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Pontifical Council for Culture lecture series to engage North America, starting in Steubenville
Msgr. Melchor Sanchez de Toca y Alameda
Msgr. Melchor Sanchez de Toca y Alameda

.- The Pontifical Council for Culture will begin its “intentional engagement” of North America with a December conference at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Officials from the Pontifical Council will discuss the history of the council’s work and also the Church’s engagement with science after Darwin and Galileo.

The Pontifical Council will host a series of conferences in the U.S. and Canada to strengthen Vatican dialogue with North American audiences, Franciscan University reports. The series, titled “From Sea to Shining Sea: Faith and Culture in North America,” will have its first conference at the Steubenville, Ohio-based university from Dec. 2 to Dec. 4.

Much of the conference will consist of private meetings to lay the foundation for future gatherings, but two lectures will be open to the general public.

On Dec. 3 the undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Msgr. Melchor Sanchez de Toca y Alameda, will deliver the Paul and Barbara Henkels Lecture. His talk is titled “The Church’s Engagement With Science After Darwin and Galileo: Overcoming Cultural Icons.”

Msgr. Sanchez is responsible for all questions concerning the dialogue between science and faith for the Pontifical Council. He is also on the directing committee of the Rome-based organization Science, Theology and Ontological Quest, whose purpose is to strengthen the connections between science, theology and philosophy.

A talk by another official with the Pontifical Council, Richard Rouse, will be delivered on Dec. 2. He will discuss “Engaging With Cultures in the New Evangelization: An Historic Overview of the Pontifical Council for Culture.”

Rouse, who has been with the Council since 2003, serves as its point man in English-speaking countries. He will explain what led to the founding of the Council by Pope John Paul II in 1982.

The conference series will bring together leading North American Catholics with intellectuals from secular or non-Catholic perspectives. Topics for discussion will include man and his place in the world, human dignity, politics, the arts, and science.

Dr. Max Bonilla, vice president for Academic Affairs at Franciscan University of Steubenville and North American coordinator of the conference series, said that the project begins the “intentional engagement” of North America, which he described as one of the key populations within the Church.

“The Council for Culture is very attentive to the Holy Father’s desires for the proclamation of the Gospel and the promotion of a dialogue between faith and culture throughout the world. This will provide what, with God’s blessing, will be a strong network of communication for a fruitful dialogue in this area of the world,” Dr. Bonilla explained.

The Pontifical Council is tasked with advancing dialogue with non-believers and promoting the role of faith in the life of contemporary cultures. It aims “to help people of all cultures become increasingly open to the Gospel so that men and women of science, letters, and the arts may know that the Church acknowledges their work as a service to truth, goodness, and beauty,” according to its Vatican profile.

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