.- Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of Oakland has encouraged Catholics to attend the Napa Institute’s first annual conference to respond to the growth of “practical atheism” and a secularism that is “antagonistic towards religion.”
“The conference will be a great occasion to grow both intellectually and spiritually,” the bishop said in a June 1 message.
The conference is organized on the theme “Equipping Catholics in the ‘Next America.’” The theme is taken from a speech by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver, who said that in coming decades “Catholics will likely find it harder, not easier, to influence the course of American culture, or even to live their faith authentically.”
Bishop Cordileone said Chaput’s remark is a “prophetic call.”
Practical atheism and secularism are “steadily eroding the moral landscape of our country, with consequential detrimental effects on its economic, political and social well-being.”
The bishop explained that the Napa Institute was founded to help Catholics face and engage these challenges.
The conference will take place July 28-31 in the Napa Valley at the Meritage Resort and Spa.
Bishop Cordileone said that the first day of the conference will focus on Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical “Caritas In Veritate,” which discusses the ways in which charity directed by truth can be expressed in politics and economics. Speakers will focus on how the encyclical helps resolve questions about immigration.
Speakers on this topic include Archbishop Jose Gomez, Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop Alex J. Brunett and scripture scholar Dr. Tim Gray.
The conference’s second day will focus on why faith makes sense. Writers Bill McGurn, George Weigel and Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., will provide evidence for the reasonableness of faith.
On the third day, Bishop Jaime Soto, Mother Assumpta Long, O.P., Tim Gray and McGurn will discuss “The Cost of Discipleship.”
Daily Mass will be offered at the event and confession will be available for all attendees.
On Sunday July 31, Bishop Cordileone will celebrate the Solemn Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form and also preach the homily.
More information about the conference is available at the Napa Institute website, http://www.napa-institute.org.