The Pontifical Council for Culture (Latin: Pontificium Consilium de Cultura) is a dicastery of the Roman Curia charged with fostering the relationship of the Catholic Church with different cultures. Pope John Paul II founded it on 20 May 1982.
Following on the emphasis placed by the Second Vatican Counciland by Pope Paul VI on the importance of culture for the full development of the human person, the Pontifical Council was established to foster the relationship between the Gospel and cultures, and to study the phenomenon of indifference in matters of religion. It also fosters relationships between the Holy See and exponents of the world of culture and promotes dialogue with the various contemporary cultures.
The Council has two sections: the Faith and Culture section concentrates on the work the Council did before the Council for Non-Believers was merged with it, while the Dialogue with Cultures section continues the work of the latter Council, establishing dialogue with those who do not believe in God or profess no religion, but who are open to genuine cooperation.
The Council cooperates with episcopal conferences, universities and international organizations such as UNESCO with regard to its field of interest.
The permanent staff at the Council's headquarters consists of little more than a dozen people, including the President (currently Gianfranco Ravasi, the Secretary and the Under-Secretary.
The Council has a slightly larger number of members, who are usually cardinals and bishops appointed by the Pope for five-year terms, who come together for the three-yearly plenary assemblies to evaluate the day-to-day running of the Council and to consider matters of special importance.
The Pope also appoints consultors, who are yet more numerous (priests, religious, and laity predominate in this group), who can be called on at any time for advice and assistance.