On Tuesday 24th June the Archbishop declared open the international Congres regarding the last years of the apostle of the gentiles organised by the Superior Institute of Religious Sciences Saint Fructuosus (INSAF), which was held in the Tarraconensian Centre, El Seminario and which concluded on 29th June. The Congress was moved by the Faculty of Theology of Cataluña and counted with thirty professors from different universities and faculties of Theology from Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, the United States amongst others.
The inaugural act was presided over by Archbishop Mons Jaume Pujol, in the presence of the vice-president of the Government of the Generalitat of Cataluña, Joanna Ortega, the vicar general of the archdiocise, Mons Joaquim Fortuny, the dean president of the Faculty of Theology of Cataluña, Dr Armand Puig, the director of the Superior Institute of Religious Sciences Saint Fructuosus, Dr Josep Maria Gavalda. Among other civil authorities were the delegate of of the Government of the Generalitat of Cataluña in Tarragona, Quim Nin, the lieutenant of the Town Hall of Tarragona, Xavier Tarres, the vice-president of the Diputacion of Tarragona, Albert Vallve; the secretary general of the University Rovira y Virgili, Antoni Gonzalez, the director general for religious affairs of the Generalitat of Cataluña, Enric Vendrell; the director of Territorial Services of the Department of Government and Institutional Relations, Dolor Murillo and the director of the Cultural territorial services, Jordi Agras amonst others.
Professor John Barclay (Durham. England) gave the inaugural lecture titled “The last years of Paul: questions put forward”. Barclay marked three principal aspects which during the period of the Congress attempts to answer these would be made. The first, the historical problems which exist though we have diverse fonts of disposable information such as the Gospel of Luke, the Acts of the Apostles and the apocryphal texts which might throw some light, also the interest of the first Christians and how in actuality to know what happened in the last years of Paul and the questions which from here arise, such as for example what was the relationship of Paul with the Roman and Jewish authorities, what was he accused of by the roman authorities or simply how he died. “The silence in the Gospel of Luke regarding the last years in the life of Paul is suspicious”, explained Barclay – “and makes us think of the figure of Paul as a Jewish apostate”. He added “The trial of Paul has something to do with the fire of Rome in 64.A.D. during the rule of emperor Nero.
The vice-president of the Government Joanna Ortega congratulated INSAF for making this congress possible. Ortega pointed out the energy and strength which so characterised Saint Paul and that thanks to this effort today Christianity is universal. “She hoped that the conclusions would prove that Saint Paul reached home but if not it did not matter, his values would continue to be ours”, she concluded.
Finally the archbishop declared the International Congress of Saint Paul open. “We hope that the Congress which we inaugurate today will mark an important point in Pauline studies and that it would be recorded and cited internationally as the Congress of Tarragona”. In his speech he made reference to the letter written by the bishops of the Conferencia Episcopal Tarraconense in 2008 titled Paul, “Apostle of our city” with the motive of the Pauline Jubilee Year and a fragment of the Passio Fructuosi were it is given to understand that the Christian community of Tarraco appreciated the testimony of Paul and recognised bishop Fructuosus as a pastor in the model of the apostle.
Within the motive of the year of faith, on Thursday 20th June in the Tarraconensian Centre `El Seminari´ was held the third and last, dialogue organised by the Archbishopric on “Faith and Communication”. A colloquial which centred on the role and the importance of the means of communication and the treatment of religious information, the relevance of religious acts and actual society or the language utilized by the church to communicate, amongst others.
This third dialogue counted with the participation of the professor of communications of the University Ramon Llull (URL), Dr Francesc Grane, who acted as mediator, Oriol Domingo writer on religious matters in La Vanguardia and Juanjo Lopez Burniol. Notary and speaker. The act was presided over by Archbishop Jaune Pujol.
“Means of communication are not often coherent with their information because they do not value religious information”, affirmed Oriol Domingo. As an anecdote he cited, that when he began to write of political information and religious information someone asked him if he had been castigated. “But then I realised that religious acts interested more than appeared to do so” he stated.
Francesc Grané, drew attention to the great contribution made by Benedict XVI through his books and terachings. “Communication implies discourse and at the same time argument. The church, today needs to have discourse and presence in the media”, stated Grané. However communication goes further. When we speak of spiritual experience not only do we try to communicate but also in transmitting this experience so as not to fall into atheist Christianity.
Juanjo Lopez Burniol placed into relief “we should not be victims of the medias of communications, but give them the same importance they deserve, no more no less. Today due to many circumstances a place for words and crisis of effect exists. That is why Christians are more important that ever. The most important is that the church has to present as more important than the apostolate of words, is the example”, explained Burniol.
The meeting concluded with a period of debate of questions from the assistants.
This dialogue can be seen in is entire form on the TV channel via the Internet of the Archbishopric, following the direction http://www.livestream.com/arqtgn/