The 25th Plenary Assembly. Presentation


Our Plenary assemblies are important occasions for reflection and exchange of experiences among the members and consultors of the dicastery. New and useful elements can be acquired that can guide and check the programmes of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Our task is in the service of the Holy Father to advance the vocation and mission of the laity in the Church and the modern world. Each Assembly deals with a topic that is chosen from among those that have emerged recently in the papal magisterium, one that is connected with the concerns of the lay faithful at the international level.
The theme of the 25th Assembly, held in Rome from 24 to 26 November 2011, was: “The God question today: should we not start all over again from God?”. The second part of the title is a quotation from the Holy Father’s book-interview “Light of the World”. The urgency of the God question in today’s world, in particular the need to reaffirm the absolute relevance of God, is certainly among the issues most frequently dealt with by Benedict XVI in his teachings. It is also a topic that resonates with lay people all over the world. Every day they live out their Christian vocation in places where references to God are not welcome or not tolerated, especially the God of Jesus Christ.
The first day had two parts. The morning concentrated on the magisterium of Benedict XVI on the subject, and on a social-cultural examination of faith and non-belief in the modern world. In the afternoon the subject of the reasonableness of faith was discussed and the specific message of Christianity. The second day dealt with the common terrain between belief and non-belief, the various ways conversion can come about, testimonies on the relevance of God in different environments, what it means to recognise God in public life, and the area of research and dialogue that the Pope calls “the courtyard of the gentiles”. Saturday morning was devoted to reflection on the best way to speak of God today and an audience with the Holy Father. In the afternoon we discussed the dicastery programme.
Speakers at the Assembly included non-believers of high standing who are known for their ability to dialogue and for their depth of perspective. They helped us to understand the difficulties and expectations regarding the God question felt by many of our contemporaries who have not yet found the faith. Of course, the most important part of the Assembly were the contributions of the members and consultors of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. They bring with them the experiences and reflections that they have matured in very diverse cultural and geopolitical contexts.

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On 1 September 2016 the

Pontifical Council for the Laity
ceased its activities.
Its responsibilities and duties
have been taken over by the
Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.