Cardinal Ravasi: The Sophisticated
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi is President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and considered an intellectual like Benedict XVI. The 70 year-old Bible expert has also a reputation as an expert on media and youth culture.
Ravasi has published vast numbers of books on Bible topics and writes for Italian newspapers. Since 2007, the internationally renowned Biblical scholar heads the Pontifical Council of culture. Through his Office and also with his initiative “Court of the Gentiles” he tries to push the conversation between Church and contemporary art, culture and, in the tradition of Cardinal Konig – Agnostics and Atheists. However, he lacks the pastoral experience. This résumé might limit his chances, in case the voting Cardinals should decide they want an experienced priest as new Pope, and not again a Professor.
Ravasi was born in 1942 in the Lombardy. He was ordained a priest in 1966. The appointment as an Archbishop was connected with his appointment as the President of the Culture Council, and became Cardinal in November 2010. Prior to his appointment at the Vatican, Ravasi was prefect of the Milan Ambrosiana library. Benedict XVI. entrusted him with the management of the two Pontifical Commissions for the cultural assets and the Christian archeology.
The archaeologist Ravasi one of Italy’s most respected Bible and Judaic scholars, he is proficient in some old and speaks several new languages. He is also a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. For Pope Benedict XVI. he wrote the meditation texts for the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum at Easter – a privilege that is considered an act of faith.
Expert on youth culture and Winehouse fan
Ravasi is extremely open-minded regarding new media: he is one of the most avid Twitter users among the Cardinals, operates two blogs, and has his own show on Italian television. The 70-year-old is regarded as expert on youth culture. Before a meeting of the Cultural Council on “current trends in youth culture”, shortly before the resignation of Benedict XVI., he outed himself as a fan of the late British soul singer Amy Winehouse. In her music there is “a deep search for meaning.”
The Church is in risk to lose future generations, “if we do not learn to understand today’s youth, their language and culture,” warns Ravasi.
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