Pope focusing on the "joy of evangelization", dialogue and respect between religions and cultures
Benedict XVI, in a message to the Asian bishops attending the Pan-Asian meeting of the Pontifical Council for Culture, invites the Church to renew its missionary spirit. He defines Asia as "a fertile ground for the Word of God".

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – On the eve of his departure for Turkey, Benedict XVI talks again of the importance of inter-faith dialogue and mutual respect. He did so in a message sent to Card Paul Poupard, chairman of the Pontifical Council for Culture and of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue.

The occasion was the Pan-Asian meeting of members and consultors of the Pontifical Council for Culture and the chairmen of National Bishops' Commissions for Culture which opened yesterday and will close on November 30.

In his letter the Pope underscores the "great need for the whole Church to rediscover the joy of evangelization, to become a community inspired with missionary zeal to make Jesus better known and loved".

For Benedict XVI Asia is "fertile ground where the Word of God can be sown and bring forth a rich harvest".

Hence, he urges participants to "discover new ways of proclaiming the fullness of the Gospel of Christ to the peoples of Asia, new ways of evangelizing those cultures".

But evangelisation, the Pope explains, "has to be accompanied by a commitment to sincere and authentic dialogue between cultures and between religions, marked by respect, reciprocity, openness and charity."

Finally, in his message, Benedict XVI invites the participants to remember that "evangelization and inculturation constitute an inseparable pair, both elements of which must be present if the Gospel of Christ is truly to become incarnate in the lives of people of every race, nation, tribe and language."