What is the mission of the church? Hans Urs von Balthasar has a fascinating excerpt from his Theo-Drama IV, in which he tries to explain.
Essentially, his answer is that the church’s mission is meant to redeem and transform the culture. von Balthasar says,
The whole notion of “Church”, in radical contrast to the Synagogue, is centrifugal; not only is the Church open to the world, which in principle already belongs to Christ: she is also jointly responsible for it. It is not enough to preach the message of salvation to the world from outside: this message must permeate it like leaven, becoming disseminated throughout it. What we are speaking of is—in the modern expression —“inculturation”. The cultural materials that exist in the world must be taken up and adapted, albeit critically. Again, this must not be done by the forced imposition of Christianity onto a reluctant substratum; conquests of this…
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