Culture in the Magisterium of Pope John Paul II: Evangelization through Dialogue and the Renewal of Society R. Jared Staudt

  • R. Jared Staudt Augustine Institute


George Weigel, in his Cube and the Cathedral, argues that the Slavic view of history, which is centered on the role of culture, provides a true understanding of what moves peoples and societies at the deepest level. This explains the power of John Paul II to reawaken the consciousness of his fellow countrymen and women in one of the greatest peaceful achievements of freedom in history. John Paul understood the fundamental role of culture and so created the Pontifical Council for Culture. In a series of annual lectures to this Council, John Paul laid out a vision for how culture must be the “priority” of the New Evangelization. He laid out a number of reasons for this. First, faith is incomplete if it is not lived out in a culture, and a culture opposed to the faith creates obstacles to the living out of that faith. Second, culture provides a medium for dialogue between believers and nonbelievers. Art also serves as such a medium. Third, the goal of the engagement of culture in the New Evangelization is the building of a civilization of love, one that enables the human person to live freely in the truth. Finally, this transformation of culture will begin when holiness and culture are brought together. A transformed culture that is more informed by Christianity is one of the key goals of John Paul’s call for a New Evangelization. This transformed culture would also be more genuinely human, would offer more freedom, in that it centers on true dignity of the human person. This vision is also fundamentally rooted in the call of Vatican II to reawaken the laity to their particular mission in working for the good of the world.