Swedish Ambassador to Holy See: impressions on Courtyard of the Gentiles
(Vatican Radio) The Swedish Ambassador to the Holy See, Ulla Gudmundsson shares with
Charlotte Smeds impressions of the 'Courtyard of the Gentiles' project which travelled
to Sweden from the 13th to the 14th of September. An encounter which had as theme:
" A world with or without God? " and as purpose that of sponsoring dialogue between
believers and non-believers.
An occasion with two different moments for dialogue,
the first to discuss the relationship between science and faith with a parterre of
philiosophers, scientists and theologians.
The second a more practical one,
to discuss what it means to believe or not to believe in our every day lives, what
this entails in our relations with others and within society at large.
which brought together an extremely wide spectrum of people from secular humanists,
to scientists who do not believe, to representatives of the Swedish Church and other
Debates which served as an example the Ambassador says, in terms
of the possibility:"... of having meaningful, respectful conversations between people
who have different standpoints without arriving at a forced consensus and without
it degenerating into a boxing match.."...
Charlotte Smeds also asked the
Ambassador about the growing indifference to faith in our secular society today, picking
up on an issue the President of the Pontifical Council for Culture Gianfranco Ravasi
has expressed concern about.
Ambassador Gudmondsson believes : "..that this
attitude is more common in Sweden than miltant atheism. In one of the panels of discussion
we had at least three people who had gone from a position of non believing to believing,
but we also had a Swedish writer and journalist who grew up in one of the Swedish
Churches and had since then lost his faith and I think the cardinal quoted him...
as an example of someone simply drifting away from faith...I think this is a very
common attitude among Swedes. Many people feel perfectly comfortable with it and are
not necessarily hostile towards religion. And one of the questions raised at the end
was whether the world would be better or worse without religion. And our Swedish writer
came down very strongly on the side of the world being worse without religion in spite
of not being a believer ..."..
For the record the meetings were sponsored by
the Pontifical Council for Culture whose President is Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi
and was co-sponsored by the Embassy of Sweden to the Holy See, The Royal Swedish Academy
of Sciences and the Youth organisation ar Fryshuset