Cultures in the World


“I have decided to found and institute a Council for Culture, capable of giving the whole Church a common impulse in the continuously renewed encounter between the salvific message of the Gospel and the multiplicity of cultures, in the diversity of cultures to which she must carry her fruits of grace.”

Letter of foundation of the Pontifical Council for Culture



Asia is geographically and often culturally distant from Rome but its peoples are also open, ready and willing to dialogue with the Gospel and the Catholic Church. The various peoples have a deep-rooted spirituality and are enamoured by the quest for the divine.  Except for the Philippines and East Timor, the Catholics are in a small minority swamped by vast majorities and often live in very uncertain and difficult circumstances. To be underlined is the fact that often the Catholic community is struggling for survival in the face of open persecution or  religious extremism in many parts of Asia. These communities have a possibility of intercultural dialogue and activity when they cannot openly live their religion. There are huge cultural challenges because of the plurality of religions and diversity of cultures. Therefore issues like evangelization, inter-religious and intercultural dialogue, inculturation and communications and language gain importance. There is a large youth population at times up to 60-70 % in some countries which needs to be addressed.



Africa, with its many indigenous populations and countries with a substantial  Christian and Catholic presence, offers wide-ranging prospects in the cultural field. The colourful continent with its lively peoples who are fond of dance, music and very spontaneous cultural expressions hosts also the largest growing Church. The continent is opening up to globalizing tendencies amidst its traditional challenges of poverty and injustices. Evangelization of Cultures, intercultural dialogue, and inculturation of the faith are very valid spaces for work.



Americas: The common elements of all American people, between those who are distinguished with the same Christian identity as well as those who authentically search for a strengthening of connections of solidarity and communion between the diverse expressions of the rich patriarchal culture of the continent, are the decisive reason that the Special Assembly of the Synod of the Bishops dedicate their reflections to America as an actual unity. The option of using the word in singular would express not only the unity already existant in certain aspects, but also that narrower link hoped for by the towns of the Continent and the Church, within the country of its own mission directed at promoting communion of all in the Lord. (Ecclesia in America 5)



Oceania, distant geographically, is predominantly Christian. A Re-evangelization through cultures and cultural expressions is a distinct objective.