A Lifelong Engagement

Below, a series of quotes that have been rattling around in my head all weekend:

“…the Kingdom which the Gospel proclaims is lived by men and women who are profoundly linked to a culture, and the building up of the Kingdom cannot avoid borrowing the elements of human culture or cultures. ‘A faith that places itself on the margin of what is human, of what is therefore culture, would be a faith unfaithful to the fullness of what the Word of God manifests and reveals, a decapitated faith, worse still, a faith in the process of self-annihilation.’” – John Paul II in Ex Corde Ecclesiae

“If we’re only making stuff that Catholics and Christians will watch, then we’re not going to impact the culture. That’s just preaching to the choir. Now there’s definitely a place for preaching to the choir, and goodness knows the choir needs preaching. But that’s not the way we’ll change culture. ” Dominic Iocco, Dean of the School of Business & Media at John Paul the Great University, during our recent conversation

“As Blessed John Paul II’s personalist ethics stressed: It is never legitimate to use a human being in any way for any purpose. …Art will always need the seven deadly sins. Sin is the essence of the human problem with which so much art is wrestling. The challenge is to represent sin in a way that isn’t an occasion of sin.” – Our own Barbara Nicolosi, quoted by Daniel McInerny in “What are the limits to depictions of sin in the arts?”

There, in a couple of nutshells, the problem that so many of us must grapple with on a daily basis. We are clearly (and rightly, I believe) called to engage our modern culture and its purveyors. Yet at the same time, it is a culture more wholeheartedly devoted to assimilation than anything this side of the Cybermen. “In, but not Of” has never been more important.

Or more difficult to recognize.

About Joseph Susanka

Joseph has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since graduating from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. A grateful resident of Wyoming, he spends his free time exploring the beautiful Wind River Mountains, keeping track of his (currently) seven sons, being amazed by his (currently) lone daughter, and thanking his lucky stars for Netflix.