VATICAN CITY, 11 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a Message to Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, metropolitan archbishop of Genoa, Italy, and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), for the occasion of a conference entitled: "God today: to be with Him or without Him changes everything". The conference is being held in Rome from 10 to 12 December.
"The issue of God", writes the Pope in his Message, "is central in our time, which often tends to reduce man to a single dimension - the 'horizontal' dimension - in the belief that his openness to the Transcendent is irrelevant to his life. However, the relationship with God is essential for the journey of humankind. ... The Church and all Christians have the task of causing God to be present in this world, of seeking to open access to God for all men and women".
The Holy Father then goes on to highlight how, on the one hand, the conference "aims to show the various paths that lead to affirming the truth about the existence of God, the God Whom humanity has always in some way known and ... Who revealed Himself ... fully and definitively in Jesus Christ" and, on the other, it seeks "to throw light on the essential importance that God has for us, for our personal and social life, ... and for the salvation awaiting us after death".
These themes will be examined from various points of view: through theological and philosophical reflection, through the longing for God that is apparent in the arts, and through the development of the sciences "which seek to look into the depths of natural mechanisms, fruit of the intelligent work of God the Creator".
"In a cultural and spiritual situation such as the present, where there is a growing tendency to relegate God to the private sphere, to consider Him as irrelevant and superfluous or even to reject Him explicitly, it is my heartfelt hope that this event may contribute, at the least, to dispersing the shadow that makes modern man hesitant and timorous before the idea of openness to God", writes the Pope.
And he concludes his Message: "The experiences of the past, even the recent past, teach us that when God disappears from man's horizon, humankind loses its sense of direction and risks taking steps towards its own destruction". Yet "faith in God opens man to the horizon of a certain hope".
MESS/CEI CONFERENCE/BAGNASCO VIS 20091211 (420)