In Paragraph 44 of CFL, the late Holy Father turns his attention to the need to evangelize the cultures of the world and the important role the laity must play in accomplishing this.
What is culture? Quoting Vatican II, JP II writes that culture includes:
"..all those factors which go to the refining and developing of humanity's diverse spiritual and physical endowments. It means the efforts of the human family to bring the world under its control through its knowledge and its labor; to humanize social life both in the family and in the whole civic community through the improvement of customs and institutions; to express through its works the great spiritual experiences and aspirations of all peoples throughout the ages; finally, to communicate and to preserve them to be an inspiration for the progress of many, indeed of the whole human race."
Culture, in essense, is the expression of humanity throughout history. Thus, "only from within and through culture does the Christian faith become a part of history and the creator of history." As I said recently to the folks over at Emerging SBC Leaders, this seems to me inherent to the Incarnation. After all, God became man and dwelt among us. Why would our carrying forth of the Gospel take a different method? No, the Church must make the Gospel incarnate in the world's cultures.
Although not unique to our time, a dilemma of our age is the separation of culture from its Christian patrimony. But what does it mean to evangelize culture?