Rimini '11 Closes With 800,000 Participants

2012 Theme: «By Nature, Man Is Relation With the Infinite»

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By Luca Marcolivio

RIMINI, Italy, AUG. 29, 2011 (Zenit.org).- With more than 320 speakers and some 800,000 participants, the 2011 Rimini meeting of Friendship Among the Peoples drew to a close Saturday, concluding a week of reflection on «And existence becomes an immense certainty.»

The meeting was opened by Benedict XVI’s message to the participants, in which the Holy Father reminded that «man cannot live without the certainty of his destiny.»

At the inauguration of the event, Italian president Giorgio Napolitano stressed the need to encourage young people «to speak the language of truth,» also in times of crisis.

And alluding to this year’s theme, Emilia Guarnieri, the president of the meeting, concluded at the final press conference: «Recounting the history of our country, questioning ourselves on the crisis and on the international situation, casting our look on the culture of the past and that of our time, we saw something happen before our eyes: namely, that existence becomes an enormous certainty.»

«We met persons gathered from all parts of the world to recount their own experience, who, from a living certainty in their existence, can look at situations of crisis in a different way and address them with amazing positiveness.»

Guarnieri then mentioned some of the numerous guests from every geographic, cultural and religious provenance, all witnesses «of friendship among peoples.»

Guarnieri hailed the introductory lecture from Costantino Esposito, who developed the meeting’s theme at the philosophical level, as an answer to the «easy but illusory comfort, on one hand, of naturalism, according to which everything can be explained ‘on the basis of fixed factors and physical-chemical and neuronal mechanisms,’ and on the other, of cultural relativism.»

She then mentioned the presence of so many Catholics leaders — lay and ecclesial — at the meeting: among others, the philosopher Fabrice Hadjadj, Cardinals Dionigi Tettamanzi and Robert Sarah and the custos of the Holy Land, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa.

The entrepreneurs and political men who intervened in the meeting, continued Guarnieri, «found themselves once again before ‘men without a homeland,’ that is, free. … Persons certain of just one essential thing in facing one another: their own experience of true, certain men and, because of this, irreducible to any type of power, because they recognize that the forces that change history are the same as those that change man’s heart.»

At the end of the press conference, Tokyo was announced as the venue for the next international meeting this October. The theme of the next Rimini event in August 2012 will be «By Nature, Man Is Relation With the Infinite.»

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