Vatican meeting seeks to promote culture, economy in 'new world' of Asia
Asian ambassadors meet with Pontifical Council for Culture officials on March 10
Asian ambassadors meet with Pontifical Council for Culture officials on March 10
By Alan Holdren
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi and the Pontifical Council for Culture are looking to the “new world” in Asia and other emerging nations for a greater understanding of how to build solidarity and cooperation to better confront the important issues of the day.

Ambassadors and diplomatic representatives from 20 Asian nations met with members of the Pontifical Council for Culture and other Vatican departments on March 10 in the council's Rome headquarters.

Cardinal Ravasi, president of the council, said he hoped the meeting would increase understanding in the region and promote a “different coexistence” between peoples.

He emphasized the importance of economy to the promotion of culture. A true economy, said the cardinal, is “humanistic,” that is, it is focused on serving man's growth in every aspect and not just in providing for his basic necessities.

Each nation can contribute to the discussion on improving economy, and therefore culture, by offering its vision on the interaction between faith, science, secularism, art, communications 'languages,' and intercultural relations, he said.

“The fundamental task,” he asserted, “is to establish 'interculturality'--dialogue between cultures," avoiding extremism on the one side and the indiscriminate mixing of religions, on the other.

Msgr. Bartelemy Adoukonou, an official at the pontifical council, fleshed out the value of “interculturality” and multiculturalism. Dialogue between ethnic and religious communities, he said, is important to confronting the “dictatorship of relativism” today.

The keynote address on culture and economic development was delivered by South Korean Ambassador Thomas Hong-Soon Han, who is also an economist.

His overriding theme was the great, worldwide inequality between the small number of rich people and the enormous number of those who are poor.

He decried the “scale of global inequality”and an income gap that sees nearly half of the world's people living on two dollars per day. A quarter of the world’s population, he said, survives without proper sanitation because it lacks dependable access to water.

Hong-Soon Han also spoke of other barriers to genuine human development, including “high-tech sexism,” a term he used to described how female fetuses are being aborted in favor of males. He said that based on today's imbalance of the sexes, enormous problems are in store for the future of some Asian countries.

More than 101 million women are “missing,” he said. An estimated 86 percent of the 46 million abortions that take place every year in the world are performed in Asia.

Asia must work to defend the lives of its children by curbing abortions, said the ambassador.

He also hoped for greater religious freedom and equality for the citizens of all nations, especially in developing nations throughout the world.

The ambassador quoted Pope Paul VI to say that there is no greater structure than “human responsibility” to generate genuine development in the world.

Australia’s Ambassador Timothy Fischer also decried the “artificial gender tilting” taking place in some countries. Such a campaign, he said, “will lead to the death of a nation.”

He highlighted the same “fault lines” existing in the income gap between rich and poor and the “time bomb” of illiteracy in some places in Asia, but also in inner-city America.

Mr. Fischer also proposed the idea of the measure of “Gross national happiness,” which the Asian Kingdom of Bhutan has been advocating. Happiness, he said, depends on man's well-being and there are "fault lines" today that threaten greater good in blocking proper wealth distribution and the availability of education.

Discussion followed in which the ambassadors proposed historic points of interaction and solidarity. One ambassador asked for a consultation on how to approach the bureaucracy of international aid organizations, another expressed interest in promoting a world with fewer national borders and greater solidarity.

Cardinal Ravasi told CNA afterward that encounter was particularly significant because it was “a look to the continent of Asia where the emergent cultures are asserting themselves not only on economic and social levels ... but also because they come carrying a great tradition with them made of culture, wisdom, poetry and also and most importantly of ethics.

“We in the West must look at this new world and its language,” he said.

This is relevant to the Church because it lends to a new reflection on the concept of ethics, not only for new techniques to approach financial systems, but also to examine the social dimension of how cultures live together, he said. It is also necessary for keeping the human element at the center of the process of scientific development.

“Finally,” he said, “it is a way to ensure that dialogue between cultures—interculturality—permits peoples not only to coexist beside each other as occurs with multiculturalism but to meet, speak, (and) dialogue, but most of all to conserve self identity without fundamentalisms and without syncretisms without isolationism and without confusion.”

The Pontifical Council for Culture expects greater collaboration and cooperation from the ambassadors through meetings such as this one. African ambassadors will be meeting with the council in October 2011 and those from Latin America will likely be invited for a similar encounter in December.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea

Liturgical Calendar

December 22, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27


Daily Readings

First Reading:: 1 Sam 1: 24-28
Gospel:: Lk 1: 46-56

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27