14-October-2013 -- Vatican Information Service |

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FREEDOM WITH OR WITHOUT GOD, 24 YEARS AFTER THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL

Vatican City, 14 October 2013 (VIS) - This morning a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office to present the "Courtyard of the Gentiles", which will be celebrated this year in Berlin, from 26 to 28 November. The initiative, promoted by the Pontifical Council for Culture in collaboration with the archdiocese of Berlin and the German Bishops' Conference, aims to relaunch dialogue between believers and non-believers in relation to the most important issues of the contemporary world.

The speakers in the conference were: Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture; Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, president of the German Bishops' Conference; Fr. Hans Langendorfer, S.J., secretary general of the German Bishops' Conference; Joachim Hake, director of the Catholic Academy of the Archdiocese of Berlin, and Fr. Laurent Mazas, executive director of the "Courtyard of the Gentiles". The encounter will address issues such as the depth of ethical humanism, the greatness of faith in God, the freedom of art and beauty, respect and creation, aspects and models of man, the grace and dignity of human nature and worship.

With the title "If there is no God, everything is permitted", the "Courtyard of the Gentiles" will be inaugurated in the Red City Hall of Berlin, and will be followed by a discussion on the theme "Look at man: God's creation endowed with creativity, or his own creator?" at the Charite University of Medicine; finally, the theme of respect, blasphemy and artistic liberty will be considered at the Berlin Deutsches Theater. "There exist many experiences of freedom with and without God in Berlin, and they are as varied as the inhabitants of this city", said Archbishop Zollitsch. "The paths of their lives and their freedom intertwine continually, like the processions in the Bode Museum. The Courtyard of the Gentiles wishes to show the richness and the depth of Catholic faith, and to express esteem for the positions held by non-believers, but also to see in faith the traces of unbelief".

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