Carlos Ferreirinha and Julián Carrón

Brazil: "The other and the revolution"

Via video link from Milan, Julián Carrón presented his book "The reawakening of humanity" in a dialogue with entrepreneur Carlos Ferreirinha, addressing the "truest questions of man".
Isabella Alberto

"Realizing that we are all in the same boat is to realize that we are connected. The other is part of the definition of my self." This phrase, pronounced by Julián Carrón, president of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, whilst in dialogue with the entrepreneur Carlos Ferreirinha last Saturday, July 25, was of great impact. An online dialogue about the book Reawakening Our Humanity. Reflections in a dizzying time, addressing the subject of the need we have for others that has emerged more clearly during this pandemic, tearing many people away from habitual distraction and the claim of self-sufficiency.

Ferreirinha is President and founder of MCF Consultoria, a consultancy firm operating in the luxury market. Despite his prestigious resume, he presented himself with great humility, grateful for the opportunity to talk about the central issues in his life. "My life is guided by someone else. It has always been so.” He spoke about this moment of transition, a time of reflection upon himself, his family, friends, employees and customers: "We have never been in front of the mirror for so long.”

The first point addressed by journalist Fernanda Lanza, who moderated the meeting, concerned Fr. Carrón's reference to the fact that this precise moment in history, in our modern society, represents a great opportunity for us to regain our faith: "A crisis, the collapse of evidence, is an opportunity to ask questions. We are facing a global provocation of reality, a pandemic. It is not something we would have wished for, but we have not been spared. It can be a defeat or an opportunity to realize what we truly are.”

Carrón gave the example of an incident in Italy, where the pandemic has already weakened and things seem to have gone back to normal: "A friend told me that at the height of the emergency, the doctors and nurses gave their best in terms of time, generosity and friendship, trying to respond to the urgency in the best way possible. But as the pandemic waned, some did not even greet each other anymore. It has reverted to being a reality without taste, of cold relationships."

In this regard, Ferreirinha stressed the need for a path, without expecting miracles, as Fr. Giussani said years ago: "Expect a journey, not a miracle that gets you out of your responsibilities, or neutralizes your struggle, making your freedom mechanical." And he added: "We live individualism, impatience and difficulty in relationships. With the arrival of the virus, people hoped to find meaning in it. However, it does not happen like a miracle." According to him, this path come by means of reflection, upon oneself and their friends, without abstraction from the present.

With a significant number of followers on social media, Ferreirinha is one of those voices that uses this powerful tool for good. Thus, he stressed that "hyperconnectivity is not of today", and that it can also lead to the use of networks to project false images. However, there is also a very positive side. In this presentation, for example, there were 425 people connected via Zoom, each in their own home, interacting in real time: "I believe that the three pillars that will be really important from now on are: transparency, authenticity and truth.”

Faced with a multitude of causes that have set large groups around the world in motion, that in the midst of a health emergency are spilling out into the street for political and social demands, and that arise fundamentally from that ultimate desire for justice, beauty and freedom that every man carries with themselves, how can we not reduce these cries to an ideology? "Since the beginning of history, questions have emerged in the face of reality,” commented Carrón: "Like the poet Leopardi, who in front of the starry sky asked himself: ‘Who am I?’. The religious sense coincides with these questions." He then explained that one contribution that the pandemic can make is precisely that of bringing out the religious sense in people. And again: "Only a presence can overcome fear. If there are people like Carlos on social media, it will be good for everyone, because it reveals that we are not condemned to live drowning in our ideologies."

Fernanda then pointed out that in these times, many people have seen a desire for charity spring up and have experienced the realization of this dynamic of service towards others. As if the perception began to grow that the meaning of life would also pass through there. "The pandemic has hit everyone at once. The absence of the other has been felt greatly, and it has awakened a sense of urgency to help," replied Ferreirinha: "The vast majority of people experienced true solidarity. It is a time of less individualism and for greater community. We will not be able to face all this alone.”

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During this year's Easter celebrations, Pope Francis used the image of the storm: everyone in the same boat, all fragile and disoriented. "Thinking about the reality in Brazil, where social differences were further accentuated during the emergency, how can we see the positive side?", a journalist asked. Carrón concluded by talking about the importance of "being myself", because that is good for the world: "The other is part of the definition of my self. There is nothing we can do about it. At all social levels, we can perceive the need for the other. This may be the legacy of the pandemic for society." Thus, he gave concrete examples of what we have seen happen during this period all over the world: gratitude for the doctors and nurses who risked their lives to save people, neighbors who offered to go to the supermarket for those who needed them: "We discovered aspects of the other that we did not know. If we realize the value of the other, the place it occupies in the world, it will be a revolution."