Word has leaked out that the Catholic Church is planning a new strategy for transforming people who don’t believe in gods into Catholic believers. It’s called the Courtyard of the Gentiles, and it will be a new foundation that will invite non-theists to debates. Only non-theists who haven’t expressed a strong disdain for the beliefs of the Catholic Church will be invited, though.
What’s the point? What do non-theists have to gain from entering the domain of the Catholic Church, and agreeing to be labeled as “gentiles”, a term that accepts the Catholic Church as the center of the cultural universe?
One article describing this new Vatican project quotes Pope Benedict as explaining, “They do not want to see themselves as an object of mission or to give up their freedom of thought and will. Yet the question of God remains present even for them, even if they cannot believe in the concrete nature of his concern for us.”
With a statement like that, it’s clear that the Catholic hierarchy still doesn’t understand that non-theists simply don’t center their lives around a belief in God. The Archbishop seems to believe that non-theists merely are skeptical about the relationship of the Christian God to humans.
If that’s where the conversation starts, how could it possibly move forward in a way that benefits anyone but the Catholic Church? The Pope might as well attend a debate in which he’s expected to discuss his relationship to the Wiccan rites of Beltane.