Archbishop: Secularism’s Gaps Left Room For God

Culture Council Addresses a Society Without Faith

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 10, 2008 ( Even though society doesn’t make room for God, there is still a space for him in the gaps secularism has left, said the president of the Vatican’s culture council.

Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi said this upon opening the plenary session of the Pontifical Council for Culture on “The Church and The Challenge of Secularization.” The three-day meeting ended Saturday.

In his address to the 45 cardinals, bishops, priests and lay members and consultants present, the archbishop highlighted the need for a positive take on the world and on culture. This is because “the greatest risk is an indifference that doesn’t ask questions that transcend one’s own horizon.”

Archbishop Ravasi said that regardless, “even in the person that is satisfied and apparently incapable of asking themselves important questions, there is space to let God enter through the gaps that secularism has left.”

“In fact, God is not dead,” he recalled. “The secular age is just asking him for his ID.”

Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi also commented on the relationship between faith and science, announcing an international convention on the theories of evolution, with the goal “to introduce science, theology and philosophy.”

He explained: “And so we will finally be able to see each other outside of our own borders: the scientist that asks himself questions and that listens to the questions posed to theology, and the theologian and the philosopher that listen and see the paths of science.”

In an interview with Vatican Radio, the archbishop said the conference will be “a very important journey, because it will have on one hand some of the most important minds in the world of science, even Nobel Prize winners, and on the other hand great theologians and philosophers, all coming here to Rome to the Gregorian University, and all with our sponsorship.”

Christian humanism

A communiqué of the Pontifical Council for Culture reported that the discussions of the second day of the meeting observed that the present society, “after having tried to exclude God, now risks denying man as well.”

“From this,” continued the note, “is derived the duty of a Christian humanism, in a society lacking transcendence, to attempt new ways of dialogue between the Church and the world of the sciences and to develop new languages to speak to the heart of men who have no religious frame of reference.

“To heal the wounds of secularism and provoke a radical change it is useless to condemn, rather there must be collaboration with the world of science so that there is growth in the common search of the good of the person.”

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