Communion and Liberation Flyer
Social, economic, and political crisis. At the end of this year 2010 we are all discouraged. As Cardinal Bagnasco recently said, “we are distressed to see Italy stuck in its decision-making mechanisms, while its people are dazed and disoriented.” Why does this crisis find us so helpless, so much so that we can’t even agree on how to face it, even though we feel it is necessary as never before?
Surprisingly, the 2010 Censis Report identified the crisis’ nature in a “drop in desire,” evident in any aspect of life. We are less willing to build, to grow, to look for happiness. To this fact we should ascribe the responsibility for the “evident individual and mass display of fragility, for behaviors and attitudes that are lost, indifferent, cynical, passively adaptive, prisoners of media influences, condemned to the present without possibility of going deeper in the memory and in the future.” How is it that we were able to reach important goals in the past (home, work, development…), and now “we are a society which is dangerously marked by emptiness,” and why is an historical cycle full of interest and willingness to do, followed by another cycle which is marked by its annulment?
All this shows us that the crisis is not only social, economic, and political, but most of all it is anthropological, because it concerns the concept of person, of the nature of his desire, of his relationship with reality. We were under the illusion that the desire would have stayed alive by itself or even that it would have become more alive in the new situation of attained welfare. Experience shows us, instead, that desire can become flat if it doesn’t find an object equal to its needs. Thus, we find ourselves all “replete and desperate.” When desire becomes flat, there starts the bewilderment of the young and the cynicism of the adults; and in the general asthenia, what is the alternative? A voluntarism without breath or prospect, without geniality or space, and a moralism supporting the State as the ultimate source of consistency for the human flow,” as Father Giussani said in Assago in 1987. Twenty-five years later, we see how both those answers – individualist voluntarism and hope in the state – are not able to give us the desired consistency, and we find ourselves more powerless and more fragile than in the past in facing the crisis. Paradoxically, our grandparents and parents were humanly better equipped than us to face such challenges.
Censis hits the bull’s eye again when it identifies the real urgency of this historical moment: “Starting to desire again is the necessary civil virtue to stimulate a too satisfied and flattened society.” But who or what can reawaken desire? This is the cultural problem of our era. All those who have something to say in order to walk out of this crisis – parties, associations, labor unions, teachers – have to deal with this problem. An ideological answer won’t suffice anymore, because we saw the failure of all the plans. Thus, we will be forced to witness an experience.
Also the Church, whose contribution can’t be just offering a charitable refuge because of someone else’s deficiencies, will have to show the authenticity of its claim that it has something more to offer. As Benedict XVI reminded us, “the contribution offered by the Christians is decisive only if the intelligence of faith becomes intelligence of reality.” The Church will have to show that Christ is so present that He is able to reawaken the person – and therefore all of his desires –till he doesn’t totally depend on the historical circumstances. How? Through the presence of people that document a different humanity in all the fields of society: school and university, work and enterprise, all the way to politics and to an engagement with the institutions. People who don’t feel condemned to disillusion and bewilderment, but that live according to their desires because they recognize the answer as present.
We can hope to get out of the current dramatic situation if all of us – including the Government that today has the hard task to guide the country through this deep crisis – decide to be truly reasonable subjecting reason to experience; that is, if, getting free from any ideological presumption, we are open to recognize something that already works in reality. The first contribution that we can make in favor of everybody is supporting those who, in society and politics, didn’t accept a reduced size for their desire, and therefore work and build moved by a passion for man.
Communion and Liberation