Vatican invites atheists to Assisi meeting dedicated to peace and fraternity

The Vatican has issued an invitation to non-believers to attend the Day of Reflection, Dialogue, and Prayer to be held at Assisi on the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s historic meeting with leaders of world religions in 1986. The purpose of this invitation to non-believers is not to seek their conversion but to involve all people of good will in the shared witness to peace and fraternity.

‘The Day will take as its theme: ‘Pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace’. Every human being is ultimately a pilgrim in search of truth and goodness. Believers too are constantly journeying towards God: hence the possibility, indeed the necessity, of speaking and entering into dialogue with everyone, believers and unbelievers alike, without sacrificing one’s own identity or indulging in forms of syncretism. To the extent that the pilgrimage of truth is authentically lived, it opens the path to dialogue with the other, it excludes no-one and it commits everyone to be a builder of fraternity and peace. These are the elements that the Holy Father wishes to place at the centre of reflection.’

“For this reason, as well as representatives of Christian communities and of the principal religious traditions, some figures from the world of culture and science will be invited to share the journey – people who, while not professing to be religious, regard themselves as seekers of the truth and are conscious of a shared responsibility for the cause of justice and peace in this world of ours”.

Protect the Pope comment: The Vatican’s invitation to non-believers to attend the Assisi meeting, coupled with the Court of the Gentile’s initiative shows Pope Benedict’s commitment to dialogue and engagement with atheists and humanists. As the communique from the Vatican puts it for this dialogue to be genuine two things are required: neither side must feel pressured to sacrifice their identity and both sides must recognize the other as ‘seekers for the truth’.

In the light of this it is unlikely that the present exponents of New Atheism will become partners in this dialogue because of their avowed goal of destroying religion and their dismissive attacks on believers as knaves and fools. Having said this, who knows how New Atheism will develop in the future? Hopefully it will be able to get out of the shadow of Richard Dawkins.

http://visnews-en.blogspot.com/2011/04/day-of-reflection-dialogue-and-prayer.html

14 comments to Vatican invites atheists to Assisi meeting dedicated to peace and fraternity

  • Pedro

    “In the light of this it is unlikely that the present exponents of New Atheism will become partners in this dialogue because of their avowed goal of destroying religion and their dismissive attacks on believers as knaves and fools.”

    Does that mean I shouldn’t wait by the letter box for an invite?

  • louella

    I hope many atheists will come back into the Fold. The door is always open….and they may just be waiting for an invite or a way in.

    • Pedro

      Thank you louella, you have expressed perfectly why any such “dialogue” is completely meaningless.

      • spesalvi23

        Bah… any more predictable comments? It’s getting bit old, Pedro.
        What’s the purpose of shooting down everything the Church is doing – even if it’s asking to enter into dialogue.
        Sure, you can put a spin an anything.

        The Church doesn’t invite all groups into this -> another example of how ignorant it is to athesits and science.

        The Church invites everybody – including a delegation of intelligent athesits who actually have a reasonable way to argue -> WRONG!!! It’s the wrong crowd!!

        Please… I really don’t know how one can live with so much negativity and scorn.

        • Pedro

          “Bah… any more predictable comments?”

          Really, spesalvi23, you shouldn’t talk to louella like that.

          • spesalvi23

            You know Pedro, I can – because women a lottougher than men… and a LOT more rational.
            (don’t forget – I have three sons – I KNOW!!)

      • Karla

        Not to the athiests and agnostics who attended Court of the Gentiles.

    • Tim

      Louella,

      Would you consider yourself to be a “seeker of the truth” or would you say that you already possessed all important aspects of the truth?.

      • louella

        I don’t possess truth Tim…..but the Church does….at least enough necessary to enable our souls to enter into Heaven…and to make the most of life on a harsh dangerous earth. That is the reason why Christ established the Church in the first place.

        Posessing truth and knowing it is different to achieving Holiness…which I guess is the ultimate aim of every Catholic….and is an ongoing process of learning to love.

  • Karla

    I doubt Dawkins clique will ever be invited.

  • Tim

    genuine question but what are they going to discuss? Is it thesim/atheism or more practical problems in the world?

    • spesalvi23

      It’s about how to implement the desire for peace, which we all share, in our war torn, confict ridden world.

      • Tim

        Thanks. I wish them all well. Although I am not sure why prominant atheists would be expert in these issues justbecause they were atheists.

        wouldn’t the Vatican be better engaging with people like the heads of secular NGOs (regardless of their beliefs) or secular academics who have some claim to be experts in these fields.

        I am reasonably positive about dialogue and think the Pope should take some credit for this, but I am still a bit confused about what it is all about. Is it about mending fences with opponents or will they be talking about practical problems facing the world? If the vatican wants to discuss practical issues (global warming, food security, the arms industry, nuclear disarmament) then wouldn’t they be better talking to experts who are qualified by their expertise rather than their lack of belief?

    • Andrzej

      Tim,

      About truth – you can know the truth, and yet still be far from comprehending it.

      I know, for example, that water is H20 but I accept this truth on faith, so to speak, because my knowledge of chemistry is limited.

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