she discussed evangelization in relation to the challenges of the modern world, taking into account the special role of cooperation for inculturation.

The last occurrence of the first day was the lecture "Mission Bolivia 2019" given by: Jolanta Jakubiak, Marta Dyś and Agnieszka Dreger (Faculty of Theology, Adam Mickiewicz University). They briefly presented the context of the inculturation process in Bolivia. They presented the phenomenon of the so-called "Jesuit reductions". They also drew attention to the problems that are problematic for the social and religious life of the region: the level of education, medical assistance, and the material gap between the poor and the rich.

The second day of the conference began with a missionary service attended by representatives of various Christian denominations. The purpose of this ecumenical prayer was spiritual rapprochement and the deepening of fraternal relations between the Churches. Subsequently, there were conference speeches initiated by the introduction of Bishop Łukasz Buzun. The auxiliary bishop of the Kalisz diocese explained the terminology related to the inculturation in the reflection of the Second Vatican Council. He also referred to his memories of missionary activities in Kazakhstan.

The first speaker of this panel was the Verbist professor Piotr Nawrot SVD, Faculty of Theology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Bolivia), who in the speech entitled "The sources of early music in Bolivia" stated that music is the greatest treasure of the Church and an excellent tool for evangelization. He presented his achievements of the last 30 years in the field of Indian sacred music in Bocho Chiquitos. The success of his many years of activity in the field of missiology and musicology consists in the discovery and reconstruction of thousands of manuscripts of musical notation from the Baroque period, constituting a huge cultural heritage.

Dr. Jordi-A. Piqué and Collado OSB (Pontificium Athenaem Anselmianum Roma) delivered a lecture entitled: “Theology, liturgy and music: dialogues of transcendence in the immanence of art. Fundamentals of the theological approach. " He divided his article into three parts. Firstly, he described the sphere of the biblical "sacred" which is devoid of the presence of sound in liturgical texts, and then he presented his commentary on the teaching of the Church's Magisterium. He then went on to discuss the disruption of the characteristic elements of "cultural speech" in the field of universal sound. Finally, he spoke about the social changes in the subject of listening and the liturgy that still uses sound as part of the perception of God's Mystery.

The next speaker was the verbist Tomasz Szyszka SVD (UKSW Warsaw) delivered a lecture entitled "The Deacons Program of Permanent Married Men in the Andean World." He drew attention to the need to break with outdated forms of evangelization and the task of searching for new methods and means in its implementation. He referred to the imperative of inculturation and he gave criteria for the proper implementation of this paradigm. He also gave some indications for reflection. For example, how to relate to and use local worship? He wondered how to pursue the sanctity of the diaconal ministry in the Andean Church and he stated that they must be seen as protagonists of inculturation. It is important to define the role and ministerial function of the diaconate in culture. Finally, prof. Szyszko drew attention to the concept of a person in the Andean world.

Dr. Dominik Jurczak (Pontificium Athenaem Anselmianum Roma) in his speech presented the issue of inculturation in the liturgical aspect. He spoke about adapting the language of the liturgy to the culture and traditions of nations to make it more accessible. The speaker outlined an overview of the search for liturgical renewal. He stressed that the starting point for these investigations was a reflection of the nature of the liturgy, which is the experience of the praying Church and awareness of the connection to Christ.

Prof. Erwin Mateja in his lecture talked about the elements of inculturation in the process of post-conciliar liturgical renewal in Poland. He started from the historical context in which specific conditions meant that the reception of liturgical changes in Poland was much more different than in Western Europe. The period of wars and occupation contributed to the fact that the Church in Poland became the only authority. It was even an institution integrating the nation, especially during the loss of state Partitions of dependence in the process of Russification and the partitions of Poland.

The next speaker was Dr. Alejandro José López Ribao (Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Facultad de Teología San Vicente Ferrer Valencia), who in his speech entitled: “Pueblos de Indios and Jesuit reductions. An attempt at inculturation in the colonial era? ”. He described two paradigmatic examples that, out of the historical perspective of Spain, can be understood as the inculturation of the faith and the evangelization of the New World.

At the beginning of the last part of the conference, the presentation "Views on the Church of the First Centuries in Ancient Culture" delievered by the dean Paweł Wygralak was heard. He discussed this topic in three areas. The first was the meeting of two religions: monotheism and polytheism. The speaker tried to answer the question why Christian authors deny pagan worship. Another area was the problem of Christian philosophy, which adopted certain elements of Greek philosophy intended to explain religion. The last field was the negative reaction of Christians to the art of the ancient world.

Professor Waldemar Pałęcki MSF in his lecture presented the topic: "Liturgy adaptations in Poland after the reform of the Council of Trent". He wondered whether in the Polish church after the Council of Trent we can talk about the process of inculturation, or maybe more about adaptation. He discussed this procedure in relation to the celebration of the Holy Mass and the Divinum Office, and the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals on the basis of the Piotrowski Ritual. He also referred to the issue of the national languages in Poland and made a certain example of liturgical distinctiveness in Poland.

Professor Dariusz Kwiatkowski, on the basis of the apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis Evangelii gaudium, highlighted numerous problems and challenges of the modern world. He pointed to the paradoxes of poverty and war as well as the calamities of fertility. He listed the next challenges of evangelization, including attacks on religious freedom, persecution of Christians, and spreading relativistic indifference. The professor pointed out some areas that are a great opportunity for new evangelization and inculturation of urban culture such as big cities and popular piety.

Finally, in the Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Kalisz was a concert performed by the chamber choir "Dysonans" from Poznań entitled "Baroque music from Jesuit missions and cathedrals in Spanish America". This concert was based on the research work of professor Piotr Nawrot SVD, conducted mainly in Bolivia. First time the inhabitants of Kalisz and the surrounding area had the opportunity to hear this type of music.

The conference was organized at a very high level regarding the content of the presented papers and the atmosphere for scientific dialogue. It should be added that the conference and the concert were held under the patronage of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the Bishop of the Kalisz Diocese and the Mayor of Kalisz. The conference was also under the media patronage of: Forum Akademickie, Radio Poznań, Internet TV of Telewizja of the University of Adam Mickiewicz, "Radio Rodzina" of the Diocese of Kalisz, Dom Józefa - internet television of the Diocese of Kalisz and the biweekly magazine of the Diocese of Kalisz "Opiekun".