Dialogue Forum to Take Up Problem of Superficiality

Cardinal: 1st Courtyard of the Gentiles Event a Success

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ROME, MARCH 28, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The official launch of the new Vatican forum for dialogue with non-believers was a success, according to the president of the pontifical council that sponsors it.



Now, the Courtyard of the Gentiles will expand its reach, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi told Vatican Radio.

"In the future," he said, "we must address not only atheism or the questions that high-profile non-believers pose, but also, perhaps, superficiality and the absence of questions in confrontations with the faith that are often found at a lower level."

This was the review the cardinal gave of last Thursday's and Friday's official launch of a new forum for dialogue between believers and nonbelievers.

The initiative, promoted by the Pontifical Council for Culture, takes up a suggestion made by Benedict XVI in December of 2009 to create a space for dialogue "with those to whom religion is something foreign, to whom God is unknown and who nevertheless do not want to be left merely Godless, but rather to draw near to him, albeit as the Unknown."

Taking the baton

Cardinal Ravasi said the Paris event should "become a model," taking into account variations for other cities and also for mass participation, "with a wider horizon."

For now, the Church in France is ready to take up the initiative and continue with it.

The cardinal recounted his plans to entrust the project to the Paris Collège des Bernardins.

The Vatican official pointed to another manifestation of the desire to continue the initiative: "One of the major non-believing French philosophers, Luc Ferry, requested a meeting with me because he wants me, together with him, to write a text for one of the main French publishing houses, and -- this is the curious thing -- on John's Gospel."

Cardinal Ravasi added, "In fact, we from the Holy See came only to plant a seed, a germ; it will then be their task to make it flower."