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Ratzinger wary of secular culture

The Catholic faith is open to all that is "great, true and pure in the culture," but that openness should not be interpreted as naiveté, according to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

The "Gospel will always cause a cut that purifies and heals culture," says Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

He made his observation on Saturday at the conclusion of a congress on culture in the communications age. The congress, held in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, was organised by the Italian bishops' conference.

In his address, entitled "Communication and Culture: New Ways for Evangelisation in the Third Millennium," Cardinal Ratzinger emphasized that evangelization is not mere assimilation to the prevailing culture.

"Faith has always been critical of culture, and today it must be more intrepid and courageous," he said. "Faith is a 'cut,' an opposition to every element of culture that closes the doors to the Gospel."

Cardinal Ratzinger urged the agents of culture and communications in the audience, before John Paul II addressed them, to have "a critical and courageous faith" and expressed opposition to the "easy irenic options and cultural degenerations of the present."

He urged his audience to be especially on the lookout for "the threats to life, attacks on the family based on marriage, the relegation of faith to the subjective realm, the secularisation of public conscience, and the fragmentation and relativizing of ethics."


12 Nov 2002