Loading
Vatican looks to expand dialogue with non-believers to US
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi

.- As Paris prepares to host a new forum for dialogue between believers and non-believers, the Vatican official in charge of the initiative sees interest cropping up all over the globe.

The first major "Courtyard of the Gentiles" meeting is due to take place this March 24-25 in the French capital. The Pontifical Council for Culture-promoted program aims to engage leaders of French culture in dialogue on issues of religion, enlightenment and common reason.

Important sites of culture, including the storied Sorbonne University, have been chosen for a series of encounters.

There will also be a moment for young people to meet in a more public "courtyard," the large square outside the Basilica of Notre Dame, to have discussions. Pope Benedict XVI will address the young people in a video message. Inside the basilica, the ecumenical Taize community will be leading a prayer service.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the head of the council for culture, told Vatican Radio Feb. 5 that interest is being generated around the world. The council has heard from a number of cities interested in the possibility of hosting such a forum of their own.

One institution, the University of Bologna, Italy – called the Alma Mater Studiorum ­– plans to hold a gathering next week, ahead of the Paris event in March.

On Feb. 12, the university will bring back the tradition of "disputed questions." Cardinal Ravasi said that this was traditionally an exchange of opinions on a variety of subjects, whereas questions in the coming event will pertain to matters of belief and non-belief.

During the talks, four professors will exchange viewpoints on God while examining law, philosophy, literature and science. Teachings from Pascal, St. Augustine and Nietzsche will be read aloud by another participant in between the academics' remarks.

For Cardinal Ravasi, the amount of interest is "very surprising." His original plan in Paris –what he called "the city-emblem of secularism" – was to host a more low-key event at a Catholic institution.

"Then, though, I saw this branching out. And this branching out is extending itself ever further and with very different typologies. It will now be our task to continue it, but most of all to allow others to do it."

The council is thinking of staging one in Tirana, Albania and is thinking about setting up another in Stockholm, Sweden in November of this year. The latter event would be particularly "curious," he said, because of the initiative's Catholic roots and expected participation from Lutherans.

For the cardinal, there is no limit to the possibilities. He spoke of "crossing the ocean and going to the most remote countries, beginning with the United States, where there has already been interest in Chicago and Washington."

Afterwards, he is setting his sights on countries with a small population of Catholics but a presence of "a religiosity of another kind."

"Let's think to Asia," he said.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
23

Liturgical Calendar

April 23, 2014

Wednesday within the Octa ve of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Gospel
Date
04/22/14
04/21/14
04/20/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:1-10
Gospel:: Lk 24:13-35

Saint of the Day

St. Adalbert of Prague »

Saint
Date
04/21/14
04/20/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Homily
Date
04/22/14
04/21/14
04/20/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: