Pope Francis says old forms of proclaiming the faith will not reach new generations
Pope Francis addressed the delicate matter of how to bring the Gospel to other cultures without completely changing them. It's what he calls “inculturation.”
"This is the true meaning of inculturation: that we can announce Christ the Savior respecting the good and the true that exist in every culture and in every society, considering also their continuous evolution."
He acknowledged that it isn't easy and that errors made in the past deprived the Church of the richness of many local traditions. He said that those Christians forgot the meaning of the word Catholic.
"There are many temptations to want to impose one's own lifestyle on others, as if it were the most evolved and appealing. And this is the meaning of calling ourselves Catholics, of speaking about the Catholic Church. It is not a sociological label to distinguish ourselves from other Christians. “Catholic” is an adjective that means “universal.”
For an example of inculturation, Pope Francis turned to the Jesuits who traveled to China and India: Matteo Ricci and Roberto de Nobili. They adapted to local traditions without renouncing the Gospel, making their evangelization more effective. Then the Pope invited Christians to reflect.
"If we try to talk about the faith as was done in past centuries, then we risk no longer being understood by new generations."
At the end of the Audience, Pope Francis greeted a group of Scalabrinians and thanked them for their work serving migrants.