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JEAN-PAUL II       -       JOHN PAUL II       -       JUAN PABLO II

 

El valor de la antropología cristiana para la cultura

En vuestro servicio diario como profesores de doctrina social de la Iglesia os encontráis muchas veces frente a esta pregunta recurrente: "¿Cómo debe proponerse, en la actual situación histórica y cultural, la verdad encomendada a los cristianos?". La urgencia que hoy se percibe con mayor nitidez y fuerza es la de promover una "nueva evangelización", una "nueva implantatio evangelica", también con referencia al ámbito social. En efecto, el Papa Pablo VI exhortaba a superar la fractura entre Evangelio y cultura, a través de una obra de inculturación de la fe, capaz de alcanzar y transformar, mediante la fuerza del Evangelio, los criterios de juicio, los valores determinantes y las líneas de pensamiento propias de cada sociedad. La intención central, particularmente actual si consideramos la situación de Europa, era la de mostrar, con renovado impulso, la importancia de la fe cristiana para la historia, la cultura y la convivencia humana.

A partir de Jesucristo, única salvación del hombre, es posible poner de manifiesto el valor universal de la fe y de la antropología cristiana y su significado para cada ámbito de la existencia. En Cristo se ofrece al ser humano una específica interpretación personalista y solidaria de su realidad abierta a la trascendencia.

Precisamente a partir de esta antropología, la doctrina social de la Iglesia puede proponerse no como ideología, o "tercera vía", a semejanza de otras propuestas políticas y sociales, sino propiamente como un saber teológico-moral particular cuyo origen está en Dios, que se comunica al hombre (cf. Sollicitudo rei socialis, 41). En este misterio encuentra su fuente inagotable para interpretar y orientar la historia del hombre. Por tanto, la nueva evangelización, a la que está llamada toda la Iglesia, deberá integrar plenamente la doctrina social de la Iglesia (cf. ibid.), para poder llegar mejor a los pueblos europeos e interpretarlos en sus problemas y situaciones concretas.

Discurso a un grupo de profesores de doctrina social de la Iglesia, 20-6-97, nº 2.

 

La loi du Christ est la loi de l'amour

Le lavement des pieds, manifestation de l'amour parfait, est le signe de reconnaissance des disciples. "Ce que j'ai fait pour vous, faites-le vous aussi" (Jn 13,15). Jésus, Maître et Seigneur, quitte sa place à table pour prendre celle du serviteur. Il inverse les rôles, manifestant la nouveauté radicale de la vie chrétienne. Il montre humblement qu'aimer en paroles et en actes, cela consiste avant tout à servir ses frères. Celui qui ne l'accepte pas ne peut pas être disciple. A l'inverse, celui qui sert reçoit la promesse du salut éternel.

Depuis notre Baptême, nous sommes renés à la vie nouevelle. L'existence chrétienne exige de nous d'avancer sur la voie de l'amour. La loi du Christ est la loi de l'amour. Transformant le monde à la manière d'un ferment, elle désarme les violents et donne leur place aux plus faibles et aux plus petits, appelés à annoncer l'Evangile. Par l'Esprit reçu, le disciple du Christ est poussé à se mettre au service de ses frères, dans l'Eglise, dans sa famille, dans sa vie professionnelle, dans de nombreuses associations et dans la vie publique, au niveau national et international. Cette démarche est en quelque sorte le baptême et la confirmation continués. Servir est le chemin du bonheur et de la sainteté: notre vie devient alors une démarche d'amour envers Dieu et envers nos frères. [...]

L'amour et le service donnent du sens à notre vie et la rendent belle, car nous savons pour quoi et pour qui nous nous y engageons. C'est au nom du Christ qui nous a aimés et servis le premier. Qu'y a-t-il de plus grand que de se savoir aimé? Comment ne pas répondre joyeusement à l'attente du Seigneur? L'amour est le témoignage par excellence qui ouvre à l'espérance. Le service des frères transfigure l'existence; il manifeste que l'espérance et la vie fraternelle sont plus fortes que toute tentation de désespoir. L'amour peut triompher en toute circonstance.

Méditation au Champ-de-Mars, Paris, 21-8-97, n. 2, 5.

 

Dieu seul peut combler le désir de l'homme

"Maître, où demeures-tu?" (Jn 1, 38) [...] La question est le fruit d'une recherche. L'homme cherche Dieu. L'homme jeune comprend au fond de lui-même que cette recherche est la loi intérieure de son existence. L'être humain cherche sa voie dans le monde visible, il cherche l'invisible au long de son voyage spirituel. Chacun de nous peut redire les paroles du psalmiste: "C'est ta face, Seigneur, que je cherche: ne me cache pas ta face" (Ps 27/26, 8-9). Chacun de nous a son histoire personnelle et porte en lui-même le désir de voir Dieu, un désir que l'on éprouve en même temps que l'on découvre le monde créé. Ce monde est merveilleux et riche, il déploie devant l'humanité ses innombrables richesses, il séduit, il attire la raison autant que la volonté. Mais, en fin de compte, il ne comble pas l'esprit. L'homme se rend compte que ce monde, dans la diversité de ses richesses, est superficiel et précaire; en un sens, il est voué à la mort. Nous prenons davantage conscience aujourd'hui de la fragilité de notre terre, trop souvent dégradée par la main même de l'homme à qui le Créateur l'a confiée.

Quant à l'homme lui-même, il vient au monde, il naît du sein maternel, il grandit et mûrit; il découvre sa vocation et développe sa personnalité au cours de ses années d'activité; puis approche le moment où il doit quitter ce monde. Plus longue est sa vie, plus l'homme ressent sa propre précarité, plus il se pose la question de l'immortalité: qu'y a-t-il au delà des frontières de la mort? Alors, au fond de l'être, surgit la question posée à Celui qui a vaincu la mort: "Rabbi, où demeures-tu?" Maître, toi qui aimes et respectes la personne humaine, toi qui as partagé la souffrance des hommes, toi qui éclaires le mystère de l'existence humaine, fais-nous découvrir le vrai sens de notre vie et de notre vocation! "C'est ta face, Seigneur, que je cherche: ne me cache pas ta face" (Ps 27/26, 8-9).

Au bord du Jourdain, et bien plus tard encore, les disciples ne savaient pas qui était vraiment Jésus. Il leur faudra beacoup de temps pour comprendre le mystère du Fils de Dieu. Nous aussi, nous portons en nous le désir de connaître celui qui révèle le visage de Dieu. [...] Il est vrai qu'en nous la confiance connaît des hauts et des bas. Il est vrai que notre regard de foi est souvent obscurci par le doute et par notre propre faiblesse. Humbles et pauvres pécheurs, acceptons le message de la Croix. Pour répondre à notre question: "Rabbi, où demeures-tu?", le Christ nous adresse un appel: venez et vous verrez; dans la Croix vous verrez le signe lumineux de la rédemption du monde, la présence aimante du Dieu vivant.

Homélie lors de la Messe pour la XIIe Journée mondiale de la Jeunesse a Longchamp, Paris, 24-8-97, n. 2-3.

 

Respeto a las minorías culturales

Hoy vengo de nuevo a Brasil [...] este país con dimensiones de continente, que, gracias a las riquezas de su suelo y su subsuelo, y al talento emprendedor de su pueblo, está en la vanguardia entre las mayores potencias del mundo. La tradición cultural y la fe de su gente han marcado la evolución de su historia. [...] Espero que los valores del patrimonio cultural y religioso de la nación brasileña sirvan de base para promover decisiones justas en defensa de los valores de la familia y de la patria.

En este contexto, deseo extender también la expresión de mi estima y mi afecto a dos sectores del país. En primer lugar, a los pueblos indígenas descendientes de los primeros habitantes de esta tierra, antes de que llegaran los descubridores y colonizadores. Con su cultura, han contribuido a infundir en la cultura brasileña un profundo sentido de la familia, del respeto a los antepasados, de la intimidad y el afecto hogareño. Merecen toda nuestra atención, para que puedan vivir con dignidad su cultura.

Expreso los mismos sentimientos a la parte afro-brasileña —numerosa y muy significativa— de la población de esta tierra. Por su notable presencia en la historia y en la formación cultural de este país, estos brasileños de origen africano merecen, tienen derecho y pueden, con razón, pedir y esperar el máximo respeto a los rasgos fundamentales de su cultura, para que, con ellos, sigan enriqueciendo la cultura de la nación, en la que están perfectamente integrados como ciudadanos de pleno derecho.

Discurso durante la ceremonia de bienvenida en la base aérea de Galeão, Río de Janeiro, 2-10-97, nº 2.

 

Fidelity to the Gospel amidst the constant evolution of cultures

Through your efforts, both individually and jointly, the Church in Uganda plays a very active role in creating and supporting structures and institutions which enable society to respond to people's needs and aspirations. There is a marked Catholic presence in the fields of education, health care and social services, and your leadership strengthens the faithful in dealing with certain very difficult problems. Among these is the scourge of AIDS, which has hit your country particularly hard. In your Pastoral Letter Let Your Light Shine, you remarked that this tragic situation "needs to be confronted in solidarity, with much love and care for the victims, with much generosity towards those orphaned and with much commitment to a renewed way of Christian moral living" (28). Thus you have issued a call to reflect on the deeper moral and social issues associated with this disease, and you have invited all to take a firm stand against a dangerous crisis of values, one which is already causing many people to grow weak in spirit, indifferent to virtue and to what constitutes the authentic progress of society.

An adequate response to this challenge requires the effective inculturation of the Christian message, a delicate and difficult task which "raises the question of the Church's fidelity to the Gospel and the Apostolic Tradition amidst the constant evolution of cultures" (Ecclesia in Africa, 62). This inculturation faces a number of specific challenges in Uganda, especially in the areas of marriage and family life. Your untiring efforts to guide couples to the discovery of the truth and beauty of the demands of their new life together in Christ are an indispensable part of your ministry. The unit of ecclesial life known as the "domestic Church" must always occupy a special place in the Church's pastoral concern. The Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio provides a framework for effective catechesis, particularly in the vital area of marriage preparation. The faithful must be helped to understand the meaning and sacramental dignity of marriage, and they should be strongly supported by the whole Catholic community in living their commitment to the full.

Address to the Bishops of Uganda during their ad limina visit, 13-10-97, n. 5.

 

La vida entera debe ser leída a la luz del Evangelio

La Iglesia, vigilante en la esperanza, entre la Pascua y la Parusía, debe cumplir su mandato escatológico proclamando el reino de Dios y recogiendo por todo el universo el trigo del Señor. Lo que debe hacer a toda costa, antes del regreso del Señor, es proclamar el "acontecimiento Cristo", su Pascua de muerte y resurrección. Ser sacramento primero y universal de salvación es su tarea esencial.

El ministerio de la Palabra ocupa, así, el centro mismo de la acción apostólica de la Iglesia, tanto cuando celebra la Eucaristía o canta las alabanzas de Dios, como cuando enseña a los fieles cómo deben vivir su fe.

Lejos de permanecer neutral, la Iglesia está al lado del cristiano en los diversos momentos de su vida, para orientarlo hacia opciones coherentes con las exigencias que entraña la ontología sobrenatural de su bautismo. Gracias a esta acción "mistagógica" la fe, recibida en el bautismo, puede desarrollarse y llegar a la plena madurez propia del cristiano adulto y responsable.

Precisamente ésta es la misión de la catequesis. Una misión nada fácil. Dado que debe tomar en cuenta la vida del hombre en su totalidad —tanto el aspecto profano como el religioso— la catequesis ha de arraigarse en todo el contexto de la vida. Es decir, no sólo debe tener en cuenta a los catequizandos y su entorno cultural y religioso, sino también sus condiciones sociales, económicas y políticas. La vida entera, en sus aspectos concretos, debe ser leída e interpretada a la luz del Evangelio.

Eso supone evaluar atentamente los problemas que afronta hoy un creyente, que con razón anhela progresar más en la comprensión de su fe. Entre esos problemas se encuentran los grandes interrogantes que el hombre se plantea sobre sus orígenes, el sentido de la vida, la felicidad a que aspira y el destino de la familia humana.

Eso significa que siempre será necesario un doble movimiento para anunciar a los hombres de nuestro tiempo, en su integridad y su pureza, la palabra de Dios, de forma que les resulte inteligible e incluso atractiva. El descubrimiento del misterio integral de la salvación supone, por una parte, el encuentro con el testimonio, dado por la comunidad eclesial, de una vida inspirada en el Evangelio. La catequesis habla con más eficacia de lo que puede parecer realmente en la vida concreta de la comunidad. El catequista es, por decir así, el intérprete de la Iglesia frente a los que son catequizados por él. Lee y enseña a leer los signos de la fe, el principal de los cuales es la Iglesia misma.

Al mismo tiempo, el catequista debe saber discernir y valorar los procesos espirituales, ya presentes en la vida de los hombres, según el fecundo método del diálogo salvífico. Es una tarea que se ha de realizar continuamente: la catequesis debe saber recoger los interrogantes que surgen en el corazón del hombre para orientarlos hacia las respuestas que da el Amor que crea y salva. La meditación, en oración, de la sagrada Escritura, la profundización fiel de las "maravillas de Dios" a lo largo de toda la historia de la salvación, la escucha de la Tradición viva de la Iglesia y la atención dirigida a la historia de los hombres vinculándose entre sí, pueden ayudar a los hombres a descubrir lo que Dios ya realiza en lo más íntimo de su corazón y de su inteligencia para atraerlos hacia sí y colmarlos de su amor, haciéndolos hijos suyos en el Hijo unigénito.

Discurso a los participantes en el Congreso catequístico internacional, Vaticano, 17-10-1997, nº 3-4.

 

Une "petite voie" qui désarme la culture de l'éphémère

Thérèse de Lisieux n'a pas seulement saisi et décrit la vérité profonde de l'Amour comme le centre et le coeur de l'Église, mais elle l'a vécu intensément dans sa brève existence. C'est justement cette convergence entre la doctrine et l'expérience concrète, entre la vérité et la vie, entre l'enseignement et la pratique, qui resplendit avec une particulière clarté dans cette sainte, et qui en fait un modèle attrayant, spécialement pour les jeunes et pour ceux qui sont à la recherche du vrai sens à donner à leur vie.

Devant le vide de tant de mots, Thérèse présente une autre solution, l'unique Parole du Salut qui, comprise et vécue dans le silence, devient une source de vie renouvelée. A une culture rationaliste et trop souvent envahie par un matérialisme pratique, elle oppose avec une désarmante simplicité la "petite voie" qui, en revenant à l'essentiel, conduit au secret de toute existence: l'Amour divin qui enveloppe et pénètre toute l'aventure humaine. En un temps comme le nôtre, marqué bien souvent par la culture de l'ephémère et de l'hédonisme, ce nouveau Docteur de l'Église se montre doué d'une singulière efficacité pour éclairer l'esprit et le coeur de ceux qui ont soif de vérité et d'amour.

Homélie pour la proclamation de sainte Thérèse de Lisieux Docteur de l'Église, 19-10-97, n. 5.

 

Redescubrir el nexo entre la verdad, el bien y la libertad

Singular importancia [...] habéis atribuido a las cuestiones morales, cuyo horizonte se despliega a lo largo de todo el arco de la existencia del hombre.

A este respecto, ya en mi primera carta encíclica Redemptor hominis afirmé que "la Iglesia no puede abandonar al hombre, cuya "suerte", es decir, la elección, la llamada, el nacimiento y la muerte, la salvación o perdición, están tan estrecha e indisolublemente unidas a Cristo" (nº 14).

Los graves problemas que, con una urgencia cada vez más apremiante, exigen una respuesta de acuerdo con la verdad y el bien, sólo pueden encontrar un solución auténtica si se recupera el fundamento antropológico y cristológico de la vida moral cristiana. En efecto, el Hijo de Dios encarnado es la norma universal y concreta del obrar cristiano: "Él mismo se hace Ley viviente y personal, que invita a su seguimiento; da, mediante el Espíritu, la gracia de compartir su misma vida y su amor, e infunde la fuerza para dar testimonio del amor en las decisiones y en las obras (cf. Jn 13,34-35)" (Veritatis splendor, 15). Así pues, por la gracia, todo hombre participa de la verdad y del bien en Cristo, imagen de Dios invisible (cf. Col 1,15), y en la adhesión a su seguimiento es capacitado para actuar con la libertad de hijo.

En el servicio que vuestro dicasterio presta al sucesor de Pedro y al magisterio de la Iglesia, contribuís a hacer que la libertad permanezca siempre y exclusivamente "en la verdad", ayudando a la conciencia de todos los hombres, y de los discípulos de Cristo en particular, para que no se aparte del camino que lleva al auténtico bien del hombre.

El bien de la persona consiste en estar en la verdad y en hacer la verdad en la caridad. La cultura contemporánea parece haber perdido, en gran parte, este nexo esencial entre "verdad-bien-libertad" y, por tanto, llevar nuevamente al hombre a descubrirlo es hoy una de las exigencias propias de la misión de la Iglesia, llamada a trabajar por la salvación del mundo.

Esforzándoos por aclarar cada vez más el fundamento antropológico y cristológico originario de la vida moral, contribuiréis ciertamente a promover la formación de la conciencia de numerosos hermanos nuestros, como afirma el Concilio Vaticano II en la declaración Dignitatis humanae: "Los cristianos, al formar su conciencia, deben atender con diligencia a la doctrina cierta y sagrada de la Iglesia. Pues, por voluntad de Cristo, la Iglesia católica es maestra de la verdad y su misión es anunciar y enseñar auténticamente la verdad, que es Cristo, y, al mismo, tiempo, declarar y confirmar con su autoridad los principios de orden moral que fluyen de la misma naturaleza humana" (n. 14).

Discurso a los participantes en la Asamblea Plenaria de la Congregación para la doctrina de la fe, 24-10-97, nº 3.

 

Que tout homme puisse redécouvrir le regard d'amour de Dieu

Aujourd'hui, le défi majeur est celui d'une déchristianisation diffuse. Le Jubilé appelle donc à un sérieux engagement catéchétique et missionnaire. Il faut que tout homme puisse découvrir la présence du Christ et le regard d'amour du Seigneur sur chacun, qu'il entende à nouveau sa parole, "viens et suis-moi". C'est pourquoi le monde attend un témoignage plus clair d'hommes et de femmes libres, rassemblés dans l'unité, qui montrent par leur manière de vivre que Jésus Christ apporte en toute gratuité une réponse qui comble leurs désirs de vérité, de bonheur et d'épanouissement humain. Il est donc essentiel pour les fidèles [...] d'"être chrétiens au seuil du troisième millénaire", de vivre leur baptême, leur vocation et leur responsabilité chrétienne.

On voit malheureusement croître le nombre de ceux qui ne sont pas baptisés, même dans les régions de tradition chrétienne séculaire. En outre, beaucoup de baptisés se laissent entraîner à oublier ce qu'ils sont devenus par la grâce reçue, c'est-à-dire des "créatures nouvelles" (Ga 6,15) qui ont revêtu le Christ. Ces situations demandent plus que jamais d'être analysées attentivement. Il convient de raviver l'élan missionnaire par la proposition d'itinéraires d'initiation chrétienne pour les jeunes et les adultes nombreux qui demandent le baptême, et d'un renouvellement de la formation chrétienne pour ceux qui se sont éloignés de la foi reçue.

Discours aux participants à l'Assemblée plénière du Conseil pontifical pour les Laïcs, 30-10-97, n. 3.


Intervention de Son Eminence le Cardinal Paul Poupard
à l'Assemblée Spéciale du Synode des Évêques pour l'Amérique,
le 20 novembre 1997.

Très Saint-Père,
Frères et Soeurs en Jésus-Christ,

Évangéliser l'homme, c'est aussi évangéliser sa culture.

Cette intervention se réfère à la première partie de l'Instrumentum laboris nº 6 à 22: Le mystère de Jésus-Christ annoncé à l'homme et à la culture. L'annonce de Jésus-Christ dans le contexte culturel de l'Amérique. Je voudrais partager à cet égard dix brèves remarques.

1. La mission fondamentale de l'Église est d'évangéliser jusqu'aux extrémités du monde, de l'Alaska à la Terre de feu, de transmettre la bonne nouvelle de l'amour de Jésus-Christ, et ainsi de combler de manière surabondante le désir du coeur de l'homme toujours en quête de Dieu, jusqu'à ce qu'il trouve en Lui sa plénitude de vie et sa plénitude de joie (Augustin).

2. Comme le souligne l'Instrumentum laboris (nº 9), évangéliser l'homme signifie aussi évangéliser sa culture, cette culture qui est la façon particulière dont les hommes, dans un peuple donné, cultivent leur relation avec la nature et avec leurs frères, avec eux-mêmes et avec Dieu, afin de parvenir à une existence véritablement et pleinement humaine. Le Concile Vatican II sur ce point a été repris et développé à Puebla, Santo Domingo et les très riches enseignements donnés par le Pape Jean-Paul II. Au cours de ses voyages apostoliques où il a rencontré l'Amérique du Nord, du Centre, du Sud, des Caraïbes, le Saint-Père toujours souligne la double richesse des cultures des peuples de toute l'Amérique: leur grande diversité, et en même temps leur commune imprégnation par les valeurs évangéliques. Le ferment de la bonne nouvelle est à l'œuvre partout depuis cinq siècles. Tous les peuples de l'Amérique peuvent reconnaître dans le Christ l'archétype de leur idéal de vie et dans la Vierge Marie, Mère du Rédempteur, spécialement Notre Dame de Guadaloupe, l'Évangile parfaitement inculturé. La Mère de Dieu en terre américaine, que nous prions chaque soir, est vraiment "l'étoile de la première et de la nouvelle évangélisation".

3. Cette Nouvelle Évangélisation, rencontre avec Jésus-Christ vivant, chemin pour la conversion, la communion et la solidarité chrétienne, touche une terre déjà profondément labourée. La racine commune chrétienne est partout présente et exprimée dans les diverses cultures vivantes de l'Amérique, comme le montrent les interventions des Pères Synodaux. Elle anime la vie des communautés chrétiennes. Elle interpelle aussi les non-croyants et ceux qui vivent loin de l'Église. La nouvelle évangélisation, en son nouvel élan, son ardeur renouvelée et ses nouvelles expressions, doit permettre au message évangélique d'atteindre le coeur des cultures. Car la culture, c'est l'âme d'un peuple, son ethos, sa manière de vivre et de penser, les valeurs qui lui permettent de se développer plus pleinement. Évangéliser les cultures, c'est proposer des modèles de vie inspirés par les Béatitudes, au rebours des cultures médiatiques dominantes, transformer de l'intérieur la société en bouleversant par la force de l'Évangile les critères de jugement, les valeurs déterminantes, les centres d'intérêt, les lignes de pensée, les sources inspiratrices et les modèles de vie (Evangelii nuntiandi n° 19).

4. L'Évangile n'est pas une culture de plus dans le supermarché superachalandé du pluralisme libéral. Au rebours du culturalisme qui réduit l'évangile à n'être qu'une culture parmi d'autres, la foi au Christ suscite un renouveau au coeur de toutes les cultures en leur riche diversité: indigènes et afroaméricaines, culture des migrants et aussi la nouvelle culture qui émerge des mégalopoles. C'est la nouveauté chrétienne qui donne son âme aux cultures de tous les peuples du nouveau monde, cimente leur communion et suscite leur solidarité, en particulier en faveur des plus pauvres.

5. La globalisation de la culture, malgré des aspects positifs, suscite un véritable appauvrissement. Car elle menace l'identité propre des cultures au profit d'une homogénéisation qui coupe l'homme de ses racines culturelles et d'un anthropocentrisme qui le prive de son rapport vital au Christ, centre du cosmos et de l'histoire. A l'inverse, la rencontre des cultures avec Jésus-Christ vivant dans l'Église leur fait parcourir le chemin qui de Noël conduit à travers le mystère pascal de passion, mort et résurrection au miracle de Pentecôte. L'Esprit-Saint fait éclater la finitude des cultures et les ouvre toutes à la plénitude de l'Amour infini révélé en Jésus-Christ.

6. Ainsi, l'Église apporte la véritable réponse à la recherche paradoxale de nouvelle spiritualité engendrée par le vide spirituel d'une culture matérialiste hédoniste dominante et l'angoisse intérieure qu'il suscite. Sans hétéronomie, le développement intégral de la personne trouve son accomplissement plénier dans le salut en Jésus-Christ.

7. L'inculturation de la foi et l'évangélisation des cultures marchent du même pas, qui est celui d'un progrès de la foi, non d'un changement. Saint Vincent de Lérins déjà le soulignait: le propre du progrès est la croissance d'une même réalité en son identité propre, et non de changer cette réalité en une autre, différente.

8. L'Église, à travers la multitude des communautés chrétiennes présentes dans tout le continent américain, en communion entre elles et avec l'Église universelle, par l'Esprit de Dieu qui les anime, ne cesse de rendre compte de l'espérance qui est en elle (1 P 3, 15). Annoncer l'espérance n'est pas se voiler la face devant les difficultés: c'est affirmer que le centre de la foi au Christ est toujours, tertio millenio adveniente, Jésus-Christ vivant. C'est Lui qui inspire aux chrétiens de "donner à notre monde de nouveaux signes d'espérance, en agissant pour que grandissent la justice et la solidarité, et que s'affirme une nouvelle culture de la vie humaine, pour l'édification d'une authentique civilisation de la vérité et de l'amour" (Evangelium vitae, 6).

9. L'Église respecte la diversité et la pluralité des cultures pour mieux les enrichir par la rencontre avec Jésus-Christ vivant. C'est son Esprit qui donne de discerner les éléments à assumer et purifier, à transformer et aussi parfois à rejeter. La culture chrétienne naît de l'expérience de l'intime inhabitation trinitaire dans les âmes. Les saints en sont le plus beau fruit (Instrumentum laboris n° 17). L'évangélisation des cultures et l'inculturation de la foi se réalisent dans les Églises particulières en communion avec l'Église universelle.

10. Je conclus. Évangéliser une culture, ce n'est pas lui manquer de respect, mais, au contraire, lui témoigner le respect le plus grand, l'appeler, au nom du Christ, à progresser, à s'épanouir et à se développer dans une richesse que seule chacune d'elles peut offrir à l'unique Peuple de Dieu répandu dans tout l'univers. Merci!

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[English]
In the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for America, Cardinal Poupard calls to mind the Church's fundamental mission: to evangelize men and women and to evangelize their cultures. The Gospel cannot be reduced to one culture among many, but should give life to the culture of every people. The Church can make the most of the Christian roots of America's various cultures, and offer genuine respect for cultures whose identity is threatened by globalization. It can also give an authentic response to the search for spirituality which is a reaction to the hedonism and materialism of the dominant culture.

[Español]
En la Asamblea Especial del Sínodo de los Obispos para América, el Cardenal Poupard recuerda que la misión fundamental de la Iglesia es la evangelización: evangelizar al hombre y evangelizar su cultura. El Evangelio, que no se puede reducir a una cultura entre otras, debe animar las culturas de todos los pueblos. Aprovechando la raíz cristiana de las diversas culturas de América, la Iglesia aporta un respeto verdadero a las culturas —cuya identidad se ve empobrecida por el proceso de globalización—, y una respuesta auténtica a la búsqueda de espiritualidad que surge como reacción contra el hedonismo y el materialismo de la cultura dominante.

*    *    *

WORLD RELIGIONS FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE

Message of His Eminence Cardinal PAUL POUPARD,
to the National Consultation on "World Religions for Peace and Justice"
held in February 24-28, 1997 at New Delhi, India.

As President of the Pontifical Council for Culture at the Vatican, it is with great joy that I greet you all assembled at New Delhi, the capital of this vast sub-continent of India, to participate in this National Consultation on "World Religions for Peace and Justice" and gladly depute Fr. Alex Rebello, my Asian collaborator, to be the bearer of this Personal Message. At the very outset, let me congratulate the Chairman of the Commission for Education and Culture, Archbishop Raul Gonsalves, as well as its members and its new secretary, Fr. George Palackapilly SDB, on having organized this Consultation when, from what we observe, the very fabric of peace and justice in our world is often rent by violence and injustice. I offer you all my best wishes for the success of this event. May these days of being together to reflect, to pray and to live in a spirit of sharing be an experience of mutual enrichment, encouragement and edification.


1. Create a Culture of Peace

"We are living undoubtedly at a dramatic moment in the history of the world, in which man, stunned by his own prodigious technical achievements, remains uncertain about his own destiny... In the face of this abyss there is no other alternative for humankind than that of decisively taking control of itself, of determinedly turning its back on those who bring about death and of walking with trust along the path of peace" (Cardinal Paul Poupard, La Pace nel Messaggio delle Grandi Religioni Japadre Editore, L'Aquila, Roma 1989, p. 81).

Peace and justice are values without frontiers and cross the boundaries of country, culture or creed. They touch the very core of every human being, springing from the deepest recesses of his heart. They are values that must first be lived interiorly, even before they are practised exteriorly. Where do wars and injustice originate if not first in the human heart? Disturbed persons disturb persons! Structures of violence and injustice have first to be dismantled in the human heart. "First keep yourself in peace, and then shall you be able to bring others to peace" (Thomas A. Kempis, Imitation of Christ, Book 2, Chapter 2).

The quest for a culture of peace and justice, therefore, calls for an ongoing inner conversion, a metanoia, an "about turn" in our manner of thinking and acting, a change of attitude. Peace, and justice on which it is built, is no doubt a gift of God, but at the same time it must be the fruit of personal asceticism, of that victory over self and selfishness which is at once both difficult and exciting. Governments can work for peace and justice; institutions may promote peace and justice; seminars may hammer out statements on peace and justice; but real peace and justice must begin with you and me and, from there, moving outwards in wider circles, embrace society and the world at large. We need a new culture that draws its inspiration and its strength from the power of the Gospel: "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be recognised as children of God" (Matthew 5:9).

But the culture of peace and justice can only be based on a civilisation of love. Like a new born infant that is so frail and fragile, peace needs love for nourishment and growth. Love means being sensitive and available to the other. Love means sharing the sorrows and struggles of those who suffer. Love means overcoming hatred and bringing reconciliation where there is conflict, forgiveness where there is injury, hope where there is despair, freedom where there is bondage, light where there is darknes, life where there is death. One can never love enough. And yet we know that our resources of love are indeed limited. We are soon exhausted and get tired of loving. To love in order to promote the culture of peace, we need God, because peace and justice are the fruit of love and God is the source of love. "Love is from God... and he who remains in love remains in God and God in him" (1 John 3:7,16).

The culture of peace and justice based on a civilisation of love will necessarily lead to a culture of sharing because true love, like goodness, always wants to give and is diffusive of itself. One reason for the lack of peace and justice in our world is the unjust inequality between nations. At the World Food Summit held in Rome in mid-November last year, it was stated that 800 million persons suffer daily from hunger. Is this due to a fall in production or a failure in distribution? While some waste, many want. Millions of children and adults, haunted by the spectre of starvation, must scrape and scrounge waste bins looking for left over scraps of food. "Food security will be the fruit of decisions inspired by an ethic of solidarity, and not only the result of mutual aid programmes" affirmed Pope John Paul II at the aforementioned World Food Summit (L'Osservatore Romano. English Weekly Edition, n. 47, 20 November 1996, p. 5). An ethic of solidarity is precisely what the culture of sharing aims to achieve, where there will be no one in want because everyone wants to share. To create a culture of peace and justice, we must promote a civilisation of love which in turn will generate a culture of sharing.


2. The Common Quest for a Culture of Peace and Justice

Though we belong to different faiths and religious traditions, we are united in our common quest to create a culture of peace and justice. "...the wish for "peace" is constant in all religions: from the Hebrew shalom, the Christian eirene–pax, the Islamic salaam, the om santi of Hinduism, the nirvana of Buddha, to the African Gabra nagayat-nagayat" (Bishop Pietro Rossano, "Prayer as a Human Need and the Possibility of Sharing It", Assisi, World Day of Prayer for Peace, Pontifical Commission "Iustitia et Pax", 1987, p. 73). We need therefore to work together. In January, 1986, which was declared by the United Nations as "The International Year of Peace", Pope John Paul II, while inviting all Christians —as well as leaders of all other religions— to a day of prayer and fasting for peace at Assisi, stated:

"No Christian, indeed no human being, who believes in God, Creator of the world and Lord of history, can remain indifferent in the face of a problem which touches so closely the present and the future of humanity. It is necessary that everyone be mobilized to make his contribution to the cause of peace. War can be decided by a few; peace requires the combined efforts of all" (Homily at St. Paul's Outside the Walls, 25 January 1986: L'Osservatore Romano. English Edition, 10 February 1986, p. 19).

India, the land of sages and sanyasis, of ahimsa and ashrams, with a long standing religious and spiritual tradition, is a multi-cultural and pluri-religious mosaic, being the birth-place and cradle of some of the leading religions of the world. It is here that Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism were born; it is here that Islam, Judaism and Zoarastrianism came to find acceptance and took root. These religions "carry within them the echo of thousands of years of searching for God, a quest which is incomplete but often made with great sincerity and righteousness of heart" (Paul VI, Evangelii nuntiandi, n. 53).

According to a well-founded tradition, Christianity came to India in Apostolic times and has since woven itself into the social texture of the country, by contributing significantly to this culture of peace and justice, this civilisation of love and culture of

sharing, through its wide network of educational institutions, hospitals, orphanages, houses of charity and social service reaching out particularly to the poorest of the poor and the underprivileged and downtrodden. But all these religious bands, with their colourful cultural diversity, need to so blend as to paint the rainbow that spans the world in an embrace of peace that, while excluding no one, encompasses everyone, thereby promoting a culture of peace, and a civilisation of love that will express itself in a culture of sharing.


3. How Can Religions Help to Create a Culture of Peace and
Justice?

Across the frontiers of faith, we need to adopt a common strategy to create a culture of peace and justice, to attain which I would like to propose five steps which can be summarised in the very word P–E–A–C–E.

1. Promote Prayer. We need to come together to pray for peace and justice. Coming together to pray is neither an exercise in religious relativism nor is it "religious syncretism but a sincere attitude of prayer to God in an atmosphere of mutual respect..." (John Paul II, Assisi, World Day of Prayer for Peace, Pontifical Commission "Iustitia et Pax", 1987, p. 26). It is by coming together to pray that we break down barriers of prejudice and pride, grow in mutual understanding and respect, and are better disposed to become channels of peace and justice, harmony and wholeness to our fractured and fragmented world. A culture of peace has its source in God, the author of peace and justice.

2. Establish Equity. If we want peace we must work for justice. Justice is the root of peace just as peace is its fruit. Equity demands that the goods of this world be justly distributed; that equal opportunities be provided for all to enjoy the economic and social benefits that the world has to offer; and that we give each person his due. We cannot lull our conscience by giving to others in charity what is in fact due to them in justice. A culture of peace is built on justice.

3. Accord Acceptance. Coming as we do from a diversity of religious traditions, we need to offer to one and all the dignity that he or she is endowed with as a child of God. Judaeo–Christian revelation teaches us that man is made in the image and likeness of God. That is the foundation and basis of the respect that we must offer to every person. The Indian greeting "Namaaste" is so beautifully meaningful, for the divine in me greets the divine in you. A culture of peace and justice springs from acceptance of and respect for the other.

4. Creating Community. We are not islands in the ocean of life. We are part of the mainland and belong to the community of the same human family. Creating a culture of peace and justice means promoting that ethic of solidarity by becoming the voice of the voiceless and sharing in the struggle of others, especially of the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed and the exploited.

5. Ensure Equality. Accidents such as colour, culture, customs, country, or creed do not make any person superior or inferior. Arrogance and an air of superiority are, in fact, a sign of a lack of culture. The more refined a person is, the more deeply humble he becomes. The taller the tree, the deeper are its roots. "It is not true that some human beings are by nature superior, and others inferior... All political communities are of equal and natural dignity, since they are bodies whose membership is made up of these same human beings" (John XXIII, Encyclical Letter Pacem in terris, 1963, p. 24). A culture of peace and justice has for its foundation the basic equality of all persons.


Conclusion

Like the many colours that form the rainbow without competing with or cancelling one another, each religion, drawing on its own inspiration and genius, must collaborate with men and women of other faiths to contribute to God's overall plan of creating a culture of peace and justice in the world. Peace and justice are possible. They are not just a utopian dream. Precisely because peace and justice are possible, they become a commitment that each of us needs to undertake, a commitment of love that urges us to work with all men and women of good will to attain this goal when fear will yield to fraternity, violence to welcome, revenge to reconciliation, hatred to humaneness, hoarding to helping and exploitation to equality, selfishness to sharing.

We have still a long way to go for this vision of a culture of peace and justice, a civilisation of love and a culture of sharing to be fulfilled. But the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. I like to think that this National Consultation on "World Religions for Peace and Justice" together with the efforts made by many others of good will to promote a culture of peace is one more important step on this journey!

I would like to conclude with the prayer for peace attributed to St. Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is discord, unity. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is error, truth. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is sadness, joy. Where there is darkness, light.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console. To be understood, as to understand. To be loved, as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned. It is in dying, that we are born to life.

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[Français]
Dans son Message adressé à la Rencontre Nationale "Les religions du monde pour la paix et la justice" de New-Delhi (24-28 février 1997), le Cardinal Paul Poupard invite à créer la culture de la paix et la civilisation de l'Amour. L'aspiration à plus de justice dépasse les frontières religieuses et toutes les religions doivent collaborer à cette aventure en commun, par la prière, l'établissement de la justice, l'acceptation de l'autre, en créant une communauté où chacun est à égalité. La paix et la justice: non une utopie mais une possibilité réelle.

[Español]
El Cardenal Paul Poupard, en su mensaje a la consulta nacional sobre "Las religiones del mundo, por la paz y la justicia" (Nueva Delhi, 24-28 de febrero de 1997) invitó a crear una cultura de la paz y del compartir que suscite una civilización del amor. Dado que la aspiración a la justicia desborda los confines religiosos, todas las religiones han de colaborar en esta aventura común, promoviendo la oración, estableciendo la justicia, concediendo aceptación, creando comunidad y asegurando la igualdad. La paz y la justicia no son un sueño utópico, sino una posibilidad real.


INTEGRATING FAITH AND SCHOLARSHIP

Committee for Higher Education of the
Bishops' Conference of England and Wales

Three years after receiving the document entitled The Presence of the Church in the University and in University Culture (PCU), published jointly in 1994 by the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Committee for Higher Education of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales published its response, a document entitled The presence of the Church in the university culture of England and Wales. A short summary of the first two sections is offered here, as a way of introducing the third, which follows in its entirety.


I. Preliminary considerations

Four events prompted this response: the publication in 1990 of the apostolic constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae, on Catholic universities, the publication of the 1994 document mentioned above, the forthcoming (October 1997) Ad limina visit to Rome, and the imminent (July 1997) publication of a report on higher education prepared for the United Kingdom government. The bishops' text is addressed to Catholics and others involved in higher education, and to some of the Roman dicasteries.

The basic conviction inspiring the great efforts expended to ensure the engagement of the Church in higher education is the Holy Father's statement that "the synthesis between culture and faith is a necessity not only for culture but also for faith". But the circumstances in which this task is carried out now are very different. The bishops wish to indicate how the situation has changed in England and Wales, and to what extent – and how effectively – the Church is present in university culture today.


II. The historical picture

In the 1850s the first two training colleges for Catholic teachers were established, and their number grew to 15 by the middle of this century. While they benefited from significant government funding, their ethos was very obviously Catholic. Religious commitment was a crucial factor in the selection of students and staff, and the Church at every level was heavily committed to these colleges spiritually, financially and personally.

Pope Leo XIII allowed Catholics to attend Oxford and Cambridge Universities for the first time since the Reformation in 1895, at the very time when new foundations were being established alongside the ancient ones. More universities were founded in the 1960s, to allow a greater proportion of the population to benefit from a high standard of education. The Church was involved almost exclusively in the provision of chaplaincies, which proved to be a powerful manifestation of her commitment to sustaining a Christian witness within the university culture.

Various factors have combined to bring about remarkable changes in the last 30 years. More people have access to university education, but the dramatic fall in the birth rate means fewer teachers are needed, so some Catholic training colleges have closed, and others have had to change direction: teacher training is one among many sectors offered in the colleges which remain. An enormous intellectual challenge has arisen in the form of postmodernist thought, which questions knowledge and rationality and notions of truth and subjectivity, as well as assumptions about universality and normative values. The student population in Britain is now much larger and diverse in origin and orientation; but staff levels are lower and, in a financially tighter and more competitive atmosphere, educational ideals are being moulded by considerations which are often far from the traditional culture based on the pursuit and transmission of knowledge as an end in itself.

The few remaining Catholic colleges are universities in all but name. Since they operate within the same framework as non-Church institutions, their well focused purpose within the overall teaching mission of the Church has tended to become diffused. Priests and religious are now present almost exclusively in the chaplaincies, while appointments and admissions rarely reflect religious commitment. In these circumstances sustaining a college culture that is distinctly Catholic poses a major challenge. In making their submissions to the report about to be published, different Christian denominations have stressed the need to focus on the whole person rather than particular skills; they have also stressed the need for high quality in what is offered as "education". On a practical level, it is easy to foresee conflicts in priorities between Church colleges and the educational establishment, but it is urgent to note the change in "university culture" since Newman's day: new theories of truth prevail today, which make truth the object of uncertain search rather than of sure possession.


III. New opportunities

1. In general

Against such a background, how should the Catholic Church in England and Wales see its opportunities and obligations?

The mission of the Church overall is to bring a "godly arrangement" into the transaction of worldly business. That, according to the Second Vatican Council (Lumen Gentium 31) is the task of the lay members of the Church, in which, of course, they rely upon the support and ministrations of the clergy. "It is their [lay people's] especial concern to bring such light and order to the worldly business in which they are deeply involved that it may be performed and developed in Christ's way, and may give glory to the creator and the redeemer" (ibid.).

What does that "godly arrangement" imply in the field of higher education?

— It demands first of all a re-emphasis on the basic understanding of education as being human development. No matter how sophisticated the study, how specialised the research, at the heart of it is a human being within whom as far as human wilfulness allows, the creator will perfect the image of his divine Son.

— That perfection cannot be achieved in isolation. The perfect human being will be integrally related with the community of the human race – past, present and future – just as God himself has his existence within the community of the Holy Trinity.

— "Godly arrangement" implies a sense of final purpose that transcends any individual's three-score-and-ten healthy and productive years as the sole measure of success.

— "Godly arrangement" invites the expansion of human intellectual competence in every discipline as an ever-deepening insight into God's world in all its mystery – human, animate and inanimate. "God made me to know him, love him and serve him" said the old catechism; knowledge of God can be well served by that preliminary knowledge of God's creation, in whatever degree each individual and each succeeding community has been gifted to grasp it.

The Church must engage with the disciplines proper to higher education in every age, and make its own intellectual contribution to them from the perspective of its own given insights.

As a good educator the Church must be alongside those it seeks to lead on, and must know how to escort them in the journey into all truth. The Church must sometimes establish its own centres of study and reflection, sometimes concentrate on the support and encouragement of those who work in secular institutions. It may well be in the latter that the real dialogue takes place most effectively between those with and those without a sense of godliness in the order of human existence. The Christian intellectual talent in our universities and colleges already contributes to debates on current cultural and ethical issues; university chaplaincies should provide the situation where Christians can reflect upon and refine the application of their religious principles to the current debate.

Is it a further insight to suggest that the relationship between Church colleges and the higher education sector generally, might be seen as analogous to the relationship between a particular chaplaincy and its secular institution? In both cases the smaller body has the task of keeping the focus on godliness before the eyes of the larger.

The two thrusts of the Church's apostolate in higher education – one in Church colleges and universities, the other in secular institutions – are in that view distinct but closely allied.

2. In secular institutions

PCU emphasises that the Church's pastoral objective is evangelisation, and that to achieve this it has to enter into real dialogue with people within the secular university, to address the interaction between the Christian faith and various academic disciplines, and to confront the major ethical and moral issues raised by modem research and scholarship. In secular institutions the students and staff are a microcosm of society generally and reflect the current materialism and decreasing commitment to religious values and practices. Increased demands of their normal daily academic and administrative work often frustrate those who retain an interest in religious matters. Many staff and students regard their faith as marginal to their everyday life within the university, and fail to recognise the impact the university has on their Christian life, or the opportunity available to them for Christian witness within the academic milieu. Helping those people to strengthen their faith and spirituality, and to recognise and embrace the opportunities and obligations of bearing witness to godliness should be the focus of the Catholic presence within academic communities.

Within the secular institutions of higher education in this country the chaplaincy is, and is likely to remain, the principal instrument for Catholic action. But it is not the only one. Priests and laity, particularly university alumni, should be encouraged by the bishops to accept opportunities to participate in the activities of the local institutions of higher education and to be recognised as witnesses of the Church's presence. Helping with the work of the chaplaincy, raising awareness of the needs of students in local parishes and in the wider community, and serving on university bodies are some examples.

Well-publicised, periodic, formal meetings of the chief executives of institutions of higher education with the local bishop and other Church leaders would also be particularly valuable in furthering Christian contributions to the life of the universities.

For the influence of Christian scholarship and witness on the lives of the members of the academic community to be effective, the Church's presence within the university community must be of high quality and adequately resourced. The selection, training and development of personnel to serve in chaplaincies is crucial. Individual bishops must consider where on their scale of priorities the servicing and resourcing of higher education chaplaincies should lie. This question does not admit of an easy answer amid conflicting claims for resources, but it should not be ignored.

In appointing chaplains, the local bishop will need:

— to consult with and involve the university management in the selection process to ensure that those appointed will be well received and supported;

— to ensure that the qualifications and personality of the appointed are compatible with the university and academic life;

— to provide the opportunity for appropriate training for this specialised work before the appointment is taken up, with special emphasis on communication skills including use of computer networks;

— to arrange, in conjunction with the university, periodic, structured appraisals of the chaplain(s) and appropriate in-service training;

— to agree appropriate conditions of service including the period of the appointment;

— to encourage chaplains to develop the chaplaincy as a quasi-parish community, membership of which is open to all, serving the spiritual and pastoral needs of its members by offering support and guidance and concern for their physical well-being; and to co-operate with those parishes in which students reside during the academic year.

The Bishops' Conference might wish to review its expectations of those with national responsibility for chaplaincy in higher education – the bishop president and the national co-ordinator – and the roles which the conference might wish them to play. These might well include:

— the provision of initial and in-service training;

— facilitating sharing and networking throughout the whole of the higher education and further education systems;

— advising local bishops and Church colleges regarding appointments;

— raising the awareness of the work of the chaplaincies throughout the Church;

— facilitating dialogue between Catholic theologians and other academics;

— liaison with the other Christian churches on matters of mutual concern.

In the context of the latter, the conference might also wish to consider that wherever possible all university chaplaincies should be established on an ecumenical basis and operate in accordance with the Lund principle. As well as the obvious beneficial resource implications, this would send a powerful signal to the whole academic community of their commitment to the ultimate unification of the Christian churches.

All major institutions provide some facilities for chaplaincies but the effectiveness of the ministry is influenced by the standard of facilities, support and interest given by institutional authorities, which varies across the sector. Where these facilities and encouragements are perceived to be less than adequate the local Church, in collaboration with the university, should seek ways of improvement.

It is not sufficient for the chaplaincy team to provide pastoral first-aid on the fringe of the university; it should so cultivate within its community of staff, students and support workers their sense of apostolate that their Christian approach to the whole of life is itself a teaching and learning experience for the different university circles within which they move.

In order to make the best use of facilities so provided, the following points should borne in mind:

— The 18-25 year-old cohort is not easily approached through traditional parish structures; but thirty percent of them are very specially accessible in the higher education scene; they are intellectually, emotionally, spiritually very challengeable at this time both individually and in peer groups.

— Opportunities exist to promote growth in understanding of Christian ministries, including religious and priestly vocations. An influential cohort in professional and other walks of life can be found.

— Even for those who will not be leaders, their adult experience of Church and of engaging liturgy is formative of the wider community.

— The challenge of social awareness characteristic of this cohort needs the input of Catholic social teaching. Some will be given the gift of "prophecy".

— Engagement of Christianity with the various disciplines of the curriculum is in need of careful consideration by undergraduate and post-graduate students and by their pastoral support team. Research which links the traditional scholarship of Christianity with modern advances affords a precious penetration of truth.

3. In Catholic colleges

The challenges and opportunities differ for each of the Catholic institutions of higher education at present in England and Wales, and the response to these conditions may well result in further divergence. For some, the next objective is the attainment of full university status; others see their future being best secured as "university colleges" in academic association with a neighbouring secular university. Others again will look to tighter or looser federal links with nearby Christian colleges in the higher education sector.

All of them recognise a twofold obligation: they must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the international academic community the quality of their standards across the whole of their educational provision, and they must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the international Catholic community their title to be regarded as Catholic in ethos as well as in name.

The Catholic identity of the higher education colleges in England and Wales is proved for each individual college in their mission statements and ordinances, but all of them would find indications of their Catholicity in the following expectations:

— explicit formal links with the Church at both local and national levels, including being held in trust on behalf of the bishops and/or religious orders; instruments and articles of government which define the college as a Catholic foundation;

— a governing body comprising a majority of members nominated by the trustees;

— the post of chief executive being reserved for practising Catholics;

— a mission derived from explicitly Christian objectives, which gives priority to the intellectual, personal, spiritual and social needs of their students and which includes inter alia a recognisable contribution to the apostolate of the Church;

— an ethos based upon Gospel values which touches all the college community through the philosophy of management and governance;

— the centrality of the chapel in the physical plant and in the everyday life of the college;

— an effective chaplaincy which provides opportunities for all members of the community to participate in the sacramental life of the Church, to deepen their faith and to explore the Church's teachings on important moral and ethical issues within contemporary society;

— the provision of courses in theology and religious education, meeting all the criteria of academic rigour;

— a substantial proportion of staff who are active. practising Catholics fully committed to the aims of the Catholic foundation, who welcome the opportunity to witness Gospel values in their personal lives and relationships and who, without sacrifice of academic rigour, will integrate Christian contributions to their subject within their teaching. Worthy of special note in this context is the initiative of the Council of Church and Associated Colleges in establishing its programme, Engaging the Curriculum. The purpose of the programme is to discern for each academic discipline the Christian understandings which. far from threatening, can enhance its intellectual integrity;

— the prominence given in all public documents and publicity material to the Catholic foundation, and the implications for staff and students;

— a willingness to welcome students and staff irrespective of religious beliefs on the basis of equality and shared humanity.

The Catholic colleges will face further challenges in the future within a structure dominated by a competitive market philosophy. At present there is at least token official recognition of the value of a Christian presence within higher education through the Higher Education Funding Council for England's Joint Advisory Committee for Church Colleges, which was established by the Higher and Further Education Act (1992) and which advises the council on all matters affecting Church colleges. But the future will be influenced considerably by the recommendations of the committee set up by the government under the chairmanship of Sir Ron Dearing to advise it on the future size, shape and funding of higher education. There can be little doubt that the downward pressure on central government funding will continue, and some of the smaller colleges will find it increasingly difficult to maintain an independent existence. The distinctively Catholic features of all may well be difficult to sustain. Strategies to respond to these eventualities need to be addressed urgently. But individually developed strategies are not likely to be successful and effective contributions to the apostolate unless set within the context of a national policy covering the Church's place within higher education in the next century.

4. Conclusion

The policy that emerges from this paper is twofold – the maintenance of Church colleges within the higher education sector, and the maintenance of chaplaincies within individual secular institutions of higher education.

Both parts of that endeavour must recognise that pressures bring opportunities too. They sharpen the awareness of the need for quality and purpose. There is a special opportunity at this time for Catholic chaplaincies and Catholic colleges to recognise their rich heritage and to contribute from it to the whole social and scholarly debate.

It is not a contribution that will be heard uncritically, but it will be heard. It will be heard if it is confident of its own distinctiveness. Each Catholic college proclaims its own understanding of that distinctiveness in its mission statement; all of them lay stress on their fundamental Catholic Christian philosophy. The extent to which the colleges live out those mission statements is the extent of their distinctiveness, and the converse is also true.

Perhaps Catholic chaplaincies should also formulate – and reformulate – their mission statements to ensure that their activities are genuinely engaged with their academic and vocational institutions. Their programmes will then be formative not just of individuals – important as that is – but also of mature collective approaches to the conundrums of the human condition.

A Church which believes in the incarnation will see the potential as well as the threat in the present situation. What it will not do is to disregard that considerable element of its mission to the world which takes place within the sphere of higher education.

On the threshold of a new millennium, of which university culture will be a major component, the duty of proclaiming the Gospel becomes more urgent. It calls for faith communities able to transmit the good news of Christ to all who are formed, who teach and who exercise their activity in the context of university culture. (PCU p. 25.)

Source: Briefing, 17 July 1997, pp. 7-17.

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[Français]
Le Comité pour l'Éducation supérieure de la Conférence épiscopale d'Angleterre et du Pays de Galles propose, en réponse au document interdicastériel La présence de l'Église dans l'université et dans la culture universitaire, une réflexion sur la présence pastorale actuelle de l'Église dans le monde de l'université. Une série de changements, démographiques, culturels et législatifs, a modifié la situation positive d'il y a trente ans. La pensée post-moderne et le changement des relations avec l'Église comme institution ont altéré les modalités d'engagement religieux. Le grand défi pour l'Église est de maintenir une identité authentiquement catholique au sein des rares universités catholiques existantes.

[Español]
El Comité para la educación superior de la Conferencia Episcopal de Inglaterra y Gales ofrece —como respuesta al documento interdicasterial de la Presencia de la Iglesia en la Universidad y en la cultura universitaria— una reflexión sobre la actual presencia pastoral de la Iglesia en el mundo de la educación superior. Una serie de cambios —demográficos, culturales y legales— han modificado una situación marcadamente positiva que existía hace treinta años. Las modalidades de compromiso religioso de la gente han sido alteradas por el pensamiento postmoderno y por el cambio del tipo de relación con la Iglesia institucional. El gran desafío para la Iglesia es el de mantener un ethos que sea genuinamente católico en las pocas universidades católicas que existen.


A LEGAL FRAMEWORK RELATING TO CYBERSPACE
AND PRESERVATION OF A BALANCED
USE OF LANGUAGES IN CYBERSPACE

Message delivered at the 29th UNESCO General Conference on 6 November 1997,
by Fr. Peter Fleetwood – of the Pontifical Council for Culture –
as a member of the Holy See Delegation.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The Holy See is following developments in the Global Information Society and the Global Information Infrastructure with concern and interest, and is paying particular attention to their ethical and cultural implications. Therefore it takes a positive view of UNESCO's role in attempting "to address the ethical, legal and cultural dimensions of cyberspace" (cf. 29 C/23, I.2).

Developments already show how many barriers electronic media can break down. A very positive aspect of cyberspace, as is made clear in the Draft Programme and Budget 1998-1999 (document 29 C/5 nos. 03039 and 04014), is an increased active participation in cultural life for women and children. But the Holy See is aware that precisely these two groups are vulnerable to gross abuse of the electronic media. So ethical considerations ought not to fight shy of the conflict – which has already arisen in some countries – between some people's right to freedom of expression and other people's right to protection. The high value placed, quite rightly, on tolerance needs to include an acceptance of the concomitant duty to exercise tolerance responsibly.

Secondly, the need for a balanced use of languages in cyberspace signals another broken barrier: isolation in simple geographical terms no longer necessarily implies isolation from information. But it seems wise to keep things in perspective, by remembering that more than half the world still has no access to the electronic media, and that every day languages die and minority cultures are put under enormous pressure. Here is a challenge to respond with respect and generosity: those who control information networks are in a position to promote genuine cultural diversity – if they wish to do so. And those who allocate financial resources will recognise that cultural development for all requires greater access for all to the best tools in education. But these things cannot happen unless an ethical framework ensures that voices which it is usually difficult to hear are given a real chance to express themselves.

Thank you very much.


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