FINAL STATEMENT AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6th National Workshop for the Biblical Apostolate
Theme: Inculturate the Good News
Immaculate Concepcion Major Seminary
March 5-8, 1991
Impelled by the love of Christ, Paul, the great convert apostle, preached the good news to Jews and Gentiles alike, becoming “all things to all men so that Christ might be the Lord of all nations” (2 Cor. 5:14; Acts 9:15; 1 Cor. 9:22; Phil.2:11; 2 Tim. 4:17). Urged by the same love, Church evangelizers in the Philippines today seek to proclaim the Good News in such manner that it could be incarnated in the varied cultures and sub-cultures that pervade our country. Whatever is truly Christian must become truly Filipino and whatever is truly Filipino must become truly Christian.
From the very beginning of its missionary expansion outside Palestine, it was a burning concern of the Church to acculturate the good news in the life situation of all nations. This concern has been heightened in our day by the call from the Second Vatican Council. In Evangelii Nuntiandi, Pope Paul VI encouraged the individual Churches to make their own the substance of the evangelical message, without sacrifice of idiom which will be understood by people they served and thus proclaim it (EN 63). In recent times, Pope John Paul II, In his encyclical Redemptoris Missio, laid down two principles for inculturation, namely : compatibility with the gospel and communion with the universal church (RM 54). It is also one of the priorities of the Fourth Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Biblical Federation held at Bogota, Colombia from June 27 to July 6, 1990. There, the participants emphasized that “the Word became present in the world through the action of the Spirit just as it happened at the Incarnation of the Word in the womb of Mary.” (#6.1) The Catholic Biblical Federation highly recommends that the proclamation of the word of the Bible should take into account the cultural diversity of people. It should interpret them prophetically in the light of God’s word, denouncing the evils and highlighting values so that it may become clearer that the Word of the Lord fulfills the legitimate aspirations of men and women,” (#184.108.40.206)
The Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, held on January 20 – February 17, 1991 at San Carlos Seminary Complex at EDSA Makati, Metro Manila, stressed among the other important elements of faith, catechism, social apostolate and missionary endeavor, an inculturated faith. An inculturated faith according to the council “must take root in the matrix of our Filipino being so that we may truly believe and love as Filipinos. But for this to happen, the gospel must be presented with tools, methods and expressions coming from the culture itself and accepted within a person’s inculturated faith, a faith that is transmitted and expressed through our people’s culture or cultures.”
Just as a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, we who have gathered at the Immaculate Conception Major Seminary at Guiguinto, Bulacan on March 5-8, 1991 have decided to take one little step forward to make our federation dream of inculturation a living reality. Among ourselves we experienced the process of inculturation, the results and recommendations of which we wish to share with all.
1. That ECBA form a research body composed of cultural experts and Biblical scholars for an effective inculturation process in Biblical Pastoral Ministry.
2. That ECBA coordinate the production of relevant process-oriented Biblical Modules for inculturation in the different local languages.
3. That all Biblical Centers place top priority to the on-going development/formation of their Biblical workers along the lines of inculturation.
4. That seminaries, religious communities, youth and lay formation centers have their programs regularly updated to carry the Filipino soul and spirit. Seminaries and houses of formation are also encouraged to make accessible their biblical courses to lay people.
5. That the local cultures be encouraged to find their own expression in the liturgical celebration but at the same time keeping their compatibility with the gospel message.
6. That the ministers of the Word, to be truly inculturated, should use the vernacular in their teaching and preaching.
7. That diocesan workshops be conducted wherein the laity especially the youth, become active agents of the biblical pastoral ministry.
Moved by the call for inculturation, we place the cause of incarnating the Word of Life in the life of the Filipino people above all self-interests. Guided by the Holy Spirit, and through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, may our multi-culture become truly Christian and authentically Filipino.
“I have made myself all things to all men
in order to save at least some of them.”
( 1 Cor. 9:22)
For the 6th National Biblical Apostolate,
+CIRILO R. ALMARIO, JR., D.D.
Chairman, Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate