VATICAN CITY, MAR 13, 2004 (VIS) - Pope John Paul today received the staff and members of the Pontifical Council for Culture at the end of their plenary assembly on the theme "The Christian Faith at the Dawn of the New Millennium and the Challenge of Unbelief and Religious Indifference." He remarked that this challenge that they have been studying "is a vital concern for the Church on all continents."
"You are mapping out," he said, "a new geography of unbelief and religious indifference throughout the world, in which you have noted a break in the process of transmitting the Christian faith and values. At the same time we see the search for meaning by our contemporaries - the desire of every man to understand the deep meaning of his existence - of which cultural phenomena are witnesses, notably in the new religious movements that are very present in South America, Africa and Asia."
The Holy Father continued: "Beyond the crisis of civilizations, of philosophical and moral relativism, it is up to the pastors and faithful to discover and delve into the basic questions and aspirations of the men and women of our time," to dialogue with them and "to propose the Gospel message and person of Christ, the Redeemer. Cultural and artistic expressions are not lacking in riches or resources for the transmission of the Christian message," but they must be known to be lived.
The Pope proposed "a new thrust in the intellectual domain" vis-a-vis the diffusion of ideologies. "It is through philosophical and catechetical formation that young people will learn how to discern the truth. A serious rational approach is a rampart against all that which refers to ideologies, leading to the desire to study ever more deeply, so that philosophy and reason become open to Christ."
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