The Holy See fosters, through the Pontifical Council for Culture, local initiatives and meetings between major actors from the cultural sphere. It organises international meetings for academics in various fields and practitioners of film, literature, music and fine arts, etc. In cooperation with local Episcopal commissions, it also encourages projects and provides expertise and a network of contacts.
Some institutes mandated by the Holy See such as The Pontifical Universities develop research in academic fields that can be applied to culture such as historical sciences, sociology, art etc.
Due to the specificity of the Holy See, the main instrument of international co-operation is attendance at and moral patronage of meetings and organising committees, whereby it provides expertise, encouragement and access to its extended network of relations. International meetings of specialists from various disciplines on one theme foster inroads into a better understanding of various cultures.
The place of culture within universities overseen by the Holy See has changed rapidly in the last decade as the Vatican Council II document Gaudium et spes, which has a chapter dedicated to culture, continues to take effect. Many universities now have centres for culture, and culture is considered a transversal element which reaches across different faculties and courses. Some specific courses on educational culture exist. Furthermore, with the increasing mobility of catechists and clergy, many local education centres have been set up in order to help them “inculturate”, that is understand and respect, use and embrace the local cultural way of life. These elements are all in accordance with the fundamental principles of the faith. From Canada to South Africa, Vietnam to Ireland, such centres follow similar patterns, imparting local language and idiom, and introducing understanding of local culture, history and symbol.