The Vatican is planning a special meeting, November 17-19, to discuss traditional marriage with a variety religious leaders and scholars from around the world including mega-church leader Rick Warren, Russell Moore, Jewish and Muslim leaders and others. Pope Francis will provide the keynote address to open the meeting, while at least 30 other speakers will address the gathering. The meeting follows on the heels of a two-week Vatican Synod on the Family, and will “seek common ground with religious leaders outside the Vatican.”
“I am willing to go anywhere, when asked, to bear witness to what we as evangelical Protestants believe about marriage and the gospel, especially in times in which marriage is culturally imperiled,” said Russell Moore, who heads the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. The conference will also include Wael Farouq, a Muslim and president of the Tawasul Cultural Center in Cairo; Henry B. Eyring, a top-ranking apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; and Manmohan Singh of the World Sikh Council.
The Pope and the Vatican believe that there is need for a new way of expressing the qualities and importance of a traditional marriage in an environment where cohabitation, non-marital parenting, same-sex marriage take up a “great deal of oxygen,” and dominate the global conversation about families.
The conference has been in the works for at least a year. The recent Synod lays a foundation for a larger discussion.
But the conference will continue the work of the ecumenical movement and will strengthen ties between the Vatican and other faiths on social issues that will lower objections to her offensive doctrines. The Vatican wants to merge religions under her authority.
Keep in mind also that any discussion on the family will necessarily involve the question of life-work balance and the need for a day of rest. While Sunday rest is not the main topic on the agenda, it will certainly be a background issue. Addressing questions of family, among other things, lays the foundation to eventually discuss a rest day.