by Edward Pentin
ROME, DEC. 17, 2009 (Zenit.org).- It's hard to imagine a serious conference on the importance of God in the world taking place in many of the West's capital cities today. If they do take place at all, they usually degenerate into televised spectacles and malicious attacks on the Church.
Yet a three-day conference in Rome last week -- titled "God Today: With Him or Without Him, That Changes Everything" -- successfully brought together leading theologians, philosophers, artists, politicians and Church to discuss, rationally and calmly, the importance and relevance of God to people's daily lives. An estimated 2,500 people -- many of them young people -- filled the auditorium near the Vatican, despite some secularists predicting they would never turn up.
Benedict XVI sent a message underlining the significance of the meeting, which was originally the idea of Cardinal Camillo Ruini and hosted by the Italian bishops conference. "The issue of God," he wrote, "is central in our time, which often tends to reduce man to a single dimension -- the 'horizontal' dimension -- in the belief that his openness to the Transcendent is irrelevant to his life."
Man's relationship with God, he stressed, "is essential for the journey of humankind" and the Church and all Christians have the task of making God present in the world. The Pope then highlighted what made this conference different from the usual sceptical debates about religion.
Its starting point was to show the various paths that lead to affirming the truth about the existence of God fully revealed through Jesus Christ. It also aimed at throwing light on the essential importance that God has for mankind, for each person's life and his salvation.
"In a cultural and spiritual situation such as the present, where there is a growing tendency to relegate God to the private sphere, to consider him as irrelevant and superfluous, or even to reject him explicitly, it is my heartfelt hope that this event may contribute, at the least, to dispersing the shadow that makes modern man hesitant and timorous before the idea of openness to God," the Pope wrote... Read the whole article.
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- Fr. Christopher George Phillips
- Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.