Culture Council to Study Secularism

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 13, 2008 ( The Pontifical Council of Culture will dedicate its next plenary assembly to the theme of secularization.

The council, presided over by Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, will gather March 6-8 for the assembly.

“It will be three days of intense dialogue and cultural exchange to try to respond to the questions of a globalized postmodern culture,” the dicastery announced in a communiqué.

The problem of secularization will be faced “just as it is presented to us in this beginning of the third millennium, taking into account above all its cultural dimension, at times combined with secularism,” it added.

This secularism not only explicitly denies the presence of God, the council explained, but is revealed also in “a mentality in which God is absent, totally or partially, from life and the human conscience”

“The consequence,” the dicastery affirmed, “is an existential vacuum in which postmodernity is characterized by the paradox of the increase of a double reality: secularization and religiosity, practical atheism and substitute religions, in a pluralistic society which seeks an ethic whose values are accepted by those who proclaim themselves ‘absolutely different’ and those who absolutize the relative.”