action of the Spirit in man.” (Redemptoris missio, December 7, 1990, 29).
Intercultural education cuts across the Church in every dimension of its being. The works of theologians, such as “the theology of religions”, “inter-religious dialogue” and the “spirituality of inculturation”, etc., must not remain the domain of specialists but are destined to animate the daily life of the Church, the laity above all, creating a “dialogue of life”, a new living in the Church, in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council (Gaudium et spes). Interculturality in our daily life is the general background against which all of our dialogue takes place, in four different areas: “The dialogue of life, where we make an effort to live in a spirit of openness and neighbourliness, sharing the joys and sorrows of others, their problems and their human suffering; the dialogue of labour, in which Christians and others collaborate to bring about integral development and the liberation of peoples; the dialogue of theological sharing, in which experts work toward deepening their understanding of each others’ religious traditions and appreciating each others’ spiritual values, and the dialogue of religious experience, in which people deeply rooted in their own religious traditions share their spiritual heritage, for example regarding prayer and contemplation, faith and the search for God and the Absolute” (Dialogue and Proclamation, May 19, 1991, 42).
3. Several Concrete Proposals concerning the prophetic role of the Church, pilgrim on the roads of the modern world.
The theologian Johann B. Metz responds to the problem of multi-culturality in an era of globalization with a “world program for Christianity”, based on “compassion”: “an inheritance the European mentality received from the Bible, just as theoretical curiosity derives from our Greek heritage and juridical thought from the Roman” (Compassion, Freiburg, Herder 2000, 13-14). This kind of educational initiative, grounded in “compassion”, could “animate the moral and social behaviour of adolescents in highly complex and pluralistic societies in a socio-religious sense”. Since this term is both theological and ethical, “compassion urges us to the front of political, social and cultural conflict in the world today. The ability to perceive and express the suffering of others is the unconditional prerequisite for all policies of peace in future, of every new form of social solidarity in the widening gap between poor and rich, and every promising area of agreement between culture and religion”. An integral part of Johann B. Metz’s ‘post-Auschwitz’ anamnetic theological program, as an answer to the challenges of globalization, is an educational program that would affirm Christian identity and invite to dialogue so that “Europe will become a thriving multi-cultural place, free of conflict, in a scenario of peace and not of imploding violence”.
Johann B. Metz’s research on a “world program” is not the last in a series of attempts to find a new logo for Christianity, like some catchy publicity phrase, but is meant to express a corporate identity which has always existed. The ‘diaconate of truth’ referred to above is a manifestation of the memory of its evangelical identity and, moreover, provides humble and compassionate service to the field of education. Intercultural dialogue is a sign of maturity – personal and institutional – in that a person who is sure of his own convictions can enable others to find themselves in complete respect for their diversity. A host who shares “new and old things from his treasure” (Mt 13:52) becomes the image of dialogue-centered, interactive education.