The Pontifical Council for Culture holds regular meetings of those responsible for commissions for culture, which are departments of Episcopal Conferences – institutions set up broadly along regional, national, or international lines. These meetings, held at continental levels, aim at strengthening ties and cooperation between cultural entities and at fostering intercultural dialogue.
Local organisations run by the Catholic Church seek, with local initiative, to foster inter-religious and intercultural dialogue: for instance, the Cultural Movement in Antelias (Lebanon) or the Centre for Study of World Religions in Bangladore (India) are trying to get people to discover and respect their neighbour’s culture and religion through dialogue and by raising mutual curiosity.
The Holy See organises, periodically, the World Youth Day, a week of celebration, prayer and catechism gathering more than a million young Catholics around the Sovereign Pontiff. One of the consequences of this world event is inter-cultural meeting, dialogue, and mutual influence under informal circumstances. Funding is provided by the Church, in particular through the local diocese and official sponsors, for artists of all genres to be have adequate space and resources to put their gifts as the service of the various events.
Intercultural dialogue: actors, strategies, programmes
Intercultural and Interreligious dialogue are important issues for the Holy See, in order to ensure a better understanding among people. Initiatives in cooperation are important in this twofold area, such as the Study Day of 4 December 2008 dedicated to “Cultures and Religions in Dialogue”.
Intercultural dialogue is enshrined in the Pontifical Council for Culture Foundation letter written by John-Paul II (see at http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/cultr/index.htm). One of its core missions is to foster intercultural dialogue and it encourages all entities working in collaboration with it to also promote this issue (i.e. the Episcopal commissions for culture and local cultural centres claiming links with the Catholic Church).
Although its range of action is worldwide, the Pontifical Council for Culture is also responsible for promoting intercultural dialogue inside the Vatican. It does so through its own publications, by organising annual interdicasterial meetings, in its contributions to the consultative processes for documents of other internal entities and by promoting premieres, exhibitions, film awards, etc. Other institutions actively involved in this intercultural dialogue are the media directly linked to or depending upon the Vatican: i.e. L’Osservatore Romano, L’Editrice Vaticana (Vatican Publishing House), and Vatican Radio. Due to the special status of the Vatican, there are no private actors in the field of culture, with the exception of patrons who occasionally sponsor some cultural initiatives.