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Religious Liberty leaders meet in Italian Senate

Leaders say convention was a fruitful and constructive meeting.

Religious Liberty leaders meet in Italian Senate

[Photo credit: Andreas Mazza]

On Wednesday, November 15, the third edition of the “Days of Conscience and Freedom” took place in the Parliamentary Hall of the Senate Library in Rome, Italy. 

The convention was designed to make institutional and religious figures aware of the themes the magazine "Coscienza e Libertà" (Consciousness and Freedom) examines and records in depth. The magazine promotes a more diffused cultural and political awareness about values, such as the secularity of institutions, along with the defense and promotion of the rights of religion, conscience, and citizenship. Coscienza e Libertà is the official publication of the International Association for the Defense of Religious Liberty (Aidlr). 

The theme central to the discussion held by the prestigious speakers in the three panels was named “The care of the polis (community) and the public role of religion, between traditional values and new structures”.

The first panel, “The primacy of politics”, was presented by four panelists -- Flaminia Saccà (University of Tuscia), Luciano Violante (former President of the Chamber), Monica Simeoni (University of Sannio) and Mauro Calise (University of Napoli Federico II), all of whom were moderated by the director of the magazine Coscienza e Libertà, Davide Romano. The speakers, although presenting from different perspectives, strongly underlined the need to return to good politics. They expressed the importance of politics that promote the study and understanding of the complexity of societal change, while avoiding excessive or deceptive simplifications. 

The second panel, “The contribution of religion”, promoted and contemplated the contribution that religious communities can offer in a post-secular, and possible, post-ideological, public arena. The discussion, moderated by reporter Gaelle Courtens, was presented through reports by Elena Bein Ricco (philosopher of politics), Raffaella Di Marzio (Lirec, expert in new religious movements), Pasquale Annicchino (European University Institute, Bruno Kessler Foundation) and Paolo Naso (University of Rome La Sapienza). 

Finally, during the last panel there was a debate between religious and institutional representatives. Beginning with a greeting by Prefect Maria Giovanna Iurato (Ministry of the Interior), there was an interchange between the following figures: Honourable Gessica Rostellato and Luigi Lacquaniti, Senator Lucio Malan, Izzedin Elzir (president of UCOII), Maria Angela Falà (president of the Inter-Religious Table of Rome), Giacomo Ciccone (president of the Italian Evangelical Alliance), Carmine Napolitano (president of the Pentecostal Faculty of Religious Sciences), Christiane Groeben (vice president of the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy), and Giuseppe Cupertino (Secretary for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Italy). The exchange was moderated by Dora Bognandi (national secretary of Aidlr, Italian chapter). 

The impression that emerged from these three thematic panels was that of constructive and fruitful discussion between different disciplines, social sectors, and institutions. It was a discussion that should be maintained with continually and that the magazine Coscienza e Libertà has promised to cover. Liberal democracy nourishes itself and evolves only through coherent discussion of ideas and visions, in which each person, without ceasing to represent a specific point of view, listens to and appreciates other views.