Asia is geographically and often culturally distant from Rome but its peoples are also open, ready and willing to dialogue with the Gospel and the Catholic Church. The various peoples have a deep-rooted spirituality and are enamoured by the quest for the divine. Except for the Philippines and East Timor, the Catholics are in a small minority swamped by vast majorities and often live in very uncertain and difficult circumstances. To be underlined is the fact that often the Catholic community is struggling for survival in the face of open persecution or religious extremism in many parts of Asia. These communities have a possibility of intercultural dialogue and activity when they cannot openly live their religion. There are huge cultural challenges because of the plurality of religions and diversity of cultures. Therefore issues like evangelization, inter-religious and intercultural dialogue, inculturation, communications and language gain importance. There is a large youth population at times up to 60-70 % in some countries which needs to be addressed.
The Department engages in the following tasks:
- A close collaboration with the different departments within the Dicastery for study and research on the cultural situations in particular areas.
- Working in collaboration with other Dicasteries specially the Propaganda Fide, and the Council for Inter-religious Dialogue in the field of Evangelization of Cultures, Inculturation of the Faith and intercultural dialogue.
- Working with National Episcopal Conferences and the Federations of Episcopal Conferences like the FABC in Asia and SECAM in Africa.
- Working with individual Bishops wherever possible and encouraging and participating in national level meetings on subjects in the Cultural field.
- Cultivating and promoting Catholic Cultures Centres.
- Holding Continental meetings of the Members, and Consultors of the Dicastery and Presidents of Episcopal Commissions for Culture for galvanising the members, as well as for promoting the Dicastery activities.
- Working with Non-Governmental Organisations in the cultural field.
- Cooperation with Ambassadors.
- Interaction with Journalists and Associations in Europe who are interested in Asia and Africa.
- Identifying local journals and magazines and offer them material for publication.