One Family of God within the Diversity of Cultures
From the 27th to the 30th of October 2004, the African members and consultors of the Pontifical Council for Culture met to give a new impulse to the pastoral approach to culture, starting with a reflection on the theme One Family of God within the Diversity of Cultures. The meeting was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. Also present were bishops who have a responsibility for the pastoral approach to culture in their respective countries in Southern Africa (Angola, Sao Tomé, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe).
This meeting is the next in a series that seeks to encourage a pastoral approach to culture in different parts of the world. Previously in Africa, such a meeting was held in Yaoundé in 2000, which gave the bishops of Central Africa occasion to reflect on A Christian Culture of Peace. This time, special attention will be given to the evangelisation of cultures, with a focus on questions concerning diversity and unity.
In the current context, strongly marked by the phenomenon of globalisation, the Church seeks to promote cultural diversity in the unity of faith in Christ, and the spread of the culture of solidarity and brotherhood. Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, gave the keynote address: The Eucharist and the Church, Source and Instrument of the Unity of Peoples in their Cultural Diversity.
The Church is aware of the fundamental cultural dimension of sustainable development, which is indispensable for the future of the African continent. For this, consideration was given to the different cultural values present in Africa that serve the dignity of the human person. As cultural values express the soul of a people, their use as anchor points for the proclamation of the faith is to be promoted. Indeed, the Church is rich in traditional values that have been strengthened by the faith, and can make their specific contribution to the challenges of reconciliation and peace.
The action of the Holy Spirit in building up the Church, one family of God from a variety of cultures, puts the Gospel at the heart of the pastoral approach to culture and of dialogue with all men and women of goodwill in their cultures, especially those marked by religious indifference. Focus was given also to the Incarnation and Redemption as foundations for inculturation, whereby the Gospel assumes and purifies cultures marked by sin.
The academic staff and students of St Augustine's College of South Africa participated in the bishops' reflections during a special university session that gave them a chance to offer their own contribution. That session was followed by the graduation ceremony of St Augustine's College of South Africa, attended by the bishops to show support for the "new intellectual thrust by Christians" called for by Pope John Paul II in his address to the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture on the 13th of March 2004.
One People of God Within the Diversity of Cultures
St. Augustine's College, Johannesburg, South Africa, 27-30 October 2004
Presided by Cardinal Paul Poupard, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
Moderator Rt. Rev Fr Bernard Ardura, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
Wednesday 27th October - Theme: One People of God
07.45 Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit
Presided by His Eminence Cardinal Paul Poupard, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, The Holy See.
Homily by the Most Reverend Anselme-Titianma Sanon, Archbishop of Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso.
09.00 Opening session
The Most Rev. Buti Tlhagale, O.M.I., Archbishop-Bishop of Johannesburg, South Africa, A Word of Welcome.
The Most Rev. Francisco Blasco Collaço, Apostolic Nuncio in South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Apostolic Delegate in Botswana, The Holy Father's Message.
His Eminence Cardinal Paul Poupard, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, The Holy See: The Eucharist and The Church, Source and Instrument
of Unity of Peoples in their Cultural Diversity.
10.30 Tea Break
11.00 Talk. The Most Rev. Anselme-Titianma Sanon, Archbishop of Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso: Incarnation and Redemption: Foundations for the Inculturation of the Gospel.
12.30 End of Session
15.00 Talk. His Eminence Cardinal Polycarp Pengo, Archbishop of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, Our Cultural Values in the Church, Family of God.
18.00 End of Session
Thursday 28th October - Theme: The Challenge of Diversity in Unity for a Family of Cultures
07.45 Mass for the Feast of Saints Simon and Jude
Presided by His Eminence Cardinal Polycarp Pengo, Archbishop of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.
Homily by the Most Reverend Raphael S. Ndingi Mwana'a Nzeki, Archbishop of Nairobi, Kenya.
09.00 Talk. The Most Reverend Raphael S. Ndingi Mwana'a Nzeki, Archbishop of Nairobi, Kenya. Globalisation: Between leveling of values and diversity and promoting fraternity and solidarity in all cultures.
11.00 Talk. Rev Msgr Jean Mbarga, Vicar General of Yaoundé, Cameroon, The Gospel and our Traditional Values.
12.30 End of Session
15.00 Talks. Mrs. Agnès Adjaho Avognon, Director of Catholic Book Agency, Cotonou, Benin, Culture as a fundamental dimension of sustainable development.
Mr. Richard Rouse, Official of the Pontifical Council for Culture, The Holy See: Catholic Cultural Centres: Further-study and opening to diversity.
Friday 29th October - Theme: Within the Diversity of Ethnic Groups. We form One People of God
09.00 Talk. The Most Rev. William Slattery, O.F.M., Bishop of Kokstad, South Africa: The Reconciliation of Cultures:A Christian Necessity.
11.00 Talk. His Eminence Cardinal Christian Tumi, Archbishop of Douala, Cameroon : The Christian Culture of Peace within the Diversity of Cultures.
15.00 University Session
Round Table Discussion
Introduced by Cardinal Paul Poupard
Interventions by Academics and Students of St Augustine's College
moderated by Prof Edith Raidt
Professor Stuart Bate
The Church and the Culture of the Networked World
Professor Rex Van Vuuren
The Difficulties in Education for Teachers in South Africa
Dr Gerald Walmsley
The Role of the Catholic University in African Culture
Doctorandus Fr Maurus Kantana, O.M.I.
Modern Kavango Marriage and its Ambivalence
Doctorandus Fr Alfred Nsope
The Human Rights Factor in the Social Teaching
of the Catholic Bishops of Malawi
The Most Reverend Archbishop-Bishop Buti Tlhagale.
Presided by Cardinal Paul Poupard,
President of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
Directed by Prof Edith Raidt,
Rector, St Augustine's College, Catholic University of South Africa.
Saturday 30th October - Theme: By the Work of the Holy Spirit, One Family in Christ from Diverse Cultures
09.00 Introduction to theme by His Eminence Cardinal Wilfred Fox Napier, O.F.M., President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference,
09.15 Presentation and Discussion of Closing Statement led by Professor Nurukyor Claude Somda, University Professor, Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso.
10.30 Approval of Closing Statement and Vote of Thanks by His Eminence Paul Cardinal Poupard, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
11.00 End of Session.
11.30 Votive Mass for the Evangelisation of Peoples
Presided by His Eminence Cardinal Christian Tumi, Archbishop of Douala, Cameroon.
13.00 Concluding Lunch.
Afternoon tour organised to visit local cultural sites.
At the kind invitation of Archbishop-Bishop Buti Tlhagale, those who were still present on Sunday were taken to Soweto to concelebrate Mass.