The Vatican's Courtyard of the Gentiles initiative was launched Thursday at the Paris headquarters of UNESCO, in the presence of diplomats, international officials and representatives of the world of culture. The initiative, promoted by the Pontifical Council for Culture, takes up a suggestion of Pope Benedict 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," Zenit reports. Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, chose the French capital to launch the forum because of its symbolic status as the home of the Enlightenment and its impact on the world. "You wish to be together to meet and to dialogue about the great questions of human existence," Pope Benedict said in a video message for the event. "Those of you who are nonbelievers want to take believers to task, demanding from them the witness of a life consistent with what they profess and rejecting any deviation that makes religion inhuman." "You who are believers," he added, "you want to say that the question of God is not a threat to society, it does not threaten human life! The question of God must not be absent from the great human questions of our time. "You have much to say to each other... I profoundly believe that the meeting between the reality of faith and reason allows man to find himself," the Pope said. SOURCE Courtyard of the Gentiles Seen As Turning Point for Dialogue (Zenit) PHOTO Flickr user Matthias Ripp, Bamberg, Germany (Wikipedia/CC 2.0)
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