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How to Cover the Catholic Church

Pontifical Council for Culture

Pope John Paul II founded the culture council in 1982, but its roots go back

to the Second Vatican Council’s

Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the

Modern World


Gaudium et Spes

. The council promotes the Gospel’s engage-

ment with contemporary cultures, examines the rift between the Gospel and

various cultural milieus, encourages the study of unbelief and religious indif-

ference and engages in dialogue with non-believers. Pope Benedict XVI has

made the challenge of secularism a hallmark of his papacy and has cast dia-

logue with Islam and other religions as a dialogue of cultures and civilizations

in cooperation against secular society. The council has long worked closely

with the interreligious dialogue office, at times overseeing it. Recent confer-

ences sponsored by the council in Rome and around the world have included

“The Presence and Absence of Christians in Art” and “20th Century Literature

and Catholicism.” In addition the council manages the pontifical academies.

The pontifical academies you’ll most likely need to keep in mind are the

Academy of Sciences

, the

Academy of Social Sciences

, and the


for Life

. Each is nonsectarian and, although associated with the Vatican, oper-

ates autonomously. Each academy is made up of a small central office and

dozens of members, all named to their positions by the pope. Most are univer-

sity professors, of whom several are American. You can find a list of members

in the



The council president is Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi. The secretary is

Bishop Carlos Alberto de Pinho Moreira Azevedo. 06-6989-3811. E-mail .

The president of the Academy of Sciences is Werner Arber. Phone

06-6988-3195. E-mail .

The presidency of the Academy of Social Sciences is Margaret S. Archer.

Phone 06-6988-1441. E-mail .

The president of the Academy for Life is Bishop Ignacio Carrasco de

Paula. Phone 06-6988-1693. E-mail . T

he Web address is .

Pontifical Council for Social Communications

This council does more than just grant accreditation to broadcast journalists

as described earlier. It also organizes World Communications Day, supports

media with a distinct Catholic identity and presents an annual film prize at

the Venice Film Festival. It has issued documents promoting ethical standards