The Second Vatican Council was crucial for the relationship between the Church and culture. Drawing on the thoughts of the popes of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Council formed a new relationship between the Church and culture. This relationship was based on the conviction that the Church would henceforth always live in a pluralistic world.
An understanding of the cultures in which the Church lives is necessary to proclaim the Gospel. This was the origin of John XXIII’s call to read the signs of the times and Paul VI’s call to dialogue with the world. It was Paul VI who during his pontificate replaced the traditional term “Christian civilization” with the expression “civilization of love” borrowed from Benedict XV. This substitution was intended to serve the search for a universal language, understandable to all regardless of religion and culture, through which the Church, faithful to the Gospel, would be able to communicate the truths central to Christianity. In his anthropology, John Paul II completed this work, creating a universal language focused on the good of man seen in the light of the Gospel.
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Fr. Jarosław Kupczak is a Dominican priest, professor of theology, and one of the world’s leading experts in the field of Christian anthropology of John Paul II. He lectures at the Angelicum in Rome, and at the Pontificial University of John Paul II in Cracow, where he is also director of the Research Centre on the Thought of John Paul II. He also lectured at Istituto Giovanni Paolo II in Rome, the Pontificial Lateran University, and the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Mariage and Family in Melbourne (Australia). He is the author of the books: Destined for Liberty: The Human Person in the Philosophy of Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II, Gift and Communion: John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, and Before Amoris Laetitia: The Sources of the Controversy, among others.