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Como, Italy -- God in the public sphere

The 30th Conference for University Teachers and Researchers took place from May 28-30 at Castello di Urio, near Lake Como, Italy. The theme, “God in the Public Sphere,” was discussed in the light of the recent encyclical Caritas in Veritate.

Among those taking part was Bishop Aldo Giordano, the Holy See’s Observer at the Council of Europe, who emphasized the importance of the active presence of Catholics in the structures of democratic government in order to strengthen the Christian roots of Europe.

Carlo Cardia, professor of ecclesiastical law, and Alessandro Gisotti from Vatican Radio analyzed some differences between the European and American situation. They pointed out how the special characteristics of the birth of democracy in America—described by Alexis de Tocqueville—have left a deep imprint on the United States. This explains why the relationship between religion and politics is viewed in a less problematic way there than in Europe.

On the last day Professor Mauro Magatti, Dean of the School of Sociology at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan spoke about obstacles to the religious dimension, both in private life and in the public sphere. He stressed the almost invisible conditioning of the exercise of true freedom that is typical, he said, of wealthy societies.

Romana, No. 50, January-June 2010, p. 169.