Thursday, December 13, 2007

Better to Light a Candle... and a Culture

The shot above comes from Chicagoland's Maryville shrine -- where well over 130,000 pilgrims converged yesterday to celebrate Guadalupe.

It's notable, however, that while the Catholic press -- even the blogs -- largely ignored what's become American Catholicism's largest annual gathering, it was the secular media that swarmed the place and covered every last bit with richness and amazement.

Moral of the story: follow "golden" compasses too closely, and you'll be led away from what's really important... the good news, for one.

La Morenita didn't escape the Vatican's radar, though, as the Holy See's new point-man on communication used the feast's message as the backdrop for his first major public statement:
Like Our Lady of Guadalupe, Catholic communicators must share the message of the Gospel in a way that reflects the culture of their audience and uses images and gestures to capture imaginations and hearts, said Archbishop Claudio Celli.

In a Dec. 12 statement marking the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Archbishop Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, told Catholic communicators in Latin America that the success of their efforts depends on their love, humility and creativity.

As the "model of perfectly inculturated evangelization," Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to the Mexican Indian Juan Diego in 1531 looking like an indigenous woman, he said.

"She adapted herself to the mentality of her audience, his culture, his rhythm," Archbishop Celli said. "Her message was not made up of words alone. It was gesture, form, image, language and idiom."

Mary's example, he said, was one of "loving communication and full acceptance of the world of the other, which has a dynamic impact that changes the listener forever."

Mary did not look down on Juan Diego, who was canonized in 2002, or belittle him with her words, the archbishop said. Rather, she fully recognized his human dignity and charged him with the great task of carrying her message to others.

Archbishop Celli told the Catholic communicators that in preparing for Christmas they should be awed by the fact that God became human in Jesus Christ and that "he who was all-powerful and held the universe in his hand made himself weak and dependent."
...and not just to be awed, but to communicate it.

Tip to Deacon Greg, the Benchmaster.

PHOTO: Loggiarazzi