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The Vatican is planning a new initiative to reach out to atheists and
agnostics in an attempt to improve the church's relationship with
non-believers. Pope Benedict XVI has ordered officials to create a new
foundation where atheists will be encouraged to meet and debate with
some of the Catholic Church's top theologians.


You guys, the pope is reaching out to us! He wants to be friends. But...

But in an interview with the National Catholic Register, Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture,
made it clear he would not be willing to give a platform to certain
prominent atheists.


Uh oh...

The foundation, he said, would only be interested in "noble atheism or agnosticism, not the polemical kind – so not those atheists such as
[Piergiorgio] Odifreddi in Italy, [Michel] Onfray in France,
[Christopher] Hitchens and [Richard] Dawkins".


Now isn't that strange?! Why wouldn't the pope want to have a public chat with Dawkins?

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I'd rather the pope deal with the problem of his priests diddling little kids than worry about debating atheists.

My input to that debate would be, in so many words, that Ratzinger can go f?!* himself. Pardon my french but that is one nasty old man and he should be treated as such. He'd rather see children suffer than the church put in a bad light, rather see an entire continent consumed by AIDS than allow condoms.

"noble" atheists...heh, I would love to see the Hitchens-Ratzinger debate though. To think that the pope sadly most probably has longer to live than hitchens really disturbs me. :(

Well the OP is almost a year old, round that time The Pope was under pretty heavy fire from the likes of Hitchens and Dawkins. Sadly the world has become distracted by other stuff and I guess the catholic church is getting away with it.

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