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“Culture is a configuration of learned and shared patterns of behaviour and of understanding concerning the meaning and value of things, ideas, emotions and actions” as defined by J. and M. Biesanz in Modern Society.

Every culture, every age and every race has essentials and peripherals. The essentials are what Jesus calls law or values systems. Peripherals are those that embellish or give colour to the essentials. Colours fade or discolour and need refreshing from time to time. Therefore, it is said culture is dynamic. It evolves, changes and adapts but the essentials like love, peace and respect for others are permanent and non-negotiable.

Seen in this light, culture becomes an identification mark, not a distinguishing mark. Like the varieties of food, dress or languages that we enjoy, the presence of the other is life-enhancing.

On the other hand, history is full of clashes of cultures ultimately expressed in the aggression of war. Such acts arise when cultural differences are exploited. Globalisation is a quest for uniform achievement that often renders people rootless as it seeks to deny cultural differences.

What the Church says...

“The person who will eat anything is not to despise the one who doesn’t; while the one who eats only vegetables is not to pass judgment on the one who will eat anything; for God has accepted that person” (Romans 14:3).

“The Gospel is compatible with all the cultures,” the modern Popes have repeatedly reminded the world. The Joy of the Gospel by Pope Francis expresses this message for our modern society.

“There are many rooms in my Father’s house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so” (John 14:2).

At the same time, the Gospel challenges culture.

For all its goodness, every culture contains weaknesses that need to be looked at in terms of the values in the gospels. Care and sensitivity are needed but, above all, honesty.

“So there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free people, between men and women; you are all one in union with Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

Culture is essentially something to be lived and celebrated by all of us, no matter where we are from.

Differences in food literally add spice to life.

The variety of languages and dialects throughout the world encourage us to make efforts to learn how to communicate with others.

Different celebrations and festivals engage us all in sharing our customs and bring us together as a human family. Our differences are what make us unique, and loved by God.

A prayer for tolerance

God of creation, author of life and all that it offers,
I thank you for this wonderful world and all it holds.
Help me to see you in the whole of creation,
To love and respect you, especially in my fellow beings.
I thank you for the variety you have placed in our life by way of life, habits, dress, food, languages, colour, and shape.
Teach me to love, respect, accept and enjoy them as aspects of life.
You deigned to come to us and be present with us forever as Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, not just as God alone.
Make us wise enough to see your oneness in Trinity and make the world with all its varieties a happy place.

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Identity Identified Bible Covers

Identity:Identified contains 24 inserts and highlighting of key passages within the New Testament that are designed to help teenagers navigate life’s challenges with ways to identify why God created each one of us in the unique way He did.

This book also has a number of QR codes that link to a series of special videos that have numerous people sharing their stories and how they cope with life.

This is the perfect tool to help the younger generation in your life to follow Jesus as they navigate the challenges of life and trust him as a true friend and companion.