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Holy See/ 2. General objectives and principles of cultural policy  

2.3 Cultural policy objectives

The Holy See is a signatory of the European Declaration on Cultural Objectives (Berlin 1984) and adheres to the European Cultural Convention since 1962. It sees the declaration as a major step to generate a common awareness among policy makers for concerted action in the cultural sphere. The values incorporated in the document inform the action plan of the Holy See.

From the 19th century to the present day, the Catholic Church has been building a body of doctrine on social life and the fundamental issues of human life. These commitments include the freedom of every human being, respect for each individual and the struggle against all forms of discrimination.

The objectives of the Holy See's cultural policy are contained in the foundational letter of the Pontifical Council for Culture (1982):

  • the Council undertakes appropriate initiatives to promote dialogue between the faith and cultures, and between different cultures. It follows up on initiatives generated by various Church institutions and collaborates with bishops' conferences;
  • it participates in meetings to examine ways to establish a dialogue with those who do not believe in God or profess no religion, whenever they are open to sincere collaboration;
  • it monitors and co-ordinates the work of the Pontifical Academies, while respecting the autonomy of the latter in their respective research programmes, promoting interdisciplinary research and making their work more widely known;
  • it co-ordinates the participation of the Holy See's cultural institutions in the work of the dicasteries;
  • it promotes dialogue with bishops' conferences so that the whole Church may benefit from the research, initiatives, achievements and creations that allow local Churches to establish an active presence in their own cultural environments;
  • it collaborates with Catholic international, university, historical, philosophical, theological, scientific, artistic and intellectual organisations, and promotes co-operation between them;
  • it monitors (in a way appropriate to it and taking account of the authority and expertise of other curial bodies in this field) of the activities of international bodies-especially UNESCO and the Council for Cultural Co-operation of the Council of Europe-and ensures the effective participation of the Holy See in international congresses on science, culture and education;
  • it monitors cultural policies and activities of governments throughout the world;
  • it encourages dialogue between the Church and cultures on the level of universities, research centres and organisations of artists, researchers, scholars and other experts, and promotes meaningful meetings in and for these cultural spheres; and
  • it hosts representatives of culture interested in learning more about the activities of the Catholic Church and offers them a place for meetings and dialogue in Rome.

Chapter published: 02-12-2009

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