statue of Saint Helen

Lis-Statwa ta' Sant'Elena Imperatrici Awgusta. [Skultur Salvu Psaila]


Antifona

Fethet idha mal-fqir
meddet idejha lejn
l-imsejken
u l-ħobż ma kilitux
ma tagħmel xejn

Il-Bitħa tal-Ġentili - Courtyard of the Gentiles

In a December 2009 address to the Curia, Pope Benedict "called for an itinerant 'Courtyard of the Gentiles'",an international forum which would foster dialogue between Christian believers and agnostics or atheists. In his Discourse of Foundation to the Pontifical Council for Culture, on December 21, 2009, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI declared "Here I think naturally of the words which Jesus quoted from the Prophet Isaiah, namely that the Temple must be a house of prayer for all the nations (Is 56:7; Mk 11:17). Jesus was thinking of the so called 'Court of the Gentiles' which he cleared of extraneous affaires so that it could be a free space for the Gentiles who wished to pray there.... He was thinking of people who know God, so to speak, only from afar; who are dissatisfied with their own gods, rites and myths; who desire the Pure and the Great, even if God remains for them the 'unknown God'" (Acts 17:23) Today, in assition to interreligioud dialogue, there should be a dialogue with those to whom religion is something foreign, to whom God is unknown and who nevertheless to be left merely Godless, buta rather to draw near to him, albeit as the Unknown. The biblical Court of the Gentiles was a larage outer court in the ancient Temple of Jerusalem that was not reserved for the Jews, but rather was open to any person independent of his culture or religion. Cardinal Ravasi developed the Pope's vision of large, open discussions "between faith and reason, secular culture and the Church." Thanks to which initiative, Cardinal Ravasi "wanted to reintroduce the ancient tradition of the 'disputed questions' - as theyl were called then - while ata that time they had to do with different opinions and theses, in this case they will be between believers and nonbelievers." He added, I am trying to see to it that this danger is avoided". He stated that I want realy fundamental questions to be asked - questions of anthropology, then good and evil, life and afterlife, love, suffering, the meaning of evil - question that are substantially at the basis of human existence. The leading intellectual question to be discussed and highlighted are always in the form of whether one choose a 'World without God' How far can the human person go in the field of creation? Are there limits, and if so, what are they?"



Em. Kard. Gianfranco Ravasi

Gianfranco Ravasi (born 18th October 1942). The oldest of three children, Ravasi was born in Merate, Province of Lecco. His father was an anti-fascist tax official who served in Sicily during World war II, but later deserted the army; it took him 18 months to return to his fammily. Ravasi would later say, "My serch has always been for something permanent, for what is behind transitory, the contingent. I'm fighting loss and death, which probably relates to the absence of my father in my first years. His mother was a schoolteacher. Ravasi decided to join the priesthood instead of teaching Greek and Latin classics, as had been his original desire, and was ordained in 1966. Between 1989 and 2007, he was prefect of the Ambrosian Library and was later appointed President of the Pontifical Commission for the promotion of the New Evangelization and Inter-Religious Dialogue. Pope Benedict had: called for an itinerant 'Courtyard of the Gentiles,"' an international forum which would foster dialogue between Christian believers and agnostics or atheists. Ravasi developed the Pope's vision of large, open discussion: between faith and reason, secular culture and the Church." Ravasi: wanted to reintroduce the ancient tradition of the 'disputed question' - as they were called then - while at that time they had to do with different opinions and theses, in this case they will be between believers and nonbelievers." He added "I am trying to see to it that this danger is avoided." He stated that: "I want realy fundamental questions to be asked - questions of anthropology, good and evil, life and afterlife, love, suffering and the meaning of evil - questions that are substantially at the basis of human existence". The leading intellectual lights of the dialogue meet the challenging question: "Whether one could choose a 'world without God?' How far can the human person go in the field of creation? Whether there are limits, and if so, what are they?"