-- ZENIT.org News Agency
Annual Plenary Meeting Will Focus on Emerging Youth Cultures
Pontifical Council for Culture Will Hold Conference in February
VATICAN CITY, January 31, 2013 (Zenit.org) - The annual Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture was presented in a conference this morning in the Press Office of the Holy See. This year's plenary will be dedicated to the theme "Emerging Youth Cultures" and will take place from February 6-9th.
Present at the conference were Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi and Bishop Carlos Alberto de Pinho Moreira Azevedo, respectively president and delegate of that dicastery, along with Fr. Enzo Fortunato, O.F.M. Conv., director of the Sacred Convent of Saint Francis Press Office in Assisi and two youth representatives: Alessio Antonielli of Italy and Farasoa Mihaja Bemahazaka of Madagascar.
In an address presenting the event that was given a few days ago at the Convent of St. Francis in Assisi, Cardinal Ravasi said that its main area of interest would be "youth culture". "Walking down the streets with their ears blocked up with earphones, listening to their music, gives a sign that they are 'disconnected' from the unbearable social, political, and religious complexities that we adults have created," the Cardinal said.
"In a certain sense, they drop their gaze so as to exclude themselves because we have excluded them with our corruption and inconsistency, with uncertainty, unemployment, and marginalization. We parents, teachers, and priests, the ruling class, we must examine our conscience."
Cardinal Ravasi went on to convey the importance of reaching out to the youth of today, who are the "present, not only the future, of humanity." He said that it was important to focus on their faith and trusting in their possibilities.
Bishop Avezedo, during his address at the press conference, laid out the plenary's program, clarifying that its goal is "to objectively enquire into the new, complex, and fragmented phenomenon of youth cultures with the help of experts and listening to the thoughts of the members and consultors of the Pontifical Council for Culture."
The opening ceremony, which will be the only event in the program that will be open to the public, will be held in the Aula Magna of the LUMSA University. A rock concert will also precede the first conference.
The conference, Bishop Avezedo said, will take a look at the youth culture and the issues facing the current generation.
"A few days ago," he commented, "the International Labor Organization said that 73.8 million young persons in the world are seeking employment and that there will be half a million more by 2014. This information raises a series of questions: Is there a distrust of government? Is there a fear of the future? Will the youth take to the streets in protest? Does the myth of eternal youth reveal a lack of value of adults?" Bishop Avezedo said.
"In this context, and after the assembly takes an overall look at the situation, the program will focus on some of the most salient and wide-reaching cultural features such as how the "digital culture revolutionizes the model and the grammar of communications."
Other topics that will be discussed at the conference will be the value of the body, friendship networks, and the delay in attaining self-sufficiency.
Bishop Avezedo also stated that a major incentive of the meeting will be the Holy Father's audience with the members of the conference at the beginning of the plenary meeting.
"For 2,000 years, the Church hasn't had a predetermined artistic style or a predefined language. She looks to the person and the message of Jesus to communicate in these totally 'multi-verse' times. Emerging youth cultures reveal the vulnerability, the insecurity, and the fragility of repetitive formulas. The Pontifical Council for Culture's promising assembly frees us from superficiality and apathy and is unafraid of confronting the truth of cultural situations," Bishop Avezedo said.
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