because they are stuck in the realm of pure ideas
and end up reducing politics or faith to rhetoric.
Others have left simplicity behind and have im-
ported a rationality foreign to most people.
233. Realities are greater than ideas. This prin-
ciple has to do with incarnation of the word and
its being put into practice: “By this you know the
Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Je-
sus Christ is come in the flesh is from God” (
1 Jn
4:2). The principle of reality, of a word already
made flesh and constantly striving to take flesh
anew, is essential to evangelization. It helps us to
see that the Church’s history is a history of salva-
tion, to be mindful of those saints who incultur-
ated the Gospel in the life of our peoples and to
reap the fruits of the Church’s rich bimillennial
tradition, without pretending to come up with a
system of thought detached from this treasury,
as if we wanted to reinvent the Gospel. At the
same time, this principle impels us to put the
word into practice, to perform works of justice
and charity which make that word fruitful. Not
to put the word into practice, not to make it real-
ity, is to build on sand, to remain in the realm of
pure ideas and to end up in a lifeless and unfruit-
ful self-centredness and gnosticism.
The whole is greater than the part
234. An innate tension also exists between glo-
balization and localization. We need to pay at-
tention to the global so as to avoid narrowness
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