In order to create “a new generation of Catholics engaged at social, civil and political levels”, “educative proposals that draw from traditional models are no longer sufficient”. It “requires a new thought, a vision that will respond to the problems and needs which changed circumstances have brought to the fore”, said Msgr. Mariano Crociata, CEI Secretary General, in the June 25 meeting in Rome of the assistants and consultants of ecclesial bodies committed in providing formative tools for social responsibility. In his analysis, Msgr. Crociata underlined that “the need for a new generation of Catholics has not been caused by the absence of politicians, unionists, or Catholic institutional figures. Rather, it is due to the lack of an overall religiously integrated social framework along with the lack of Christian vitality and of appropriate Christian inspiration within the social, political and civil realms”. “It’s impressive – the bishop said – that so many people form part of a crowd that represents the disconcerting image of a Country conditioned by the presence of corrupt and corruptors, tax-evaders and parasites, exploiters and advocates of widespread illegality, systematic defenders of the reaffirmation of rights in ignorance, if not in the denigration, of duties and responsibility”.
A sole thought. The “social and civil responsibility of believers”, the bishop underlined, has been at the centre of “manifold initiatives and contacts” which include the meetings of Cardinal Bagnasco with the Catholic dignitaries convened at the Labour Forum in Todi past October, with the members of the “Science and Life” delegation in November, with “Reteinopera” members (Federation of Catholic bodies) in December, followed by the meeting of the deans of Diocesan Social and Political formation schools in March, along with the encounters with Catholic representatives from all political groups.
Evolution and weakness. Analysing the Italian situation, Msgr. Crociata highlighted the “persistence of a popular form of Catholicism in our country” which is subjected to constant erosion, ever more often lacking adequate political representativity, for reasons related not only to individual qualities and responsibilities but also to the evolution of the cultural and institutional framework”, thus bringing about a “intermingled situation whereby the evolution of public life is combined with the weakness in the quality of Catholics’ presence”. “Together – is the appeal of Msgr. Crociata to national assistants and consultants of ecclesial associations engaged in the social field – we are called to fulfilled fulfil a difficult albeit necessary mission marked by the “combination of our pastoral responsibility, expectations of our members and registered participants, the historical task of the Church in Italy”. The “complex current situation”, for the bishop, shows that “believers assume their responsibilities in the family, on the workplace, in social relations”. However, this commitment is coupled by “ambiguities, incoherence and contradictions that contribute to explaining Italy’s situation today”, characterized by a “weakness in the awareness of Catholic faith and of the moral conscience of individuals” which requires “a careful assessment of our formative proposal and of our respective paths” in harmony with the requests of the Italian bishops ask in the realm of education over the past decade.
Pitfalls and integrity. “While the need for the presence of faith and its peculiarities in the public realm through the Church seems to gain ground”, CEI Secretary General said, “separating faith from the public and private sphere is being proposed once more in the lives of individuals, who tend to think, and to live, as if faith were a private business, and as if all matters regarding social and civil life were to be treated on the basis of a mundane approach”. This “pitfall” adds on to the another whereby “all that is related to personal or private behaviour is to be considered of secondary importance”. The result is “to consider faith as separate from life and from the coherence requested, and to eliminate the need for moral tenets, which are thus reduced to moralism”. “Integrity, understood as the unity of thought and life, i.e. as the integrity of the human person, is part and parcel of faith as we are called to live it by the Church”, said Msgr. Crociata, who called upon all believers to establish a “social unity between social ethics and the ethics of life with a specific emphasis on the latter, for the safeguard of the identity and the inalienable dignity of all human persons, in all situations, from the moment of conception to its natural termination”. Associations are tasked with “identifying the constitutive elements for a formative proposal that may lead the faithful to be capable of assuming their own responsibilities in the private and public spheres, in order to respond to the expectations that our country hopes to receive through Catholics’ presence”.