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'Courtyard of the Gentiles' Event Comes to Mexico

Lauren Villagran - The Christian Science Monitor
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May 8, 2013
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Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi arrives for an afternoon meeting, at the Vatican, in March. This week, Cardinal Ravasi will host a series of debates on secularism that will bring together believers and nonbelievers – the Vatican's first 'Courtyard of the Gentiles' event outside Europe. (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

This week, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi will host a series of debates on secularism that will bring together believers and nonbelievers – the Vatican’s first “Courtyard of the Gentiles” event outside Europe.

Cardinal Ravasi’s visit, and the conversation it’s meant to ignite, comes at a time of spiritual transition in Mexico. The number of non-Catholics in the still predominantly Catholic nation of 112 million has been rising since the 1970s, while the ranks of those who consider themselves expressly non-religious have jumped significantly, by 56 percent, between 2000 and 2010.

More than 10 million Mexicans practice a religion other than Catholicism today; another 5.3 million say they are not part of any religion, according to the national statistics agency, INEGI.

“We warned [organizers] that we suspected the dialogue would be more difficult in Mexico than in Europe,” says Guillermo Hurtado, a professor of philosophy at Mexico’s National Autonomous University, who will participate in the debates. “In a country like Mexico, there is a great divide that separates believers and nonbelievers. There’s a latent antagonism.”

Read the rest at The Christian Science Monitor

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