DEPARTMENT FOR AMERICA
The Gospel, and therefore evangelization, are certainly not identical with culture, and they are independent in regard to all cultures. Nevertheless, the kingdom which the Gospel proclaims is lived by men who are profoundly linked to a culture, and the building up of the kingdom cannot avoid borrowing the elements of human culture or cultures. Though independent of cultures, the Gospel and evangelization are not necessarily incompatible with them; rather they are capable of permeating them all without becoming subject to any one of them". (Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 20)
"As in the Apostle's time, the Church must be all things to all people, embracing today's cultures sympathetically. There are still classes and mentalities, countries, and entire areas to be evangelized, which presupposes a long and courageous process of inculturation so that the Gospel can penetrate the soul of living cultures fulfilling their highest expectations and making them grow proportionately in Christian faith, hope and charity. The Church, through its missionaries, has already accomplished incomparable work on all continents, but this missionary work is never completed, because sometimes cultures have only been affected superficially, and in any case, as cultures continually change, they demand a renewed approach. Let us even add that this noble term of mission applies henceforth to old civilizations marked by Christianity, but which are now threatened with indifference, agnosticism, or even irreligion. In addition, new sectors of culture are appearing, with diverse objectives, methods, and languages. Intercultural dialogue is therefore a must for Christians in all countries". (John Paul II, Discourse to the Pontifical Council for Culture, 18 January 1983)
"The process of inculturation may be defined as the Church's efforts to make the message of Christ penetrate a given sociocultural milieu, calling on the latter to grow according to all its particular values, as long as these are compatible with the Gospel. The term inculturation includes the notion of growth, of the mutual enrichment of persons and groups, rendered possible by the encounter of the Gospel with a social milieu. "Inculturation [is] the incarnation of the Gospel in native cultures and also the introduction of these cultures into the life of the Church." (International Theological Commission, Faith and Inculturation, 1988, n. 11)
"I asked that the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops reflect on America as a single entity, by reason of all that is common to the peoples of the continent, including their shared Christian identity and their genuine attempt to strengthen the bonds of solidarity and communion between the different forms of the continent's rich cultural heritage. The decision to speak of “America” in the singular was an attempt to express not only the unity which in some way already exists, but also to point to that closer bond which the peoples of the continent seek and which the Church wishes to foster as part of her own mission, as she works to promote the communion of all in the Lord." (Ecclesia in America, 5).
Inculturation of the Gospel in today's societies requires a concerted effort of methodic enquiry and combined action. This effort presupposes: 1) An attitude of welcoming and critical discernment; 2) ability to perceive the spiritual needs and human aspirations in the new cultures; 3) an aptitude to cultural analysis with a view to an effective encounter with the contemporary world.
One of the most important tasks for the Pontifical Council for Culture is the dialogue with Episcopal Conferences, with the aim of ensuring the whole Church can benefit from the initiatives, investigations, realisations and creations that will permt an active presence in their own cultural environment.
The Department for America
1. Basic Considerations
"Faith in God has animated the life and culture of the peoples of the Americas for more than five centuries. The encounter between that faith and the indigenous peoples has emerged the rich Christian culture of this Continent, expressed in art, music, literature, and, above all, religious traditions and idiosyncrasies of its people, united by a shared history and a shared creed, and forming a great understanding on the diversity of cultures and languages. "(Benedict XVI, Aparecida Inaugural Address.)
Currently undergoing enormous transformations are mainly cultural. It opens up a new period of history with challenges and demands, characterized by general uncertainty that propagates through new social and political turmoil, by the spread of a distant culture and hostile to the Christian tradition, the emergence of various religious offerings trying to answer in their own way, to the thirst for God.
Within the multifaceted mosaic living in Latin America and develops, it is found that the cultural foundations of their peoples are deeply steeped in Catholic spirit, although their political, economic and social not always correspond to that spirit. Clearly a presence of godless ideologies and current consumerist and hedonistic expressions of materialism that is having a profound impact on American culture.
In this new scenario of general uncertainty, where also many Catholics are confused with so many rapid changes, where the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean is to "confirm, renew and revitalize the newness of the Gospel rooted in our history, from a meeting personal and community with Jesus Christ which awakens disciples and missionaries. "
2. Main fields of action of the Council for Culture in America:
Without ignoring the overarching concept of culture that encompasses all human manifestations, may nevertheless indicate some areas in which action should be emphasized:
1. Piety and popular religion
2. Education, particularly the universities, both private and state
3. Mass Media
5. Art in its various manifestations, plastic, literary and audiovisual
7. Latin American History of the Church
8. The formation of candidates to the priesthood in the various aspects of culture
9. The dynamic presence of religious congregations
10. Cults and new religious movements
11. The city and urban culture
3. Lines of action
1. Promoting dialogue between the Gospel and cultures in Latin America
2. Study of the split between the Gospel and cultures
3. Study of religious indifference and unbelief
4. Relations between the Church and the Holy See and the world of culture: art and faith, science and faith, and faith humanities.
1. Collaboration, coordination with various departments of this Dicastery
2. Develop relationships with other Departments, especially with the Pontifical Commission for Latin America
3. Work closely with the CELAM
4. Dialogue and cooperation with the Episcopal Conferences; support local ecclesial projects in the field of culture
5. Follow the action of the international organizations working in the field of culture in America, above all: Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean - ORCALC and the Organization of Ibero-American States for Education, Science and Culture.
6. Engage in "Courtyards of the Gentiles" to promote dialogue with those who do not believe in God or who follow no religion:
7. Follow the political and cultural activities of various Latin American governments
8. Cultivate and promote Catholic Cultural Centers
9. Cooperation with ambassadors to the Holy See
10. Identify the newspapers and periodicals in the field of Latin American culture
Meet the bishops who come to Rome for their ad limina visits, and other visitor groups (priests, religious, cultural center directors, etc..) and people representing the world of culture.
The Department organizes seminars, study days, meetings, and gatherings, and also participates frequently in meetings run by other organizations, regional, national or international.
The Department liaises with other departments of the Roman Curia, especially with the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and with Episcopal Conferences, with local churches, with UNESCO and other international NGOs.
6. Ordinary activities
The official duties include correspondence, preparing instructions for the apostolic nuncios, publishing report on following current cultural trends, especially from the quinquennial reports prepared by the dioceses.
7. Some of the challenges expressed by the bishops on ad limina visits:
· Pastoral work in urban culture
· Interculturalism and Cultural Integration
· Cults and the prosperity gospel
· Indigenous Religions
· Popular religion
· The changing times
· The media
· Cultural Heritage of the Church
1. Dictionary of the cultural history of the Church in Latin America
2. Film School Filming the Ineffable
3. Cultural map of Latin America
4. Analysis of Survey on cultural policy
5. Bicentennial of the Independence of the Countries of Latin America
6. Network consultants, external experts
7. Catholic Cultural Centers