The Multicultural Church: Gift and Challenge to Ministry in the Twenty-First Century
Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology
This pastoral project brings together my developing interest in pastoral theology with an established professional expertise in cultural anthropology. The theme of the project is the challenge to contemporary Christianity (particularly the Roman Catholic Church in the United States) as posed by cultural diversity. Although Catholicism has always been aware of the need to bring the Gospel message to people of diverse backgrounds, it is only in recent times that diversity per se has become a salient political and social issue. Groups defined by various criteria of diversity (race, ethnicity, gender, age, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation, condition of disability, among others) are now self-aware, often well organized, and very conscious of their rights, particularly in a socially and politically heterogeneous democracy like the U.S. If the Church is to continue to present the Gospel message to such groups, it must do so with a sensitivity toward those aspects of their lives that are valued for their distinctiveness, even as it seeks to impart a set of universal truths.