Pope John Paul II Cultural CenterEdit profile
The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center is a Roman Catholic museum and think tank in Washington, D.C. The concept for the center began at a meeting between Pope John Paul II and then-Bishop Adam Maida in 1988. The 100,000-square-foot (9,300 m 2) building is set on 12 acres (4.9 ha) adjacent to the Catholic University of America and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The center was opened to the public in a ceremony in March 2001, attended by President George W. Bush, several cardinals, members of Congress and other dignitaries. The Center's original purpose was to explore the intersection of faith and culture through interactive displays, academic discussion and research, and museum exhibits. It has gone through several periods of difficulty and layoffs, with the most recent in May 2006 seeing the dismissal of almost 90% of its staff, and in June 2006, the replacement of its second executive director in less than two years. The Cultural Center is now in a period of reorganization, abandoning its art museum and emphasizing its original goal of exploring faith and culture in an academic context. Pope Benedict XVI met with about 200 representatives of Islam, Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism at the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center on April 17, 2008.