Charisma and Creativity

Charisma and Creativity

The International Conference promoted by The Holy See on cataloguing, management and innovation of the cultural heritage of the Institutes of Consecrated Life.

The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolical Life and the Pontifical Council for Culture are organizing an international conference on the future of the cultural heritage of religious communities entitled “Charisma & Creativity“.

While the territorial stability of the dioceses also guarantees the stability of their cultural assets, the intermittency of the presence of religious orders always puts their cultural heritage at risk of abandonment, degradation or removal.

This issue is extremely urgent both in relation to the very rapid decline in the numbers of religious communities in Northern Europe and in relation to the fact that the conditions for the protection of this heritage are very different. They depend on direct orders, individual houses and individual initiatives. In some cases, movable and archival assets are registered and filed, others are only photographed, and in other cases, they are only accumulated or even forgotten.

As Davide Dimodugno wrote in his article promoting the conference  “According to some recent studies regarding Italy, in fact, in the absence of a significant turnover, by 2046 there could be the zeroing of religious communities with the consequent problem of the management of their houses, convents and immense cultural heritage.”

This conference arises from a new point of view on cultural heritage that has been opening up within the Church in the last few years. The Church has realized that its cultural heritage, even if privately owned, is not truly private property. It is part of the cultural identity and heritage of its local community, and of the world.

From this perspective, cultural heritage can become a new bridge for intercultural dialogue, and provide new material for planning the Church’s own activities, as well as promoting its pastoral and missionary goals.

A call for papers for the conference is available on the conference website. Contributions are welcome from members of the Institutes of Consecrated Life but also university professors, researchers, associations and their collaborators engaged in the management and valorisation of cultural heritage.

Leading up to the conference, Cardinal Ravasi has intervened with an interview on the Il Giornale dell’Architettura, declaring that “The challenge that opens up today, which this conference wants to address is to intuit and build strategies to correspond to current times, involving the entire wealth of religious communities: both that of their deep spiritual heritage and that of their material, cultural one”.

The conference, which was recently postponed to 4-5 May 2022 due to the current global health situation, will not be just a place for sharing experiences and reflections. It will be the occasion for a formulation of new strategies for the systemic management of the Church’s cultural heritage, as Cardinal Ravasi himself reveals in the same interview.

The Conference is, therefore, an event of particular interest for the members and friends of FRH.

Luigi Bartolomei, Bologna, Italy 2021

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