The Holy See
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Catholic Cultural Centres
4th edition, 2005



The bridging of the gap between faith and culture, between the Gospel and everyday life, and between the proclamation of the Message and the indifference and practical atheism of many men and women of our time, is the goal of the inculturation of the Gospel and the evangelisation of cultures at the dawn of the third millennium. On the basis of the teaching of the Magisterium, it consists in a widespread and local approach developed and articulated at the ground level, the use and strengthening of local cultural traditions, and a response to the needs and expectations of particular communities. Hence the place of Catholic Cultural Centres is at the forefront of evangelisation.

Therefore, I am pleased to be able to present the fourth edition of the International Directory of Catholic Cultural Centres, which is meant to foster more frequent communication and more effective co-operation between the centres. This new revised, updated and expanded edition of the Directory shows the rich and varied character of Catholic cultural centres, in terms of what they are called: cultural centres or circles, academies, university foundations, houses for cultural formation etc; their orientation: theological, scientific, educational, artistic etc; the areas they cover: cultural trends, values, inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue, science, art etc; and the activities undertaken: talks, debates, courses, seminars, publications, libraries, cultural events, exhibitions etc. So the very title “Catholic cultural centre” is to be understood in a broad sense, reflecting the rich diversity of cultural situations in different countries, where different interests and activities respond to the local needs in sync with the social and cultural traditions of each place.

For all their rich variety, these centres have one thing in common: the cultural activities they offer reflect their constant concern for the relationship between faith and cultures. This relationship is developed through dialogue, scientific research, personal formation and the promotion of a culture which faith inspires and makes fruitful, lively and dynamic.

Catholic cultural centres are public forums, places where people meet and reflect, study and learn, exchange ideas and develop the dialogue between faith and cultures. In the broad context of globalisation, they offer Catholics and anyone else interested in culture opportunities for useful contact and conversation about the world and history, religion, culture and science, all of which helps to discern those values that can throw new light on existence and give meaning to life (cf. Ecclesia in Africa, 103).

There have already been some fruitful meetings of centres in different cultural regions: in Paris in France, Munich in Germany, Barcelona in Spain, Bologna, Milan and Rome in Italy, Fatqa near Beirut in the Lebanon, S¸umuleu-Ciuc in Romania and Puebla in Mexico, Valparaíso in Chile, João Pessoa and San Pãolo in Brazil. This kind of pooling of experiences has been enriching for those taking part, who have come to know each other better, and it has boosted the activities of the centres by supplying fresh creative insights.

In order to help Catholic Cultural Centres in their work, the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Italian Episcopal Conference have published a Vademecum divided into three parts: Why? What are they? and What do they do? Together with this Directory they make up a useful and precious resource for discernment and pastoral activity.

The forms enclosed may be filled in and sent to the Pontifical Council for Culture. This will mean new centres can be included in the next edition. Useful details concerning this International Directory will also be most welcome: changes of address and, above all, telephone and fax numbers and e-mail and web addresses.

With these additions this reference and consultation document will encourage better co-ordination and co-operation between the centres, and increase their influence and effectiveness throughout the world, so that they can promote and animate an ever more fruitful dialogue between faith and cultures, Novo Millennio Ineunte.



Paul Cardinal Poupard

President, Pontifical Council for Culture