New Evangelization Depends On Faith-Culture Dialogue, Pope Says

Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Pontifical Council for Culture

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 14, 2002 ( Paul II emphasized the importance of dialogue between the Church and the different cultures, for the sake of both the new evangelization and the very future of humanity.

The Holy Father expressed this conviction in a message written for the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Pontifical Council for Culture, presided over by Cardinal Paul Poupard.

“Since the beginning of my pontificate I have taken advantage of every opportunity to emphasize the importance of the dialogue between the Church and cultures,” the Holy Father said in his letter to the French Cardinal.

“It is a vital realm not only for the new evangelization and the inculturation of the faith, but also for the world´s destiny and the future of humanity,” the Pontiff added.

John Paul II created the Pontifical Council for Culture on May 20, 1982, to promote the encounter between the salvific Gospel message and present cultures, as he explained in the document “Motu Proprio” entitled “Inde a Pontificatus.” (March 25, 1993)

In this document, the Holy Father added to the Pontifical Council for Culture the responsibilities formerly ascribed to the Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Believers, instituted by Paul VI in 1965.

Since then, the Pontifical Council for Culture has particularly studied the causes and consequences posed for the Christian faith by religious indifference and the lack of faith.

In his message, the Holy Father analyzes the changing thought patterns and customs of societies over the past 20 years, verifying that “modern communication technologies have had a marked effect on man´s relations with nature, as well as with himself and with others.”

“Globalization itself, which initially was related to the economic realm, has become for the present a phenomenon that also affects other sectors of human life,” the Pope continued.

The Holy Father then repeated one of the characteristic phrases of his pontificate, which he coined at the opening of this Pontifical Council: “A faith that does not become culture is a faith that is not fully accepted, not fully thought out, not lived faithfully.”

The Pontiff ended his message by encouraging Cardinal Poupard and the members of the Pontifical Council for Culture to “continue on the road undertaken, enabling the voice of the Holy See reach the different ´areopagi´ of modern culture, maintaining profitable contacts with the cultivators of art and science, literature and philosophy.”

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