Traces N.5, May 2000

A Passion for Man

Some recent events (the elections, the birth of a new government, referendum) have put politics back in the center of the debate in Italy.

In recent years this word, as a result of demonization in courtrooms and the media, has been unpopular.

Today that phase of acute instrumental demonization seems to be over, but not without some after effects and numerous ìvictimsî left on the battlefield.

In the Catholic world, the end of a party (the Christian Democrat that attempted to representñin a varied but united mannerñits presence and ideas has probably complicated more than it has simplified things, even if time is showing that the divisions dictated by motives purely of visibility do not hold and are not understood by voters. What is certain is that there has emerged a dearth of original reasons and of method in a large part of that world which considered itself to be the only legitimate one for representing Catholics socially and politically. Many, and not only in the Christian camp, now want to rediscover adequate reasons for an involvement in the real world which does not underestimate politics.

In this predicament, an invaluable occasion is offered by the publication of the collection of Father Giussaniís statements over the past twenty years concerning politics, labor, and the insurgence of works: Líio, il potere, le opere. Contributi da uníesperienza [The Self, Power, Works. Contributions from an Experience].

We have never ceased thinking of and looking at politics as an important factor in everyoneís life. In the authentically Christian educational process, politics is never something ìelse,î to be judged using a different point of view from the one used to embrace and evaluate everything.

The presence of a Christian in an environment always determines a political ìtension,î since he is motivated to defend the supreme value of the person, against any reduction that those in power try to impose, with the aim of achieving their purpose of control and maintenance of the status quo.

For those who have encountered and live their belonging to the Christian event, the value of the person, of every individual person, is as though illuminated: it is no longer an empty term, but indicates a dramatic passion.

ìI often say that Christianity did not arise as a religion, but erupted like a powerful love for the human, in the concreteness of the person, in the preciseness of an individual born of a womanÖ. Without this perception as a starting point I believe that it is difficult to understand the meaning itself of the figure of Christ. Passion for what is human and thus passion for freedom.î Father Giussaniís reflectionsñexemplified in judgments on historical eventsñstart from this point.

There is a tremendous boost implicit in such a formulation of a discussion on politics: the value placed on freedom, understood as the core of the self, which does not depend on its biological or historical antecedents and is expressed in essential desires.

It is the fuel which makes the Christian a great promoter of a truly ìsecularî state, that is to say, devoid of the temptation to repress or to reduceñaccording to oneís purposes of power or hegemonyñevery movement and the rise of all initiative in individuals and in the intermediary communities.

Therefore in all these years, in a movement which by now has a long history and has not been afraid to swim against the current, many of us have felt the responsibility to become involved in concrete battles, of great political value, for freedom in the fields of education, business initiatives, personal services.

Today in Italy there is truly a need for examples and instruments that, like the book cited above, witness to this indomitable passion.