Bringing the Gospel to cities

The key word of the Social Week of Alicante has been "solidarity". An encounter with a national bearing

Three intense days of analyses and diagnoses: these are the main features of the 42nd Spanish Social Week, that took place a few days in Alicante on the theme “For a new society. Challenges and proposals”. “Undoubtedly we have reached our goals. In the week we appealed to a new society, proposing challenges and initiatives, with three days of reflection on various themes, through panel speeches and thematic round tables”, said the president of the national Council of the Social Weeks of Spain, Vicente Navarro de Luján, upon the closure of the meeting promoted by the Bishops’ Conferences. In their speeches, national and international experts highlighted the main problems that challenge Europe along with the new forms of participation in public life that could favour the Spanish Church. Greater participation. During the Week there was great talk of civil economy, collective commitment for the common good, communication, new languages, responsible institutions, social commitment and solidarity. Solidarity was also the focus to which the apostolic nuncio of Spain, Mons. Renzo Fratini appealed to: “Given the ongoing ethical crisis it’s important to follow and embrace the Social Doctrine of the Church reconsidering solidarity as the basic principle of Christian understanding”. The same concept was reiterated by the bishop of Orihuela-Alicante, Monsignor Jesús Murgui, who recalled: “it’s time to be involved for a larger participation and presence in favour of a new era that may prompt the emergence of a new society. This must lead to greater knowledge and acquisition of wisdom to preserve the Social Doctrine of the Church”. The bishop emeritus of Orihuela-Alicante, Monsignor Rafael Palmero, appreciated the fact that Alicante was selected as the venue of the event, “an open and welcoming society”, and of his diocese for the celebration of the works, expressing the hope that it may host the event also in the future. The speech by Card. Barbarin. The Cardinal archbishop of Lyon, Philippe Barbarin, member of the doctrinal Commission of the French Bishops’ Conference, was a prominent speaker in the event. In his lecture on “Evangelization in large cities”, His Eminence highlighted three fundamental aspects for the evangelizing committee: closeness, the creation of a new language and the need to encourage the initiative prompting freedom among Catholics. “Cities are the places that speak of the encounter of God with mankind, praise its joy, and must always be the object of our full attention so we may be enabled to hold these ever-new encounters”, said Cardinal Barbarin. He thus called for the creation of dedicated areas, groups and initiatives for solidarity, spirituality, communication and peace in the cities. He also stressed the need for an urban renewal “thereby ensuring that a sense of belonging of the newly-arrived in the community will take roots”. The role of Catholics in the economy. Stefano Zamagni, world renowned European economist, a major representative of the current of thought known as civil economy, addressed the issue of “livening the European project and Catholics’ commitment in this process”, contributing to the recovery of the concept of the common good, beyond private property and the public good”. A snapshot of the current situation and of economic prospects of Spain was provided by the Professor of applied economy at the University CEU San Paolo, professor of Economics and the Enterprise, Rafael Pampillón Olmedo. “Economy recovery will have to come through foreign demand, this is why it is crucial to improve competitiveness and fiscal consolidation, that should continue”, the economist said. “We must put people in a condition of equality and adopt common policies through efficient, competent institutions”, he added. He also defended “exports as the engine, and change as a need”. Between State and society. The relationship model between Society and State was analysed by the professor of Political Science and by the administration of the University of Murcia, Fernando Jiménez Sánchez, for whom the opportunities to create a new society entail “a new collective project that will increase confidence and sense of belonging to the community inspired by three pillars: institutional transformations, changes in the Communities’ support and collective identity: a change in moral sentiment”.

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