The Pontifical Council must be losing it. Last year they announced an initiative to reach out to Atheists by staging a series of debates and other forms of dialogue, in an effort to foster better relations.
Known as Courtyard of the Gentiles, the Vatican has now revealed that the event will take place in Paris, France on March 24-25. But it seems that they may follow through with their stated intention of not allowing some of the world’s most outspoken Atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens to participate. Apparently the “irony and sarcasm” of these gentlemen are not appreciated.
One news source I read today proclaimed that the event is aimed at introducing non-believers to God. Ahem!
I would tend to think that Atheists are quite well acquainted with the gods of the world – which is why they’ve become non-believers! It never ceases to amaze me how believers still hang onto the notion that non-believers are just angry with the gods for whatever reason, and it will just take some sort of enticement [such as this Courtyard of the Gentiles initiative], or even the fear of approaching death, to get us back among the faithful again.
Anyway, if “sarcasm and irony” is missing from the event in Paris, it would just be another great big boring preaching session. It’s not like the Church, that bastion of backwards thinking, is going to teach an Atheist something new.