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'Courtyard' sparks atheists' interest in dialogue, Cardinal Ravasi reports

March 29, 2011

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, reports that he has seen strong interest among French non-believers in continuing the dialogue that was opened by the "Courtyard of the Gentiles."

Cardinal Ravasi told L'Espresso that a prominent agnostic philospher expressed interest in writing a book about the Gospel of St. John, while the rector of the Sorbonne indicated a desire to continue the discussion about secularism.

The cardinal said that none of the atheists and agnostics involved in the discussions in Paris showed any concern about Catholic proselytizing. "I have found this concern only in the media," he said.

An agnostic intellectual who participated in the Paris dialogue, Julia Kristeva, told L'Espresso that both believers and non-believers were "walking on tiptoes" during the discussions in Paris, and the success of the "wonderful initiative" would require more frank discussions.


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