During his remarks at the opening of the International University Forum of Campidoglio, whose theme is “Gospel: Culture and Cultures,” Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone underscored that the “Gospel reaches man at his specific point in history,” and that culture “represents the way for encountering the truth, so man can develop himself and the human family.”
If in the past, Cardinal Bertone explained, “culture was an expression of the civility of a people or a community, with its values and customs; in today’s society the idea of the primacy of culture as knowledge is emerging, to the point of assuming a genetic role in civility.”
This change, he said, “is creating several difficulties in the understanding of the concept of culture, which assumes an ever more ambiguous and undefined meaning.”
Cardinal Bertone went on to state that evangelization is never in opposition with the culture of different civilizations, but rather it encounters them all to assist with the realism of the faith in the salvific work of Christ, in order to sustain the development of the culture so that each culture can be freed of prejudices and ideological instrumentalization.
In this context, the experience of St. Paul in the Aeropagus—the cultural center of ancient Greece where the Apostle also proclaimed the Gospel—becomes amazingly current, the cardinal explained. “The spiritual and socio-economic crisis, which has been hammering people and nations in the opening years of the third millennium, calls us to tirelessly work for the encounter between the Church and the university, so that the university can respond to the new expectations of society and the Church can continue proclaiming the presence of God in history,” Cardinal Bertone concluded.