There are over 1500 participants attending the International Event “God today. With Him, for without Him all changes” at the Auditorium Conciliazione (via della Conciliazione, 4) and in parallel at the Libera Università Maria Santissima Assunta (LUMSA) (via di Porta Castello, 44) and at the Hotel Columbus (via della Conciliazione, 33). At the event organised by the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) Cultural Project Committee from today until 12 December and sponsored by the Rome City Council there will be over 50 speakers and around a hundred members of the media including journalists, photographers and radio and TV technicians. H.E. Card. Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genova and Chairman of the CEI, welcomed those present and read the message sent by Pope Benedict XVI.
Following the welcome speech by Gianni Alemanno the Mayor of Rome the first session, chaired and introduced by Andrea Riccardi began. The subject was “The God of Faith and Philosophy” and the speakers, H.E Card. Camillo Ruini and Robert Spaemann.
The Friday morning session will be chaired and introduced by the Chancellor of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Lorenzo Ornaghi with papers by the Patriarch of Venice, Card. Angelo Scola and by Roger Scruton on the subject of “The God of Culture and Beauty”.
Later a discussion will be held on “God in the Figurative Art of Yesterday and Today”. Antonio Paolucci and H.E. Mons. Gianfranco Ravasi, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Culture are among those taking part.
The third session, to be held on Friday afternoon, will be on the subject of “God and Religions”. The session will be chaired and introduced by Francesco Botturi with contributions from Rémi Brague and Massimo Cacciari.
The fourth and final session on Saturday morning will be dedicated to “God and the Sciences”. It will be chaired and introduced by Ugo Amaldi, with papers by Martin Nowak, George Coyne and Peter Van Inwagen. The closing remarks will be given by H.E. Mons. Rino Fisichella.
It will not, however, be a congress in the strict sense of the word, besides the keynote speeches, over the event’s four half day sessions there will be presentations of books, performances of musical pieces, presentations of works of art, film screenings, conversations in which eminent personalities, both Catholic and from the lay world, will participate.
With this appointment for 10-12 December in Rome, “it is the CEI Cultural Project Committee’s intention to provide the opportunity to meet and reflect upon the theme of the Event which acutely engages opinions, life, and the concrete experiences of individuals and communities”. This is the manner that has been chosen to talk about God and to do so with the profound conviction that there is no setting where human life is not touched by such an “issue”, explains Prof Sergio Belardinelli, the committee’s staff co-ordinator. Whether talking about philosophy, art, science, politics, literature or the way in which each of us conducts our modest life, it is God who makes the difference. It is God who represents the crux of the matter, that with regard to which the whole universe takes on a particular meaning or another. We hope that public opinion will grasp the importance of this subject for us all, whether Catholic or not, and that it will also prove a good reason to confirm the vital nature of Roman Catholic culture in Italy.
Rome, 10 December 2009