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Vatican invites atheists to Assisi meeting dedicated to peace and fraternity
By Deacon Nick, on April 5th, 2011

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/d...rayer.html
Pope Pius XI, pray for us!

"In the first Encyclical Letter which We addressed at the beginning of Our Pontificate to the Bishops of the universal Church, We referred to the chief causes of the difficulties under which mankind was laboring. And We remember saying that these manifold evils in the world were due to the fact that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives; that these had no place either in private affairs or in politics: and we said further, that as long as individuals and states refused to submit to the rule of our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations" (Quas Primas, n. 1; 11 December 1925).
This is really interesting.  Smile

I think it's true enough to say

Quote: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.

but if the Vatican is inviting 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" .... then I suspect the crowd that would happily turn up at Assisi isn't exactly the "New Atheism" crowd. The people who would care enough to commit their time and energy to dialogue, discussion, learning and maybe even prayer ARE seekers at heart. Something in them wants God, and wants His peace. The people who wouldn't bother turning up are those who are so sure that atheism's true that they'd keep themselves busy that entire day, re-reading Chris Hitchens, Sam Harris, Dawkins and the like, or criticizing their fellow non-religious people for wanting to go.

God bless that day at Assisi, and may it go well, may people learn lots, may their hearts be opened, and God bless the Vatican for reaching out.