Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

'Courtyard of Gentiles' aims to address ultimate questions, not prompt conversion

Catholic World News - March 24, 2011

A new Vatican initiative to open dialogue with the secular world, the “Courtyard of the Gentiles,” should not be seen as an effort to convert unbelievers, according to the Vatican official responsible for the venture.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, told the French daily La Croix: “Our task is to conduct a discourse on “ultimate realities.” The dialogue, he said, would involve “not only God, the Word, and transcendence, but also—and this is the program for the Courtyard—the great existential questions: life, love, death…”

The Italian prelate said that even thoroughly secularized societies are finding these questions unavoidable. The interest in New Age ideas, magic, and supernatural claims all testify to the abiding importance of these questions, he said. He observed that important writers like Dostoievski, Pascal, Dante, and Nietzsche all ponder the same ultimate questions.

Asked whether the Courtyard of the Gentiles should be seen as a place for evangelization, however, Cardinal Ravasi answered unequivocally: “Certainly not.” He explains:

We are like Paul at the Areopagua in Athens. We say what we believe, before those who do not believe, and those who will listen to us.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our September expenses ($13,688 to go):
$35,000.00 $21,311.73
39% 61%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: koenigj7311 - Mar. 25, 2011 1:21 AM ET USA

    What a stroke of genius! Truly! We all know apologetics preceeds effective evangelization. Cdl.Ravasi and the PCC are simply redirecting our attention to focus on the ultimate realities - the ageless questions that confront men of every time, every place, and every culture. Of course, we know the One who can satisfy man's deepest longings. Dialogue will allow us to deepen our own Faith while we discourse about matters which concern them. The Spirit will intervene at the proper time.

  • Posted by: Steve214 - Mar. 24, 2011 6:23 PM ET USA

    Well, we CERTAINLY wouldn't want anybody to convert! This appears to be more of the "there is so much good in the non-Christian (e.g., atheist) world" approach which has worked out so well. (Sarcasm font now off. :-)

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Mar. 24, 2011 3:51 PM ET USA

    Strange stuff. Why is he apologizing for evangelization? Jesus didn't.

Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Eucharistic Adoration, a Sure Sign of Catholic Renewal 12 hours ago
The Mystery of Music, Part II 17 hours ago
Our Spiritual Destiny and the Horror of War September 19
The Islamic roots of terrorism must be addressed September 19
Each of us is destined to marry Jesus Christ September 18

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Cardinals criticize Kasper proposal, escalating debate on remarriage/Communion CWN - September 18