.- Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, presented today at the Vatican the "vademecum" or handbook for Catholic Cultural Centers, edited by his dicastery.
Along with Bishop Giuseppe Betori, secretary general of the Italian Episcopal Conference, Cardinal Poupard told reporters that the vademecum is the outcome of international meetings of Catholic Cultural Centers "in culturally and geographically homogenous areas."
Cardinal Poupard said that behind the title, "Catholic Cultural Center," there are "extremely diversified realities, characterized by many activities and interests" where the essential goal is "to put the Christian faith in touch with culture and the cultures of our time, and with all related phenomena. Therefore, the relationship between faith and culture is the essential area in which all the Catholic Cultural Centers operate."
"In order to bridge the gap between faith and culture, between the Gospel and daily experience, between the proclamation of Christ and the indifference and atheism of so many men and women of our time, the Church has made great steps," he said.
In addition to interventions by the Magisterium and pastors, he added, "local action from the ground level is necessary, action which takes places locally, which values cultural traditions of every reality, which responds to the needs of a specific population."
Bishop Betori spoke about the "cultural project based on the Christian tradition," which he said, "is an initiative that the Italian Church has promoted for almost eight years and whose objective is to make a connection between the Gospel and culture."
The Pontifical Council for Culture has published an international directory of all the Catholic Cultural Centers, which can be found on their official web site. The directory of Italian Cultural Centers has been published as a separate booklet.
Currently, there are 341 registered cultural centers, which operate in Italy and collaborate in different ways with the national service for the cultural project. The handbook presented today contains the addresses of these centers, as well as information on the "general mission, the initiatives and cultural services they offer." For more information, consult the web site: www.progettoculturale.it