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Forty speakers will take part in the “Courtyard of the gentiles” in Assisi – but what are they going to talk about?

(by Cristina Siccardi, Rorate Caeli) Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini taught his students well. It was he, as bishop and Cardinal, who conceived the idea of the “Cathedra of Unbelievers”, a formula that has been transferred to the so-called “Courtyard of the Gentiles” meetings which have taken place more or less everywhere since 2011 with the aim of promoting dialogue in the world between Christians and unbelievers. This initiative was started by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi – since 2007, President of The Pontifical Council of Culture, of the Pontifical Commission of the Church’s Cultural Property and of the Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archeology.
In a few days, on October 5-6, [2012,] we will have “The Courtyard of Francis: God, this Unknown one.” The Courtyard of Francis? But St. Francis has nothing whatever to do with this very secular and relativist enterprise, banner of the religion – which is – non-religion. God, for St. Francis, was not at all unknown, seeing that for Christ he risked his entire life and left the world in order to embrace the Cross with all his being, so much so that he earned the stigmata.

Many famous names, many faces of power, that of the state, government, economics, culture, the press. Many words, an ocean of words: nine meetings spread out over the town of the intensely Catholic St. Francis. Here the spotlights will be focused on everything but the one and only Truth, revealed by Jesus Christ, guarded by the Holy Roman Church. [It amounts to] the most excessive subjectivism, the kind which frightened and alarmed Cardinal Newman, who was left alone, in Anglican England, (much more Anglican than it is nowadays) to defend that Truth he had so long yearned for. Here we will not even find the witness of the martyrs, who immolated their existence for the Faith and who, for love of the Cross, offered themselves on the altar.

At least forty speakers will be there, but to talk about what?

The event will be opened by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi and the President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano and will be closed by Cardinal Ravasi and the Minister of Economic Development, Infrastructures and Transport, representative of Monti’s technocratic government which has distinctly relativistic ideas – immanentist, globalist – and – in practice – in favour of the dissolution of Christian roots.

Here are the other names: Eraldo Affinati, Lucia Annunziata, Luigi Berlinguer, Franco Bernabè, Enzo Bianchi, Giancarlo Bosetti, Luigino Bruni, John Borelli, Susanna Camusso, Aldo Cazzullo, Vincenzo Cerami, Lorenzo Chiuchiu’, Virman Cusenza, Ferruccio de Bortoli, Domenico De Masi, Massimiliano Fuksas, Umberto Galimberti, Stas’ Gawronski, Massimo Giannini, Giulio Giorello, Simon Hampton, Orazio La Rocca, Raffaele Luise, Monica Maggioni, Giuliana Martirani, Armando Matteo, Roberto Olla, Ermanno Olmi, Mario Orfeo, Moni Ovadia, Giuseppe Piemontese, Federico Rampini, Ermete Realacci, Giuseppe Virgilio, Umberto Veronesi, Gustavo Zagrebelsky, Alex Zanotelli.* see translator’s note

Here are the themes that will be discussed: “the cry of the poor and the cry of the Earth”, faith, work, interreligious and intercultural dialogue, youth and the relationship between art and the sacred.

In short, there will be two protagonists on the scene: doubt and experience. The former will cause even more imbalance in a society [already] profoundly schizophrenic. The latter will produce a kaleidoscope of “worm-eaten ” ideas which will insinuate into minds already more than sufficiently confused.

Well then, who will this symposium address? The answer is simple: the tens, maybe hundreds of journalists who will rush to Assisi and who will make out in some way that the event “has been an enormous success.” Certainly praises will be bestowed and they will be dictated by the names present, not the ideas exposed. A Protestant cloud will hover over Assisi, liberalist and atheist. It will also draw nutriment from the socialist and communist ideas that continue to live in the metabolism of a diseased civilization, which has decided, knowingly, to worsen its condition of spiritual and social health. The language used will be of a sociological, demagogical, emotional nature.

So, this convention which is to be held in the town constrained nowadays to host anti-Catholic events, will absolutely not speak to souls thirsting for certainties, assurance, transcendence, anchors to cling to and pillars to lean on; those souls, who despite everything, hasten to the fortresses of the spirit, that is, to the Sanctuaries or to the tombs of the saints, such as the Capuchin, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, another of St. Francis’ sons who also received the gift of the stigmata. And it will neither speak to those souls who desperately go about seeking pastors and teachers in the Church of Christ and not to V.I.P.s and narcissists, who love only themselves and the parades of the world.

We read in the First Letter of St. John:

“Dearly beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits if they be of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. By this is the spirit of God known. Every spirit which confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God: And every spirit that dissolveth Jesus, is not of God: and this is Antichrist, of whom you have heard that he cometh, and he is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome him. Because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore of the world they speak, and the world heareth them. We are of God. He that knoweth God, heareth us. He that is not of God, heareth us not. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (John 1, Chap. 4, 1-6)

On October 4, we celebrate the feast of St. Francis and on the 7th Pope Benedict XVI will proclaim St. Hildegard of Bingen Doctor of the Church: between these two noble dates we will witness something we would have never wanted to see. But we know that we are in the midst of the Passion of the Church, with all its painful consequences and the Faith (for which an entire year of reflection and prayer will be dedicated starting on October 11), is suffering frightful blows. It is comforting to know that neither St. Francis nor St. Hildegard would have been invited as speakers and they would have never participated anyway, even as spectators, in this sad and disquieting spectacle.

Source: RISCOSSA CRISTIANA, Thursday September 27, 2012. [Translation and tip: Contributor Francesca Romana]

*Translator’s note:
In another article by Alessandro Gnocchi and Mario Palmaro on the same theme, they describe the participants at this event as “the lay intelligentsia” and to the reader “You will be lucky to find even one Catholic here.” For those who read Italian see: CON IL CORTILE DEI GENTILI, AD ASSISI VA IN SCENA LA “TEOLOGIA DEL DUBBIO 2.0” – di Alessandro Gnocchi – Mario Palmaro
Cristina Siccardi , born in Turin in 1966, married with 2 children, with degrees in Modern Literature and History, has written for the following newspapers : La Stampa, L’Osservatore Romano, Avvenire, La Gazzetta del Piemonte, Il Nostro Tempo, La Voce del Popolo and has participated in Italian radio and television programmes. She writes for cultural and religious periodicals and is a member of “Accademie ‘Paestum’ ‘Costantiniana’ ‘Ferdinandea’, “Archeologica Italiana”, and member founder of CESCOR (Centro Studi sulla Controrivoluzione) (Center for Studies on the Counter-Revolution)