STRASBOURG, France, APRIL 15, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran is underlining the Christian contribution to culture, affirming that believers have answers to give to a humanity in need.
The president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue made this affirmation on Tuesday in Strasbourg during the spring session of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe.
In his address, which was part of a debate on the religious dimension of the intercultural dialogue, the prelate affirmed that Christianity has a great role to play in the cultural field.
“The Catholic Church and culture are old travel companions,” said the cardinal, as reported by L’Osservatore Romano.
“Believers have a way of making use of things, of working, of expressing themselves, of practicing their religion, of enriching the sciences and the arts, which gives the whole human community an answer to the great questions that have always tormented man,” he said.
“At the beginning of this millennium, in which the transmission of values is so difficult to carry out, the tasks of the Christian faith in culture seem more evident than ever,” Cardinal Tauran affirmed.
He continued: “It is not a question of dictating to men what they must do; it is about reminding them that they are managers of the material and moral resources of this world for the benefit of all.
“Hence, the duty is incumbent upon them to maintain and cultivate them for future generations.”
It is up to the men of today to see that their contemporaries “are never deprived of the sources of light or proposals of meaning capable of illuminating and sustaining them,” the prelate added.
“In the face of the experiments on human [persons], abortion, euthanasia, the trivialization of sexuality, the dictatorship of appearance, they must be accomplices of everything that in culture still goes, always goes, goes now in the direction of the human and of humanization,” he said.
“This, too, is loving one’s brothers in humanity,” observed the cardinal, exhorting his listeners to “give witness of the Christian singularity” that has “the value of difference.”
He stressed that young people should “be considered equal before the intercultural and interreligious dialogue.”
“They must have the same possibility to accede to knowledge of their religion and to be able to know the religion of others,” Cardinal Tauran said.
He requested that they be informed “on other ways of thinking and of believing and thus dissipate their fears.”
“We enrich ourselves with the ways of thinking of the other, sharing the best of our spiritual traditions,” the prelate pointed out.
He affirmed, “It is not about making concessions to truth, but about knowing the other, about listening to him, about recognizing what we have in common and of putting this knowledge of how to do — how to live — at the disposition of all.”
The cardinal emphasized the existence of a “European humanism of Christian origin,” which “has been able to make possible, with the exception of a great part of the past century, the debate between faith and reason.”
He explained that it is “a humanism open to transcendence that, still today, despite environmental secularism and relativism, enables Christians — and believers in general — to recall the priority of ethics over the ideologies of the moment, the primacy of the person over things, the superiority of the spirit over matter.”
The prelate asserted: “No religion in Europe can impose itself with cunning or force.
“In Europe there is dialogue. In Europe religion not only is inherited but is increasingly chosen.
“And given that religions are also cultures, Europe continues to be today a melting pot of coexistence.”
Because of this, he added, it “is appropriate that venues of listening and of sharing not be lacking,” which “enable us to know the true face of religions.”
In this regard, Cardinal Tauran expressed the hope that “the Council of Europe will always have the courage to take the necessary concrete decisions to promote — and if necessary to defend — the liberty of religion, to denounce all forms of persecution, violence and discrimination for religious reasons, in Europe and elsewhere in the world.”
“As believers,” he said, “we are offered an immense workshop to work together, in the framework of the ecumenical dialogue, the interreligious dialogue and also with all those who walk towards the absolute.”
The cardinal concluded, “May it be so that the name of God is never invoked to justify discrimination and violence!”