The Catholic Church, Protestantism, and the cultural factor (Martin, 2002)

17 10 2007

Abaixo um fragmento do primeiro capítulo do livro de David Martin onde ele menciona o fator cultural ao discutir as diferenças entre o Catolicismo e o Pentecostalismo.

O capítulo inteiro está disponível para download aqui. É a melhor introdução ao Pentecostalismo que encontrei até agora.

One consequence of the Second Vatican Council is the downgrading of those tangible and folk devotions which were associated with “fortress Catholicism” during its long war with modernity and which also had a potent affinity with local indigenous cultures.

[entre outras coisas, o uso (limitado) do vernáculo no lugar do Latim e o encorajamento da incorporação controlada de costumes locais à liturgia.]

It was as if the reforming elites of the Catholic Church, with their own rational traditions, had partly compounded with the enlightened rationalism of their elite opponents to remake the Catholic Church and to ignore the way the great mass of Catholics had constructed their faith according to context. As a result the very tangible faith of Pentecostalism, with its concrete spiritual powers, moved into the vacant or over-rationalized spaces, or else segments of the Catholic Church, for example in Africa, mounted their own cultural resistance.

é o Pentecostalismo uma resposta deliberada com o intuito de preencher esse vácuo?

Such consequences were ironic given that the reforming sectors of the Catholic Church both aimed to institute a modern church and to promote a new respect for local cultural authenticity. This brief overview of the Catholic Church in its encounter with modernity, and especially with pluralism, shows the great importance of cultural factors. Even today a Catholic culture is not as a Protestant culture. In the Protestant world, especially in Anglo-America, the loosening or abolition of ties between a church and the state, the social hierarchy and the local community, has meant that the cultural revolutions in the religious sphere can be promoted from below, whereas in the Catholic world they will be first resisted and then promoted from above.

É possível estender esse raciocínio para além da liturgia da missa? E o Catolicismo popular?

In that sense even the operations of Opus Dei in Spain represented a modernizing revolution, though at the elite level. The relative popularity of Pentecostalism compared with basismo in the developing world reflects just this difference between the autonomous and the managed, although the disadvantages of the former are what strike the observer from the viewpoint of the western academy. It is precisely the unsponsored populist faiths with populist dictators, just as in the past an established Catholicism routinely colluded in defense of its vital interests with dictatorships of the right, some populist and some not.

Historically Catholicism attempted imposition followed by accommodation, partly because in the periods of enlightened autocracy followed by liberal nationalism it was not really in local control. In parts of the world, notably Latin America, ecclesiastical administration lacked any serious grip. The modern period however, has seen an increase both in control and administrative grip in association with centralization in Rome. Of recent years that has meant the policy of respect for local culture already referred to, and even more recently a belated recognition that downgrading Catholic folk practice has made the Church vulnerable. In any case traditional Catholics feel that acculturation dilutes a hard-won identity. Experience teaches. What the Catholic Church cannot do as a centralized system and a global institution is to allow local believers to find out needs and meet them in the Pentecostal manner. Pentecostalism as a repertoire of themes propagated by competitive unsponsored entrepreneurs has no policy about “authentic” culture, because it responds to, and indeed is, the market. It is the culturally despised proffering “goods” to the culturally despised.


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