on the occasion of the presentation of the

Anthology "Faith and Culture"

Friday, 9 January 2004

Your Eminence,
Dear Members of the Pontifical Council for Culture,

Thank you for your visit. I address my cordial welcome to each one. I greet in particular Cardinal Paul Poupard, your President, and I am grateful to him for his courteous words on behalf of everyone present.

The book that you are presenting to me today contains the most important texts of the Popes from Leo XIII to the present day on the relationship between faith and culture. The volume is a further testimony that down the ages the papal Magisterium has always fostered a positive vision of relations between the Church and those who play the lead in the world of culture. In fact, the cultural environment constitutes an important areopagus of the Church's missionary action.

In recent years, following in the footsteps of my venerable Predecessors, I too have sought to keep up a constant dialogue with the exponents of culture, presenting to the men and women of the third millennium the saving message of Christ.

Dear friends, may God accompany you in your daily work. I invoke upon you the constant protection of Mary, Seat of Wisdom, so that she will make your efforts to spread the Gospel fruitful. With these sentiments, I cordially bless you, together with all your loved ones.