ROME, December 13, 2009 – The objective was to "dispel the shadow that makes access to God precarious and frightening for the man of our time."
Benedict XVI said so in the message on December 10 that inaugurated the international event in Rome on "God today. With him or without him, that changes everything," conceived and organized by the committee for the cultural project of the Italian Church, headed by Cardinal Camillo Ruini.
Two days later, at the end of the event, Ruini was beaming. The topic was tough, and listening a challenge, with philosophers and scientists using arduous language. And yet the hall was always full, in an extremely attentive silence. 2500 people went to the grand auditorium on the Via della Conciliazione, a short walk from Saint Peter's Square, to hear about God. Much of the audience was new, and young. Visibly proud of the richness and seriousness of the things said, in a disoriented world that is thirsty for precisely this.
This audience wanted to hear about God, and nothing else. But not, of course, about disputes within the Church, on one and the other side of the Tiber. The prophets of doom who had predicted (and deep down hoped for) the failure of the event, and with it a farewell to that "phoenix" which, according to them, the cultural project was, together with the definitive retirement of its conceptualizer, Ruini, were silenced by the results. The cardinal has already announced that a second event will soon follow this first one, also "on substantial issues, hard, not easy, not in fashion."