0.- La Nueva Evangelización y la Medicina
Dr. J.Mª. Simón Castellví (España)

Presidente de la F.I.A.M.C.

http://www.fiamc.org/


En este Año de la Fe y del Sínodo sobre la Nueva Evangelización, la Federación Internacional de Asociaciones Médicas Católicas (FIAMC) publica un número extraordinario, de notoria calidad, con técnicas modernas de comunicación. Hace ya unos 20 años publicamos un “Decisions” sobre el tema, que fue objeto del Congreso internacional de Oporto (1994), al que tuve la oportunidad de acudir. Esta vez utilizamos la imponente Basílica de la Sagrada Familia de Barcelona y su misa de dedicación, a la que también pudimos asistir, como base para comunicar la Buena Nueva.

Estoy convencido que la Nueva Evangelización se basa en los medios de siempre, con un renovado empeño y quizá con nuevos métodos. El éxito de la misma dependerá, más que de las actividades que se lleven a cabo, de la pureza del corazón con que se convoquen, realicen y acepten. Los médicos católicos ponemos nuestro grano de arena para colaborar en la Misión de toda la Iglesia.

Decisions, 1994, Porto FIAMC Congress

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Apostolic Letter «Motu Proprio data» Porta Fidei for the Indiction of the Year of Faith (October 11, 2011)
[ArabicEnglishFrenchGermanItalianLatinPolish,PortugueseSpanish]

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XIII  Synod of Bishops

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Index: cntrl+f

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1.- NUOVA EVANGELIZZAZIONE E MONDO DELLA SALUTE

S.E. Mons. Zygmunt Zimowski  (Polonia, Città del Vaticano)

Presidente del Pontificio Consiglio per gli Operatori Sanitari

Con sempre maggiore insistenza la voce del Santo Padre Benedetto XVI si leva per riaffermare la necessità e l’urgenza di una riscoperta delle radici cristiane in particolare nelle regioni di antica cristianizzazione. Richiamando tale impegno, egli si inserisce nel solco già tracciato dal Predecessore, il Beato Giovanni Paolo II, che già nei primi anni di Pontificato ha inteso dare seguito all’invito a spalancare le porte a Cristo, indicando la strada di una rinnovata evangelizzazione.

Per la prima volta, infatti, il termine “Nuova Evangelizzazione” è stato promulgato da Giovanni Paolo II, in Polonia nel 1979, a Nowa Huta, quando affermò che: “È iniziata una nuova evangelizzazione, quasi si trattasse di un secondo annuncio, anche se in realtà è sempre lo stesso. La croce sta alta sul mondo che volge”.

Molte altre volte Giovanni Paolo II ritornò nei suoi discorsi e documenti sullo stesso tema. In particolare, nel documento Redemptoris missio scrisse: “Mai come oggi la Chiesa ha l’opportunità di far giungere il Vangelo, con la testimonianza e la parola, a tutti gli uomini ed a tutti i popoli. Vedo albeggiare una nuova epoca missionaria, che diventerà giorno radioso e ricco di frutti, se tutti i cristiani e, in particolare, i missionari e le giovani chiese risponderanno con generosità e santità agli appelli e sfide del nostro tempo”. Ancora, dopo il Sinodo dell’anno 2003, che affrontò il tema Gesù Cristo, vivente nella sua Chiesa, sorgente di speranza per l’Europa, nella relativa Esortazione Apostolica Ecclesia in Europa, sottolineò che è “emersa l’urgenza e la necessità della «nuova evangelizzazione», nella consapevolezza che «l’Europa non deve oggi semplicemente fare appello alla sua precedente eredità cristiana: occorre infatti che sia messa in grado di decidere nuovamente del suo futuro nell’incontro con la persona e il messaggio di Gesù Cristo»”. Ugualmente, possiamo tornare anche alle sue parole che ha pronunciato a Haiti nel 1983: “Guardate al futuro prendendo una Nuova Evangelizzazione, Nuova nel suo entusiasmo, Nuova nei suoi metodi, Nuova nel modo di espressione”.

Invece nella Lettera Apostolica Novo Millennio Ineunte del gennaio 2001, parlò del futuro della Chiesa del nuovo secolo, ricordando le parole di Gesù rivolte a

Pietro: Duc in altum! “Prendi il largo”, invitando così la Chiesa a non avere paura di entrare nel mare aperto della storia umana, confidando nella potenza di Cristo.

Facendosi interprete di tale impegnativo compito, che costituì uno dei cardini del vasto Magistero del Beato Giovanni Poalo II, lo stesso Benedetto XVI con la Lettera Apostolica in forma di Motu Proprio Ubicumque et semper il 21 settembre 2010 ha istituito un nuovo organismo in seno alla Curia Romana, ovvero il Pontificio Consiglio per la Promozione della Nuova Evangelizzazione. Frutto del Concilio Vaticano II per un rinnovato impulso nel trovare adeguate forme per consentire ai nostri contemporanei di udire ancora la Parola viva ed eterna del Signore, il suddetto Dicastero costituisce il punto di riferimento per una pluralità di interventi, tutti volti a rimodulare l’annuncio del vangelo nei più differenziati ambiti della vita ecclesiale e civile, ivi compreso il complesso mondo della salute nelle sue diverse articolazioni, senza escludere in questo coloro che sono chiamati ad adempiere il delicato compito di esserne anche amministratori anche dal punto di vista politico e finanziario.

Per accrescere l’impegno impresso in questa opera di rinnovata evangelizzazione, il Sommo Pontefice, con il Motu proprio Porta Fidei dell’11 ottobre 2011 ha inoltre indetto l’Anno della Fede, affidando in particolare ai Pastori di fare riscoprire a tutti i fedeli la forza e la bellezza della fede mediante lo strumento del catechismo della Chiesa cattolica, promulgato vent’anni orsono dal Beato Giovanni Paolo II. L’Anno della Fede, che avrà inizio l’11 ottobre 2012 e che si concluderà nella Solennità di Nostro Gesù Cristo, Re dell’Universo il 24 novembre del 2013, si aprirà con l’assise Sinodale, durante la quale verrà messo in discussione il tema de: La nuova evangelizzazione per la trasmissione della fede cristiana. In tale Assemblea anche il Pontificio Consiglio per gli Operatori Sanitari (per la Pastorale della Salute) avrà modo di offrire un contributo, specialmente in relazione al mondo della sofferenza, quale ambito specifico nel quale ammalati, famiglie, operatori sanitari, volontari… sono chiamati a riscoprire il senso cristiano della sofferenza e i criteri per affrontare i sempre più incalzanti problemi di bioetica, alla luce della fede in Gesù Cristo. I temi che verranno affrontati in detta sede costituiranno anche l’oggetto di una specifica pubblicazione dal titolo: “Pastorale sanitaria e nuova Evangelizzazione”; si tratterà della versione rivista ed aggiornata del Sussidio preparato nel 1992 in occasione del Sinodo speciale sull’Europa.

Come ormai è consuetudine, nel mese di novembre 2012, e precisamente nei giorni 15-17, si svolgeranno a Roma due eventi culturali importanti nel campo della pastorale della salute; il primo riguarda la XXVII Conferenza Internazionale, promossa dal nostro Dicastero e che avrà per tema: L’Ospedale, luogo di evangelizzazione, missione umana e spirituale, che vedrà la partecipazione di circa 700 persone provenienti da 80 Paesi. In concomitanza con questo Convegno, eprecisamente dal 15 al 18 novembre, le Associazioni dei Medici Cattolici Italiani ed Europei (AMCI e FEAMC) terranno sempre a Roma il loro Congresso presso la Facoltà di Medicina e Chirurgia dell’Università Cattolica “Agostino Gemelli”, sul tema: Bioethics and Christian Europe.

A motivo di tale felice coincidenza, il Pontificio Consiglio per gli Operatori Sanitari, d’intesa con i Presidenti delle Associazioni degli Operatori Sanitari e dei Movimenti Ecclesiastici di Assistenza e di Accompagnamento dei Malati, nonché con le Facoltà di Medicina, di Scienze Infermieristiche di Roma, organizzerà nell’Aula Paolo VI in Vaticano un momento di riflessione e di preghiera, a cui prenderanno parte, oltre ai partecipanti alla XXVII Conferenza Internazionale, al Congresso dell’AMCI e della FEAMC, anche gli studenti in medicina degli Atenei romani, medici, farmacisti, infermieri, volontari ed altre professionisti, rappresentanti tutte le figure del mondo della salute. In tale occasione, avremo modo di ascoltare le parole che il Santo Padre vorrà inviare al variegato mondo della salute e della sofferenza, quale luogo di una rinnovata e profetica evangelizzazione.

In occasione, poi, della XXI Giornata Mondiale del Malato, che si celebrerà in modo solenne in Germania l’11 febbraio 2013 nel Santuario mariano di Altötting, e che avrà come tema “Va ed anche tu fa lo stesso” (Lc 10,37). Il Buon Samaritano. Far del bene a chi soffre e far del bene con la propria sofferenza, oltre ai fedeli ed agli operatori socio-sanitari e pastorali della Germania, si avrà il concorso di una cospicua rappresentanza delle Chiese di tutti i continenti, in particolare dei medici, farmacisti e volontari sanitari europei. In quella stessa circostanza, con i Vescovi che interverranno in qualità di Delegati per la Pastorale della Salute, verranno discusse e definite azioni concrete di promozione della nuova evangelizzazione in Europa, dando concreta attuazione alla riflessione che verrà elaborata nel Convegno teologico-pastorale che si svolgerà all’Università Cattolica di Eichstätt, nell’ambito delle celebrazioni della suddetta Giornata.

A conclusione dell’Anno della Fede, nel mese di ottobre 2013, il Pontificio Consiglio per gli Operatori Sanitari intende poi organizzare un pellegrinaggio in Terra Santa, con l’aiuto dell’Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi ed in collaborazione con le tre Federazioni Internazionali Cattoliche dei Medici (FIAMC), Infermiere (CICIAMS) e Farmacisti (FIPC), nonché con un gruppo di Cappellani e Volontari; sarà questo un momento per rinsaldare anche comunitariamente, attraverso il concorso delle diverse associazioni riconducibili al mondo sanitario, l’impego ad una nuovo slancio di evangelizzazione.

In sintesi, credo che anche questo sommario spettro programmatico, che si fa carico del mandato apostolico, riveli quanto il mondo della salute e degli operatori sanitari costituisca una prezioso strumento per tracciare un solco sanante ed evangelizzante nel presente momento storico della Chiesa.

In tal senso il mio augurio va a tutti coloro che, credendo nel valore dell’associazionismo cattolico nelle diverse e complementari professioni socio-sanitarie, si sentiranno chiamati in prima persona a lasciarsi coinvolgere in questa fase della vita della Chiesa, al fine di immettere nel tessuto del mondo della salute quegli imperituri valori evangelici che al presente necessitano di una rinnovata e speculare testimonianza.

Città del Vaticano, 6 giugno 2012

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2.- Il medico e la nuova evangelizzazione

Dott. Ermanno Pavesi (Svizzera)

Segretario Generale F.I.A.M.C.


Un aspetto fondamentale della nuova evangelizzazione è senz’altro la propria testimonianza, l’impegno personale e comunitario a favore dei sofferenti, dei più deboli e fragili, e questo vale in modo particolare per le professioni sanitarie. In un recente discorso il Santo Padre ha ricordato però la situazione particolare che condiziona la nuova evangelizzazione nel mondo moderno. Mentre in passato si poteva dare per scontato un consenso su certi principi etici generali, “oggi – ha affermato Benedetto XVI – tale consenso si è ridotto in modo significativo dinanzi a nuove e potenti correnti culturali, che non solo sono direttamente opposte a vari insegnamenti morali centrali della tradizione giudaico-cristiana, ma anche sempre più ostili al cristianesimo in quanto tale” [1]. Molto spesso queste correnti culturali sostengono l’incompatibilità di scienza e ragione con la fede.

Il campo della bioetica offre al medico cattolico la possibilità di un confronto con concezioni etiche “laiche” e di mostrare che è possibile conciliare fede e ragione. È necessario correggere quelle teorie correnti che pretendono di fondare scientificamente la critica alla tradizione morale giudaico-cristiana e confutare in questo modo alcuni preconcetti nei confronti della fede, cercando quindi di ricostruire un consenso sui principi generali, soprattutto per quanto riguarda la difesa della vita e una visione dell’uomo rispettosa della sua dignità.


[1] Benedetto XVI, Discorso agli Ecc.mi presuli della Conferenza dei
Vescovi cattolici degli Stati Uniti d’America in visita «ad limina apostolorum», 19 gennaio 2012.

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A.M.D.G.
3.- MAN KNOW YOUR DIGNITY

Dr Henrietta Williams M.D. Obs/Gyn, Nigeria

The Church was born on Pentecost Sunday 2012 years ago. We are the Church, the body of Christ.Let us reflect on who we are, and how we hope to attain our destiny in God`s plan.
“Jesus answered, It is written in your own Law that God said,` You are gods.` We know that whatscripture says is true forever; and God called those people gods, the people to whom his messagewas given.” John 10: 34 – 35. Have we as medical doctors ever imagined that God wants us to begods, like Himself, the One Almighty God?
Jesus is quoting here psalm 82: 6 where God judges divine beings, and their failure to uphold justicefor the powerless in the domains assigned to them thereby destabilising the physical world, and thedarkness or ignorance of the netherworld where the dead gods are sent Gods plan is to reproduce Himself in humanity, by making us the children of the most high God, andso immortal like Himself. Immortality was a jealously guarded privilege of the gods.

God loves us, and Jesus taught us to call God Our Father. God the Father created original mannaturally in his image and likeness and commissioned him to multiply and rule his domain, theworld. Gen 1: 26 – 28. Adam and Eve were holy and walked with God.
Unfortunately, sin was introduced to mankind by God`s enemy Satan. (Gen. 3). Sin is opposing God`swill, the penalty for which is death. So humanity was condemned to death, Rom. 6:23, but God`s willis always done, so God willed that we be rescued from the death penalty by His son Jesus. Lk 1: 31-32, 35. This He did by the mystery of his death and resurrection.
It is not by accident that God the Son is human. We have been created to look like Jesus, not theother way round because Jesus has always existed. John 8:58.` Evolution` from the big bang has been driven by God towards the birth of Jesus, true God and True Man, the first born of the newcreation of the children of God.(Col. 1:15 – 18), children born, not of flesh, but of the Holy Spirit. Inthe feast of Pentecost, we celebrate the spiritual rebirth of the new humanity, the church.
Following our spiritual birth, the Holy Spirit helps us to grow into adulthood, informing us andtransforming us to become like God himself, holy, and full of love for God and our neighbour.Our nutrition is the Eucharist, the body and blood of Jesus. (Jn. 6 :53-57.) We are also nourishedby reading the bible, the word of God, worshiping God in mass and the sacraments, and being infellowship with other catholics.
It is the Holy Spirit that makes us `gods`, holy, meriting Immortality. Holiness prepares us forrecovering our body`s after death, just like Jesus, and Mary, so that we can spend the rest of ourlives happily in God`s presence. This wonderful legacy starts from the moment of life, at fertilisation.
THE DOCTOR`S DUTY IS TO PROTECT HUMAN LIFE FROM FERTILISATION TO NATURAL DEATH.

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4.- Medici Cattolici: custodi e servitori della Vita

Per una nuova evangelizzazione della medicina

Dr. Franco Balzaretti

Segretario Generale AMCI

http://www.amci.org

Le straordinarie acquisizioni in campo medico scientifico, degli ultimi decenni, hanno profondamente trasformato o, per meglio dire, stravolto la medicina moderna ed uno dei cambiamenti più significativi riguarda il rapporto fiduciario fra medico e paziente

Si sta sempre più diffondendo l’idea secondo cui il medico – come ogni altro professionista – debba essere solo un prestatore d’opera, un mero esecutore ed offrire quindi le sue prestazioni professionali, senza giudicare o mettere in alcun modo in discussione le richieste dei suoi pazienti.

In passato il nascere, il vivere, il soffrire e il morire erano illuminati dalla fede o almeno dai valori dell’amore e della solidarietà umana. Oggi certi valori sembrano spazzati via dal vento impietoso del secolarismo. Ed ecco che si cercano nuovi significati, nuovi valori (esoterici, utopistici, economici etc…), che nulla hanno a che fare con la visione cristiana della vita. In questo contesto si cerca di pianificare e di programmare tutto: la gioia, il dolore, la vita e la stessa morte che viene, sempre più esorcizzata, eclissata e, al tempo stesso,  tecnicizzata.

“… Non somministrerò ad alcuno, neppure se richiesto, un farmaco mortale, né suggerirò un tale consiglio; similmente a nessuna donna io darò un medicinale abortivo”. A pronunciare queste parole è Ippocrate nel suo giuramento dal V secolo a.C. su cui ancor oggi si fonda la nostra deontologia e Ippocrate sosteneva anche “E’ più importante conoscere la persona che non la malattia”.

Ma con l’affermazione della medicina basata sulle evidenze (EBM) si è sviluppata la tendenza a considerare la malattia soltanto un insieme di dati, segni clinici e sintomi.

Così, se da un lato possiamo disporre di nuove e migliori possibilità diagnostiche e terapeutiche, dall’altro assistiamo al progressivo inaridimento della nostra peculiare capacità di ascoltare il paziente, di comunicare con lui, di comprenderne sofferenze, paure e speranze, trascurando di conseguenza la componente umana e relazionale della malattia e quindi il rapporto medico-paziente.

Ed infatti, attualmente, di fronte al dolore, alla sofferenza e persino di fronte alla morte l’opinione pubblica  sembra quasi assopita in un’indifferenza disumana!

Per cui il ruolo, i compiti e la figura stessa del medico sono mutati nel tempo. In passato un medico si trovava difficilmente a vivere gravi conflitti di coscienza, per il comportamento da adottare nei confronti del proprio paziente.

Egli offriva, solitamente, al paziente tutto quello che la scienza medica e la tecnologia permettevano, in un quadro di armonica convivenza tra etica, deontologia e diritto.

Oggi la situazione è profondamente cambiata, per le nuove acquisizioni tecnologiche unitamente alle profonde trasformazioni sociali. La realtà storica in cui viviamo, molto complessa e, per diversi aspetti, drammatica, è caratterizzata da continui conflitti ideologici, dubbi e questioni morali. Per cui ci domandiamo se il concetto di progresso possa essere utopisticamente disgiunto da ogni limite o regola, come qualcuno sembra prospettare

Anche perché lo sviluppo delle scienze, delle tecnologie, della cultura, delle relazioni sociali, e la libertà, che abbiamo conquistato con notevoli sacrifici, ci hanno consentito di raggiungere una straordinaria evoluzione, soprattutto nel campo medico.

Si rende, quindi, sempre più necessaria un’adeguata riflessione etica, in quanto, superati i fragili equilibri tra le varie forme di potere, il mondo va avanti senza freni, sotto il primato del mercato e del profitto.

Ed, in questo contesto, il tema di fondo è proprio quello del rapporto tra etica e progresso scientifico, ossia del rapporto fra il grande sviluppo della scienza e il suo inquadramento in termini etico-morali, secondo i quali non è automaticamente lecito tutto ciò che è possibile per la ricerca.

Da qui anche il monito di Papa Benedetto XVI[1]: «Una ragione che, di fronte al divino, è sorda e respinge la religione, nell’ambito delle sottoculture, è incapace di inserirsi nel dialogo delle culture». La razionalità non quindi è contro Dio ma, al contrario, è Sua alleata. E questo in quanto la legge della natura è, al tempo stesso, anche la legge della ragione.

Tuttavia oggi c’è la tendenza, sempre più diffusa, a privilegiare il desiderio a fare tutto ciò che è tecnicamente possibile fare.

Eppure Pericle, nel suo discorso sulla democrazia, già affermava che noi, non solo dobbiamo rispettare le leggi in quanto tali, ma dobbiamo soprattutto rispettare le leggi non scritte; che sono le leggi naturali, indistinguibili, nella concezione classica, da quelle divine. Come si evince peraltro in Antigone, la famosa tragedia di Sofocle in cui la protagonista Antigone, pur di seppellire il fratello Polinice, si era ribellata al divieto del re Creonte, per rispettare una legge morale superiore. Ma  perchè  questa tragedia, dopo 2500 anni, è ancora attuale?

Il divieto di Creonte è l’espressione di una volontà tirannica, Mentre per Antigone, il principale punto di forza del suo ragionamento si fonda sul sostenere che un decreto umano non può non rispettare una legge divina

Il cristianesimo nascente ha quindi felicemente incontrato questa visione della legge naturale nel mondo greco-romano.

Per cui il mondo antico, diversamente da quello moderno, eppure esattamente come quello cristiano, riconosceva già la legge naturale come legge divina e razionale.

Pur tuttavia alcuni esponenti della cultura laica ritengono inaccettabile questo concetto ed il monito del Santo Padre, in quanto, a loro parere, frena la cosiddetta «libertà della scienza e della ricerca scientifica», una libertà, che dovrebbe essere illimitatamente assoluta.

Ma ci sono dei seri dubbi che esista davvero questa libertà, perché si ha l’impressione che ci siano già fin troppi condizionamenti.

I mezzi economici sono certamente inadeguati e comunque non sono sempre investiti con equità e trasparenza, anche perché chi decide è comunque pur sempre un uomo; un uomo che può avere la tentazione di asservire il proprio lavoro ad altri interessi.

Ecco perché dobbiamo sviluppare il nostro concetto di ragione, innalzandola verso l’alto, verso il trascendente.

E lo potremo fare solo se saremo capaci di superare la limitazione autodecretata della ragione a ciò che è verificabile nell’esperimento, e ad aprirci maggiormente al metafisico.

Per cui per una nuova evangelizzazione della medicina siamo tutti consapevoli che si dovrebbe maggiormente promuovere una cultura per la vita, che rappresenta una delle finalità principali dell’Associazione Medici Cattolici. E questo proprio perché le caratteristiche irrinunciabili di una associazione ecclesiale come la nostra: sono la difesa incondizionata dei valori non negoziabili (vita, famiglia, educazione) e la condivisione di uno «stile» associativo che coniughi, rispettandole, scienza e fede.

Ma viviamo in un’epoca in cui per la gente comune è talvolta difficile discernere tra la cultura della vita e quella della morte. Parte dell’opinione pubblica giustifica infatti dei delitti contro la vita in nome della libertà individuale.

In alcuni Paesi ci sono leggi con le quali viene riconosciuta piena legittimità a comportamenti contrari alla vita, e magari anche in contrasto con i principi costituzionali; e questo provoca nella società un grave crollo morale, che non viene sempre avvertito.

La stessa medicina, che per sua natura deve tendere alla difesa e alla cura della vita umana, in alcuni suoi settori si presta sempre più a realizzare atti contro la persona. In tal modo contraddice se stessa e rischia di oscurare la dignità di quanti la esercitano.

Tutto ciò fa emergere l’urgenza di educare alla cultura della vita. Da una parte, infatti, si assiste alla soppressione di vite umane nascenti o sulla via del tramonto. Dall’altra, la coscienza fa fatica sempre più a distinguere il bene dal male in ciò che tocca lo stesso fondamentale valore della vita umana.

E noi dobbiamo sempre rammentare che ci sono limiti e regole. Regole scritte e non scritte (come già indicava Pericle ecome si evince dalla tragedia di Antigone). Regole che dobbiamo sempre rispettare, se vogliamo essere degni del nostro titolo di medici, ma, soprattutto, se vogliamo fregiarci della qualifica di cattolici

E quindi la nostra qualifica di cattolici deve evidenziarsi in modo concreto e tangibile, non solo dalle tessere e dai distintivi, che pure hanno la loro importanza, ma dalla nostra condotta professionale, dal nostro comportamento con i pazienti e con i colleghi, dalla capacità di comunicare, di dialogare e di collaborare.

Per cui ci auguriamo che ogni medico, ogni ricercatore ed ogni operatore sanitario possa sperimentare, ogni giorno di più, la gioia profonda che nasce dal servire e difendere la vita e dall’amore per questi nostri fratelli più piccoli: embrioni, malati terminali, portatori di handicap, sofferenti nel corpo e nella mente… nei cui occhi splende la luce del Cristo vivente.

Una luce che, pur tra le molteplici difficoltà, in cui ogni giorno prestiamo la nostra opera, non si spegne e non si indebolisce mai, ed anzi ci sostiene sempre con vigore, aiutandoci ad andare comunque avanti con coerenza, con coraggio, con fiducia.

Anche perché ne siamo certi : “Portae inferi non praevalebunt


[1] Vedi la Lectio Magistralis di Benedetto XVI «Fede, ragione e università – Ricordi e riflessioni», tenuta il 12 settembre 2006 presso l’università di Ratisbona

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5.- The Magnitude of ‘Walking in the Truth’

(3 Jn 1)

H.E. Msgr. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo

Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciencies

http://www.casinapioiv.va/content/accademia/en.html

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Mt 5:9)

As the organizer Professor Russ Hittinger pointed out, nearly fifty years have passed from the historic Encyclical Pacem in Terris, the most complete, thorough and successful document of the Magisterium on the topic of peace. PT echoes the historical moment in which it was written, as well as the Gospel’s core values and the principles of the patristic and medieval reflection and its modern development, that is, the perennial principles of the Magisterium of the Church.

In his Message for the celebration of the 36th World Peace Day (2003), which marked the 40th anniversary of Pacem in Terris, the Blessed Pope John Paul II said: ‘Looking at the present and into the future with the eyes of faith and reason, Blessed John XXIII discerned deeper historical currents at work. Things were not always what they seemed on the surface. Despite wars and rumours of wars, something more was at work in human affairs, something that to the Pope looked like the promising beginning of a spiritual revolution’.[1]

With the prophetic spirit that characterized him, John XXIII identified the essential pillars for peace as the four deepest needs of the human spirit empowered by the Gospel of Christ. These pillars and requirements were already set out in the subtitle of the encyclical, which reads: On establishing universal peace in truth, justice, charity, and liberty. In order to keep within the timeframe kindly allocated to me, I will briefly analyse the topic of truth in its perennial value, current development and transcendent power.

Veritas liberavit vos

The words of the Gospel, ‘the truth will set you free’,[2] have a perennial value and shine divine light onto that human activity that makes the effort to search and testify the truth. Truth is the goal of the universe, ‘ultimus finis totius universi est veritas’, as St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest geniuses of thought, wrote.[3] PT restored ‘the right to be free to seek out the truth, the duty to devote oneself to an ever deeper and wider search for it’ (29), as the most proper to the human being as such. Of course, the Pope’s Magisterium refers primarily to ‘saving truth’ or those truths which lead us to eternal life, i.e. the existence and providence of God, salvation by the grace of Christ the Redeemer and its extension in the Church until the end of time, but also to the many philosophical and scientific truths that must be taken into account in order to live a good and peaceful life in this world, both individually and socially, nationally and internationally. Many developments of these ultimate truths, especially those of science and the social sciences, were unknown fifty years ago. The encyclical, however, foresaw future developments: ‘The age in which we live needs all these things. It is an age in which men, having discovered the atom and achieved the breakthrough into outer space, are now exploring other avenues, leading to almost limitless horizons’ (156).

As to the ‘truths of salvation’, it should be said, without fear of error, that they have been clouded by the growing process of secularization that has been accelerating since the PT, with the rapid spread, especially in Europe, of agnosticism and of a relativist and nihilist pragmatic atheism, on the one hand, and of the ‘demythization’ and even the denial of the historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth, on the other. It is clear that the great and Blessed Pope John Paul II, who was of the likes of Gregory the Great, led a successful battle against atheistic communism in Central Europe, but maybe was not as successful in reversing and healing this unhealthy tendency of Western positivistic atheism. Thus, since the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI has placed at the centre of his teaching and of his Petrine mission the programme of returning to God and to Christ the Saviour (the subject of two of his bestselling books). This is also why we invited H.E. Msgr Ladaria. For this reason, Benedict XVI chose to proclaim 2012 ‘Year of the Faith’, to transmit the profound joy of Faith, Hope and Charity in the Church and in each and every Christian, with the added benefit for all people of goodwill, of the fruits of the Spirit and peace in the world.

The pillars of transcendent truth

One of Pope Benedict XVI’s most noteworthy statements, which he expressed very clearly during his apostolic visit to Brazil in 2007 for the synod in Aparecida, is of particular significance for us. With his renowned theological and philosophical talent, Benedict XVI asks what the truth is: ‘what is this ‘reality’? What is real? Are only material goods, social, economic and political problems ‘reality’? This was precisely the great error of the dominant tendencies of the last century, a most destructive error, as we can see from the results of both Marxist and capitalist systems. They falsify the notion of reality by detaching it from the foundational and decisive reality which is God. Anyone who excludes God from his horizons falsifies the notion of ‘reality’ and, in consequence, can only end up in blind alleys or with recipes for destruction’.[4]

In these more secular times since the PT it has never been enough to insist on these pillars of reality and transcendent truth, which St. Augustine had proposed as ‘God and the soul’[5] and which had already been announced in the Gospel of John when he said that ‘no one has ever seen God’[6] but the Word made flesh introduced him to us. You can switch the order and go from God to the soul and to the world and back to God, which is a biblical and Augustinian descending process, or you can go from human actions to the soul and from it to God, which is an Aristotelian ascending process. There is a text by St Thomas Aquinas that can shed light on these truths that support faith (fides ut tenenda): ‘Faith cannot universally precede understanding, for it would be impossible to assent by believing what is proposed to be believed, without understanding it in some way. However, the perfection of understanding follows the virtue of faith: which perfection of understanding is itself followed by a kind of certainty of faith’.[7]

The truth of the sciences

This is where the anthropological question (as it is called today in Italy, and increasingly in Europe) fits in. Today we can shed new light on the crucial age-old question that has defined the West since the Greeks in the controversy between Socrates (and his school) and the sophists and empiricists, via the famous Paris debate between St. Thomas and the Averroists and the Avicebronist, passing by the German classical philosophy of freedom and reaching the present day with the contributions of positive science. The question is, what is the state of the human being, what does he participate of in nature and what is different? In short, no one can deny that the truth in its classical concept of correlation between mind and reality can also be found in the natural sciences and in social sciences considered in every sense. The Pontifical Academy of Sciences highlighted this in an excellent book that takes stock of the findings of the second half of the last century from the composition of matter, through biology (DNA’s double helix), developments of quantum mechanics and astrophysics up to the neurosciences and computer science.[8] When faced with the exaggerated subjectivism of the philosophies of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the natural sciences demanded a new type of realism that led Popes such as Pius XI, Pius XII and Paul VI up to the present day to take them into serious consideration. On the contrary, if the sciences are seen as the only form of true knowledge and considered absolute, self-reliant and self-referential, they become unsustainable, inhumane and ultimately contradictory. The claim that the only reality and truth is that which can be experienced and measured fatally reduces the human being to a product of nature, and as such not intelligent and free, and liable to being treated as just another animal. Thus, unlike the natural sciences and social sciences, each one ‘closed’ in the specialty of its object, which, as a whole, embraces only the horizon of material nature, philosophy and Christian theology today have the urgent task of opening and strengthening the field of transcendence, starting from the pillars of the immortality of the soul and the existence of God. But this does not mean that we should not do so also starting from the truths that science offers as such. Otherwise, we will not be reliable or credible, especially to the new generations who study in today’s secular universities, which are clearly dominated by a scientistic worldview. In other words, we should not begin by fighting a losing battle to establish the facts of nature or society, which are those that science provides us with. If it were not possible to reinterpret the natural data of the sciences and social sciences in the light of sound philosophy and theology we would be destined to simple repetition or error, contrary to the truth.

Of course this is not the right time to dwell on this task, as we have on other occasions, especially within this Academy and our sister Academy of Sciences. However, I think I can say that, regarding the PT, there are three places for dialogue that must be further examined today with a view to a real exchange between the objective or naturalistic approach of science, which is preponderant in contemporary culture, and the focus of the philosophical-theological reflection, starting with the aforementioned analysis of the human praxis which rediscovers the Socratic ‘know yourself’, i.e. a fundamental anthropology, that we can well call ontological with Fides et ratio.

These three points are: the field of biology with respect to the start and end of human life, the domain of the neural sciences, with the progressive discovery of the brain, this marvel in the architecture of our bodies, and, lastly, the genetic sciences which converge on evolutionary theories. To these issues of fundamental anthropology we must add the new problem of the human habitat or that part of nature that is within the reach of human beings. I am referring to climate change and global warming, which can now be understood, predicted, diagnosed, and addressed; to the innovation of GM foods that can help solve the growing tragedy (in absolute and relative terms) of hunger, and lastly to the issue of renewable energies which have accompanied man’s existence on earth and which we are now called to rely on again in a new way for our future and for peace. Moreover, today we know that these issues of environmental ecology are closely related to human ecology and vice versa; all truths that PT did not deal with.

Pope Benedict XVI who, at the top of the Church hierarchy, is probably the one who is most convinced of these new issues, summarises the topic with a principle that he has been repeating since the beginning of his Pontificate: ‘If you want to cultivate peace protect Creation’.[9] The Holy Father adds: ‘We can no longer do without a real change of outlook which will result in new life-styles’.[10] If culture tends toward nihilism, if not in a theoretical sense then at least in a practical sense, nature undoubtedly pays the consequences, as we are seeing. When human ecology is respected in society, environmental ecology also benefits from it. The Pope bases his reasoning on that theology and anthropology that we have indicated, and this is also new with respect to PT. This is the only way we can combine actual experience, which is specific to the sciences that are called experimental, with philosophy and theology in their respective roles and open a passageway between the solidity of matter and nature, to keep our consciences ever vigilant and in motion.

In the programme of the new evangelization as academics it should be our task to critically discern these new truths of the sciences and social sciences, as St Paul did in the Areopagus of Athens vis-à-vis Greek philosophy, recognising how these new truths can operate as new preambles of faith.

The new places of the truth

Another new issue is the controversial topic of the new authorities, places of truth (locus veritatis), and their communication, which the Encyclical had already foreseen: ‘[Man] has a natural right, also, to be accurately informed about public events’ (12) and to receive a ‘good general education’ (13), according to St Paul’s principle: ‘Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each one to his neighbour, for we are members one of another’.[11]

In order to follow the indications of the encyclical today, we should, first of all, quickly provide education to all the human beings of the planet, a primary need that we are behind in achieving, as was underlined by a joint workshop held by both our Academies in November 2005 and entitled Globalization and Education.[12] To explain the new educational approach for a Catholic vision of the world (Weltanschauengen) and the human being, we have invited Card. Rouco Varela, who, inter alia, deserves the main credit for the success of the 26 World Youth Day in Madrid.

PT emphatically returns to the topic of truth in politics when it says that, ‘The first point to be settled is that mutual ties between States must be governed by truth’ (86, 114). And on the topic of information and communication it adds that, ‘Truth further demands an attitude of unruffled impartiality in the use of the many aids to the promotion and spread of mutual understanding between nations which modern scientific progress has made available. This does not mean that people should be prevented from drawing particular attention to the virtues of their own way of life, but it does mean the utter rejection of ways of disseminating information which violate the principles of truth and justice, and injure the reputation of another nation’ (90).

One of the new places where opinions and trends are shaped is undoubtedly the Internet, simply by enabling its users to communicate with one another but also by making it harder to cover up the secrets of diplomacy, politics and banks. As you are well aware, this is creating a real revolution at all levels of society. Much of this information seems destined to lay bare not only the North American scenario, but also that of the other powers, launching a new era, one where the kingdoms that have been founded on secrets since the beginning of time (the reign of secrets that Machiavelli justifies on the basis of the principle of raison d’état) are inevitably destined, if not to die out, at least to be considerably reduced. In this sense, what can happen if the most serious truths come to light? Think of the revolution under way in the Arab world, which would have been unthinkable only a few months ago, which began with the self-immolation of a desperate young Tunisian named Mohamed Bouazizi and spread like wildfire via mobile phones, blogs, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter before it was picked up by the international media. In Egypt, although the government tried to cut off mobile and Internet communications, a young Google executive named Wael Ghonim created a Facebook page called ‘We are all Khaled Said’, a young Egyptian who was tortured to death by police in Alexandria, causing the irrepressible uprising of masses of people in the main squares, part of them hungry and part of them requesting respect for human rights and social justice. Further examples are the Indignados movement in Spain and Occupy Wall Street in the USA.

Precisely as a tribute to truth, from St Thomas Aquinas to John Locke, Western doctrine has given people the ‘right to resist oppression’. So what is it that has made this ancient principle so pertinent today? The communications revolution. This revolution, embodied by innovations such as YouTube, Google, Facebook, Twitter and other similar Internet products, is horizontal because it does not just connect broadcasters with an audience, it also connects the people that make up the audience with one another, peer-to-peer. People are now able to communicate truths among themselves and by themselves. Thanks to this revolution, Tunisians, Egyptians and Libyans have been able to get connected despite their despotic governments. Thanks to this revolution, the Syrians, the Chinese and the Iranians are also getting connected, reflecting the universal aspiration to human dignity, freedom and democracy. The latest news is that the same revolution has allowed Burma’s Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to win a by-election for parliament, meaning she could become president in 2015. The attempt of these various ideologies to control their peoples’ aspirations can now be criticised by the people themselves within their own nations and on a global scale thanks to these new horizontal forms of communications.

Speaking of Providence and trust in God, Thomas Aquinas, in the wake of St Paul, says that the things and events of this world are destined by Providence to the good of the people of good will who love the Lord.[13] Could this observation be applied, servatis servandis, by analogy to democracy? If the disclosure of state or banking secrets, or simple transparency in communications serves the people, why should it not be encouraged? Should it not be judged more strictly only if it affects people negatively? All kinds of information are useful for genuine democracies, which should live in truth, in accordance with PT, because it can help them make transparent decisions for the common good. In fact only dictatorships, especially single-person ones, very often based on corruption, are afraid of transparency and of spreading the truth about what is happening.[14]

Here I would have to include an important thematization of the truths that the social sciences have progressively shown in these fifty years from PT (many of which studied by our Academy), which are essentially related to the Christian faith and often derive from the message of Christ. I mean, for example, the conceptualization of person in social sciences, including other related and somewhat overlapping notions, such as the self as constitutive relational subject, freedom as possibility of being-one’s-self and collective responsibility, and capability as ability to perform acts of each person. I can also add the characterization of the human in general for the rights and agency, friendship like oneself as another, and the person’s claim for mutual recognition (Anerkennung) that has a close relation with the idea of citizenship in an national, international and global context. Much has been done but much still needs to be done, both from the points of view of theoretical reflection and social praxis. The new evangelization is called to take these truths into account, if it wants to imitate the first evangelization based on St Paul’s model.

In a way, the contribution of the social sciences as well as that of the natural sciences, of which you are authentic representatives, especially in this Year of the Faith, must be to help the Church find new and perennial truths in the current social context. They should serve as an aid or as preambles of the social doctrine of the Church, of theology and even of faith, to make easy for our contemporaries the path from reason to faith and from faith to reason, as indicated in Fides et ratio. St Thomas Aquinas, who was ahead of his times with his clear distinction and complementarily between faith and reason, wrote that “theology – although all other sciences are related to it in the order of generation, as serving it and as preambles to it – can make use of the principles of all the others, even if they are posterior to it in dignity” (Super Boetium de Trin., q. 2, a. 3 ad 7). Your statutes say that the Academy “offers the Church the elements which she can use in the development of her social doctrine” (art. 1): that is why the Church needs you, your critical sense of research, and your love of truth.

Veritatem facientes in charitate, crescamus (Ep 4:15)

Being truthful as a person (ἀληθεύοντες), speaking and defending the truth with simplicity and conviction, and bearing witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of love for each other and charity.[15] The world’s greatest shortage is not of oil, clean water, or food, but of true and moral leadership, i.e. of leaders who walk in the truth, who act according to the truth in their own lives. With a commitment to truth – Christian, philosophical, scientific, ethical, and personal – a society can overcome the many crises of poverty, disease, hunger, and instability that confront us. Yet power abhors truth, and battles it relentlessly. So let us pause to express gratitude to the Blessed John XXIII and the Blessed John Paul II but also to all those lay leaders who have given a generation the chance to live in truth. Just as lies and corruption are contagious, so, too, truth and courage spread from one champion to another.

Much of today’s struggle – everywhere – pits truth against deceit and greed. Even if our challenges are somewhat different from those faced by John XXIII and John Paul II, the importance of walking in the truth has not changed.

Today’s reality is of a world in which, oftentimes, wealth translates into power, and power is abused in order to increase personal wealth, at the expense of the poor and the natural environment. As those in power destroy the environment, launch wars on false pretexts, foment social unrest, ignore the plight of the poor, and the fifth of humanity that goes hungry, they seem unaware that they and their children will also pay a heavy price.

Moral leaders, who walk in the truth, nowadays should build on the foundations laid by John XXIII and John Paul II, whom St Peter’s successors acknowledged as blessed, i.e. as celestial intercessors and models for us. Many people, of course, now despair about the possibilities for constructive change. Yet the battles that we face – against powerful corporate lobbies, relentless public-relations spin, and the many lies and mistakes of our governments – are a shadow of what the Blessed John Paul II, and others faced when confronting brutal Soviet-backed regimes.

Today, in addition to the tools available to these champions of truth, we are empowered with the instruments of the social media to spread the word, overcome isolation, and mobilize millions in support of reform and renewal. Many of us enjoy minimum protections of speech and assembly, though these are inevitably hard won, imperfect, and fragile. Yet we are also blessed with the enduring inspiration of John Paul II’s life in truth, which is of the profoundest importance and benefit to humanity. Moreover, true Christians have always been able to count on the power of the grace of Christ and the gifts of his Holy Spirit. As the object of God’s love, men and women become participants in His divine nature and are called to make themselves dispensers and communicators of grace, and to weave networks of truth and charity.[16]


[1] 36th World Day of Peace Message, 2003, § 3.

[2] Jn 8, 32.

[3] St Thomas Aquinas, Contra Gent., l. 1, c. 1.

[4] Aparecida Address, 13 May 2007.

[5] ‘Deum et animam scire cupio’ (S. Aurelii Augustini, Op. Omnia, PL 32, Soliloquiorum, lib. II, 2 A).

[6] Jn, 1:18.

[7] S.Th., II-II, q. 8, a. 8 ad 2um. According to the Catholic tradition that follows St Thomas, faith ut tenenda are those truths that the human reason is able to investigate but that divine mercy beneficially provides that it should instruct us to hold by revelation: ‘salubriter divina providit clementia ut ea etiam quae ratio investigare potest, fide tenenda praeciperet: ut sic omnes de facili possent divinae cognitionis participes esse’ (St Tomas Aquinas, Contra Gent., I, c. 4, n. 6).

[8] AA.VV., Paths of Discovery, ed. M. Sánchez Sorondo, Vatican City 2006, pp. lxviii-299.

[9] World Day of Peace Message, 2010.

[10] Ib, n. 11.

[11] Ep 4:25.

[12] AA.VV., Globalization and Education, Joint Workshop P.A.S. and P.A.S.S., 16-17 November 2005, Extra Series 7, Walter de Gruyter (Berlin-New York), 2007, pp. XXI-290.

[13] ‘Sub praedestinatione cadit omne beneficium salutare, quod est homini ab aeterno divinitus praeparatum; unde eadem ratione omnia beneficia quae nobis confert ex tempore, praeparavit nobis ab aeterno’ (Super Rom., c. 8, l. 6).

[14] Cf, AA.VV., Democracy in Debate, Reports, H. Zacher ed., Vatican City 2005.

[15] Pius XI praises the Academy’s search for scientific truth and observes that Christ, who was the Word and Divine Truth, was a teacher who sent out his Apostles with the mandate to teach. He concludes by expressing the hope that the Academy ‘will become an increasingly rich source of that beneficial charity witch Truth is’ (Papal Addresses, ed. M.S.S., Vatican City 2003, p. 25 f.). Cf also Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, Intr., especially § 1.

[16] It is well known that the notion of grace as ‘participation in the divine nature’ comes from St Peter (2 Pt 1: 4). St Leo the Great considered such participation the highest dignity of the human being (Sermo I, de Nativitate). Pope Benedict XVI develops this decisive doctrine saying that authentic Christians are agents of mutual flow and reflow of Christ’s grace: ‘[men and women] are called to make themselves instruments of grace, so as to pour forth God’s charity and to weave networks of charity. This dynamic of charity received and given is what gives rise to the Church’s social teaching, which is caritas in veritate in re sociali; the proclamation of the truth of Christ’s love in society’ (Caritas in Veritate, § 5).

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6.1- Religion’s Two Alternative and Complementary Pathways :

From Faith to Reason and from Reason two Faith

Enrico Berti (Italia)

http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enrico_Berti

Un documento straordinario del modo in cui i primi cristiani, anzi gli stessi Apostoli, intendevano l’evangelizzazione è il discorso di san Paolo agli Ateniesi, riportato negli Atti degli Apostoli. L’autenticità di questo discorso è stata messa in dubbio da alcuni studiosi (Norden, Jaeger), peraltro specialisti di filologia classica più che di esegesi neotestamentaria. Tuttavia tra gli esperti è ormai pressoché fuori discussione l’identificazione dell’autore degli Atti con l’evangelista Luca, il che depone a favore dell’autenticità del discorso di Paolo, anche se eventuali dubbi su quest’ultima non potrebbero comunque infirmare il valore storico di un documento che risale di sicuro alle prime comunità cristiane. Il primo motivo di interesse presentato dal discorso è il fatto che esso si rivolge alla popolazione della città che in tutto il mondo antico aveva fama di essere stata la capitale della filosofia, patria di Socrate e Platone, sede di insegnamento di Aristotele, di Epicuro e degli Stoici. L’apostolo Paolo, che era uomo di cultura, non ignorava questo fatto e dovette sicuramente tenerne conto nella sua azione evangelizzatrice. Il testo degli Atti riferisce infatti che egli discuteva ogni giorno sulla piazza principale (la famosa agorà) con tutti quelli che incontrava, tra i quali c’erano “alcuni filosofi epicurei e stoici”[1].

La prima reazione degli ascoltatori ai discorsi di Paolo, che annunziava Gesù e la resurrezione, fu che egli fosse un annunziatore di divinità straniere. Nessuno, ad Atene, aveva infatti mai sentito parlare di Gesù e soprattutto di resurrezione, concetto del tutto estraneo alla cultura greca, che conosceva invece il concetto di immortalità, grazie al platonismo, e in alcuni casi anche il concetto di reincarnazione, grazie al pitagorismo. L’introduzione di divinità straniere, per una religione come quella greca – che era in gran parte una religione civile, cioè fondata sul culto degli dèi della polis – era pressoché un reato. Non bisogna dimenticare che di questo era stato accusato Socrate e che per questo egli era stato condannato a morte. Nonostante tale reazione negativa, tuttavia, gli ascoltatori di Paolo, in quanto Ateniesi, erano curiosi, perché – come nota l’autore degli Atti – «non avevano passatempo più gradito che parlare e sentir parlare». Perciò essi condussero Paolo sull’Areopago, il colle su cui aveva sede il tribunale supremo di Atene, e lo invitarono ad esporre chiaramente la sua dottrina[2].

La strategia adottata da Paolo emerge chiaramente dalle prime battute del suo discorso. Egli elogia gli Ateniesi in quanto molto religiosi, come sarebbe dimostrato dai molti templi ed altari presenti nell’agorà, e dichiara di avere incontrato tra questi monumenti anche un altare dedicato «a un dio ignoto». Non c’è motivo di dubitare della storicità di questa affermazione, che rivela un atteggiamento alquanto naturale nei praticanti di una religione politeistica, cioè il timore di dèi sconosciuti e la preoccupazione di non inimicarseli. La mossa di Paolo consiste nello sfruttare questa situazione per mostrare che il dio da lui annunciato non è un dio straniero, ma è proprio quello stesso dio che gli Ateniesi adoravano senza conoscere, cioè un dio da loro stessi ammesso. Non si tratta di una semplice captatio benevolentiae, come spesso si dice, bensì della scelta strategica, compiuta dall’apostolo, di prendere le mosse da un atteggiamento condiviso dai suoi stessi ascoltatori, in questo caso dalla religione politeistica, cioè popolare.

Subito dopo questa prima mossa, tuttavia, Paolo cambia completamente il suo oggetto di riferimento, perché dichiara: «Il Dio che ha fatto (poiêsas) il mondo e tutto ciò che contiene, che è signore del cielo e della terra, non dimora in templi costruiti dalle mani dell’uomo (cheiropoiêtois), né dalle mani dell’uomo si lascia servire come se avesse bisogno (prosdeomenos) di qualche cosa, essendo lui che dà a tutti la vita e il respiro e ogni cosa»[3]. Questo non è più uno degli dèi della religione popolare, ma è quello che più tardi sarebbe stato chiamato “il Dio dei filosofi”. Di un Dio che ha fatto (poiêtês) il mondo aveva parlato infatti Platone nel Timeo e questa dottrina era stata diffusa in tutto il mondo greco-romano da un dialogo di Aristotele, il De philosophia, per noi perduto, ma letto e citato da molti, tra cui filosofi pagani come Cicerone e filosofi ebrei come Filone di Alessandria. Proprio in questo dialogo, riportando probabilmente un intervento del personaggio di Platone, Aristotele aveva dichiarato che Dio ha come suo tempio il mondo intero e non opere fatte dalle mani degli uomini (cheirokmêta), e che egli non dà ordini a dei servi, perché non ha bisogno (deitai) di nulla[4]. Sono più o meno le stesse parole usate da Paolo. Lo stesso Aristotele, in opere che probabilmente derivano dal De philosophia, dichiara che «di là», cioè dal Dio che muove il cielo restando immobile, «dipendono l’essere e il vivere per tutte le cose»[5].

I riferimenti al “Dio dei filosofi” continuano nel seguito del discorso, dove Paolo afferma che questo Dio, dopo avere creato le nazioni degli uomini, ha stabilito per loro «l’ordine dei tempi e i confini dello spazio, perché cercassero Dio, se mai arrivino a trovarlo, andando come a tentoni»[6]. L’ordine dei tempi è l’alternarsi delle stagioni sulla terra, e i confini dello spazio sono la divisione fra le terre abitabili e i mari, perciò il riferimento è all’ordine cosmico nel suo complesso, che Paolo considera un motivo offerto agli uomini perché possano cercare e trovare Dio, pur procedendo “a tentoni”, cioè senza l’aiuto di una rivelazione. Ebbene, anche nel De philosophia di Aristotele l’ordine cosmico, opera di Dio, consiste nell’alternarsi delle stagioni e nella divisione fra terra e mare, ed è indicato come uno dei segni dell’esistenza di Dio. Del resto Paolo anche nella Lettera ai Romani, come è noto, afferma che le cose visibili fatte da Dio, cioè appunto l’ordine cosmico, manifestano le perfezioni invisibili di Lui, e quindi lo rendono in qualche misura conoscibile agli uomini, indipendentemente dalla fede[7].

Infine, nel discorso agli Ateniesi, Paolo afferma che «in lui viviamo, ci muoviamo ed esistiamo, come anche alcuni dei vostri poeti hanno detto: poiché di lui noi siamo stirpe (genos[8]. Qui, come è noto, il riferimento è alla concezione di Dio propria degli Stoici e la citazione riprende alla lettera un verso dei Fenomeni del poeta stoico Arato di Soli, ripreso anche dall’Inno a Zeus di Cleante di Asso. Dunque il richiamo al “Dio dei filosofi”, cioè di Platone, di Aristotele e degli Stoici, è esplicito.

Ciò è stato segnalato già da Joseph Ratzinger nella sua Introduzione al cristianesimo, dove si afferma che «il cristianesimo primitivo ha operato con coraggio la sua scelta e compiuto la sua purificazione, optando per il Dio dei filosofi e contro gli dèi delle religioni», e si aggiunge che «la scelta così compiuta comportò l’opzione per il logos contro ogni sorta di mythos, la definitiva demitizzazione del mondo e della religione»[9]. E l’enciclica Fides et ratio di Giovanni Paolo II, riferendosi esplicitamente al discorso di Paolo agli Ateniesi, afferma che «per farsi comprendere dai pagani, i primi cristiani non potevano nei loro discorsi rinviare soltanto “a Mosè e ai profeti”; dovevano anche far leva sulla conoscenza naturale di Dio e sulla voce della coscienza di ogni uomo. Poiché però tale conoscenza naturale, nella religione pagana, era scaduta in idolatria, l’Apostolo ritenne più saggio collegare il suo discorso al pensiero dei filosofi, i quali fin dagli inizi avevano opposto ai miti e ai culti misterici concetti più rispettosi della trascendenza divina»[10].

Nel discorso agli Ateniesi la polemica anti-idolatrica appare subito dopo la citazione di Arato, dove Paolo dice: «essendo noi dunque stirpe di Dio, non dobbiamo pensare che la divinità sia simile all’oro, all’argento o alla pietra, che porti l’impronta dell’arte o dell’immaginazione umana»[11]. Il riferimento più chiaro di queste parole, per gli Ateniesi, era probabilmente la statua criso-elefantina (cioè d’oro e di avorio) di Atena, collocata nel centro del Partenone, allora ancora visibile. Anche nel De philosophia di Aristotele, come attesta l’ebreo Filone, il concetto di un unico Dio creatore e signore dell’universo era contrapposto alle «statue fatte dalle mani dell’uomo». Ma le parole dell’apostolo contengono un ragionamento che si comprende solo alla luce della filosofia greca. Paolo dice infatti che, essendo noi uomini stirpe di Dio, non dobbiamo pensare che Dio sia simile all’oro, all’argento o alla pietra, cioè alla materia di cui sono fatte le statue. Ciò significa che, se noi siamo stirpe di Dio, noi siamo simili a lui, e poiché noi non siamo fatti di oro, argento e pietra, cioè di materia, nemmeno Dio può essere identificato con le statue materiali, come supponeva la religione popolare. Il sottinteso di questo discorso è che noi uomini non siamo materia, ma spirito, cioè – come dicevano i filosofi greci – intelligenza (nous). Sia Platone che Aristotele infatti dichiarano continuamente che l’uomo è intelligenza (nous), che l’intelligenza è l’elemento divino (theion) presente nell’uomo e che Dio è essenzialmente intelligenza[12]. Insomma, secondo Paolo, i filosofi greci sono giunti, con la sola ragione, a formulare un concetto di Dio molto superiore a quello della religione popolare, basata sul mito, e questo è il Dio che egli annuncia agli Ateniesi.

Questa però è solo la prima parte del discorso di Paolo. La seconda è riferita dall’autore degli Atti più brevemente, ma non per questo dobbiamo ritenere che essa sia stata meno importante. Dopo un cenno, infatti, ai «tempi dell’ignoranza», cioè al tempo in cui gli uomini non hanno conosciuto il vero Dio, Paolo dichiara che è venuto il momento, per tutti gli uomini di tutti i luoghi, cioè non solo per gli Ebrei, ma anche per i Greci, di ravvedersi (metanoein), cioè di cambiare modo di pensare, insomma di riconoscere il vero Dio. A questo punto egli presenta in modo esplicito l’annuncio cristiano, cioè che Dio ha designato un uomo a giudicare la terra con giustizia, «dandone a tutti prova sicura col resuscitarlo dai morti»[13]. La concisione di queste parole non è tale da nasconderne il significato: l’uomo designato da Dio è evidentemente Gesù, già menzionato all’inizio del brano; il riferimento alla resurrezione, anch’essa menzionata all’inizio del brano, ne attesta la divinità; il compito assegnatogli di «giudicare la terra con giustizia» allude alla redenzione. Si tratta dell’intero messaggio cristiano, rivelato a tutti gli uomini, ma accettabile solo per fede. Al primo percorso di evangelizzazione, che andava dalla ragione alla fede, segue ora il secondo percorso, dalla fede alla ragione.

La reazione degli ascoltatori a tale annuncio è riportata dall’autore nel modo seguente: «Quando sentirono parlare di resurrezione di morti, alcuni lo deridevano, altri dissero “Ti sentiremo su questo un’altra volta”. […] Ma alcuni aderirono a lui e divennero credenti, fra questi anche Dionigi membro dell’Areopago, una donna di nome Damaris e altri con loro»[14]. Di solito questo passo è interpretato come segno dell’insuccesso del discorso di Paolo, e quindi implicitamente del tipo di evangelizzazione da lui adottato in questa circostanza. Ma ad una lettura attenta si vede che il testo non dice questo. Il testo parla di una divisione tra gli ascoltatori, prodotta dall’annuncio della resurrezione, cioè della divinità di Gesù. In effetti il concetto di resurrezione, come abbiamo detto all’inizio, era del tutto estraneo alla cultura greca, tale quindi da suscitare in alcuni derisione. Tuttavia il testo dice che questa fu la reazione di «alcuni» (hoi men … hoi de), e poi aggiunge che «alcuni» (tines) altri credettero, dando così l’impressione di una divisione dell’uditorio in due gruppi che, se anche non caratterizzati quantitativamente, sono comunque presentati nello stesso modo: «alcuni … alcuni». Tra i credenti, poi, vengono menzionati un membro dell’Areopago, Dionigi, cioè un personaggio importante, presumibilmente di grande cultura ed autorità, e una donna, Damaris, cioè una persona che si trovava all’estremo opposto della gerarchia sociale dei Greci, senza importanza né cultura. Probabilmente l’autore fa queste precisazioni per indicare la varietà di coloro che credettero, e quindi l’universalità dell’adesione alla fede. Non c’è dunque nessuna ragione per ritenere che il discorso di Paolo sia stato un fallimento.

Esso mette insieme i due modi alternativi e complementari di presentare la religione, quello che va dalla ragione alla fede e quello che va dalla fede alla ragione. Il primo, come dirà san Tommaso, deve precedere il secondo: «La fede non può precedere l’intelletto in tutto e per tutto, infatti un uomo non potrebbe aderire, credendo, alle verità proposte, se in qualche modo non le intendesse»[15]. Ciò significa che il partire dalla ragione non serve a suscitare la fede, come molti pensano, ma solo a far capire le verità della fede, cioè a mostrare che esse non sono assurde, cioè impossibili. La resurrezione, ad esempio, sarebbe assurda, se non ci fosse un Dio il quale, avendo creato il mondo, è onnipotente e perciò può anche resuscitare dai morti. Il percorso che parte dalla ragione, dunque, non costringe a credere, come prova il fatto che alcuni non credettero a Paolo, pur avendo presumibilmente condiviso i suoi richiami al Dio dei filosofi, che era il loro Dio, il Dio dei filosofi greci. Questo percorso tuttavia permette di credere, cioè sgombra il terreno da ogni possibile ostacolo alla fede, apre, per così dire, uno spazio alla fede, come prova il fatto che alcuni altri, dopo avere ascoltato l’annuncio specificamente cristiano, cioè l’appello alla fede, credettero.

Per coloro che aderiscono alla fede, tutto diventa più chiaro, cioè si comprende perché Dio ha creato il mondo, perché vi ha posto un ordine che fosse segno della sua potenza, perché ha creato l’uomo a sua immagine, perché ha voluto redimere l’uomo dall’ignoranza, dal peccato e dalla morte, mediante la morte e la resurrezione del suo Figlio unigenito, vero uomo e al tempo stesso vero Dio. Quindi, come dice sempre Tommaso: «Invece la perfezione dell’intelletto è successiva alla virtù della fede, e a questa perfezione dell’intelletto segue una particolare certezza della fede»[16].

Il primo percorso, in quanto fondato sulla ragione, che è posseduta da tutti, è in un certo senso vincolante per tutti, anche se non tutti poi sono disposti ad usare la ragione o sanno usarla rettamente. Prova ne sia il fatto che esso fu compiuto anche dai filosofi greci, senza l’aiuto di alcuni rivelazione. I filosofi greci giunsero infatti a concepire un Dio creatore e signore del cielo e della terra, e un uomo che è intelligenza, cioè spirito, e perciò si può considerare stirpe divina, cioè creato da Dio a sua somiglianza. Oggi questo percorso consiste nel mostrare che la ragione, costituita soprattutto dalla scienza, non considera assurdo, cioè impossibile, il contenuto della fede, cioè è perfettamente compatibile con esso, pur non potendolo dimostrare, perché superiore alle sue capacità.

Il secondo percorso, in quanto fondato sulla fede, presuppone logicamente – non necessariamente in senso cronologico – il primo, in quanto la fede non sarebbe possibile se non si avesse il concetto di un Dio assoluto, trascendente e onnipotente. Ma questo percorso rimane il frutto di una scelta libera, perché la fede è un atto di libertà. Essa non è necessitata dalla ragione, perché dopo avere ammesso un Dio assoluto e trascendente – come oggi in realtà molti ammettono – si può anche non credere che Egli ha salvato gli uomini per mezzo del Figlio suo – e molti oggi non credono. Tuttavia la fede è resa possibile dalla ragione, cioè è mostrata come non impossibile, non assurda, non irrazionale, come invece sarebbe se la ragione dimostrasse che non c’è nessun Dio trascendente e che il mondo si spiega totalmente da sé. La complementarità dei due percorsi alternativi rivela forse un nuovo e ulteriore significato del detto evangelico «la verità vi renderà liberi»[17], perché la ragione, se usata per giungere alla verità, rende possibile quell’atto di autentica libertà in cui consiste la fede.


[1] Atti 17, 16-18.

[2] Ivi, 19-21. Ancora oggi sull’Areopago di Atene c’è un targa di bronzo che riproduce nel testo originale greco antico il discorso di Paolo.

[3] Ivi, 24-25.

[4] Per una documentazione di queste affermazioni devo rinviare ai miei Nuovi studi aristotelici, IV/1, Brescia, Morcelliana, 2009, pp. 43-63.

[5] Aristotele, De caelo I 9, 279 a 28-30.

[6] Atti 17, 26-27.

[7] Rom. 1, 19-20.

[8] Atti 17, 28.

[9] J. Ratzinger, Introduzione al cristianesimo, Brescia, Queriniana, 2003, pp. 128-129.

[10] Giovanni Paolo II, Fides et ratio, n. 36.

[11] Atti 17, 29.

[12] Nell’unico frammento rimasto di un dialogo perduto Sulla preghiera Aristotele diceva che «Dio è intelligenza (nous) o qualcosa di superiore alla stessa intelligenza» (Aristotelis Fragmenta selecta, ed. D.W. Ross, Oxford 1955, p. 57.

[13] Ivi, 30-31.

[14] Ivi, 32-34.

[15] Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae II-II, q. 8, a. 8 ad 2um: Fides non potest universaliter praecedere intellectum, non enim posset homo assentire credendo aliquibus propositis nisi ea aliqualiter intelligeret.

[16] Ivi: Sed perfectio intellectus consequitur fidem quae est virtus, ad quam quidem intellectus perfectionem sequitur quaedam fidei certitudo.

[17] Giov. 8, 32.

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6.2.- Religion’s Two Alternative and Complementary Pathways:

From Faith to Reason and from Reason to Faith

Enrico Berti (Italia)

http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enrico_Berti

An extraordinary document of the way in which the early Christians – the Apostles themselves actually – intended evangelization is St. Paul’s speech to the Athenians, as reported in the Acts of the Apostles. Some scholars (Norden, Jaeger) question the authenticity of this speech but they are classical philosophy scholars rather than New Testament exegesis specialists. However, experts now identify almost beyond doubt the author of Acts as the evangelist Luke, which argues in favour of the authenticity of Paul’s discourse, even though any doubts on the latter would still not undermine the historical value of a document that was certainly written by the first Christian communities. The first reason to be interested in the discussion is the fact that it addresses the population of the city which throughout the ancient world had the reputation of being the capital of philosophy, the birthplace of Socrates and Plato, the place where Aristotle, Epicurus and the Stoics taught. The apostle Paul, who was a man of culture, was certainly aware of this fact, and took it into account in his evangelization efforts. The Book of Acts in fact refers that he would debate every day in the public square (the famous agora) with whoever happened to be there, among whom there were ‘some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers’.[1]

The first reaction of those who listened to Paul preaching about Jesus and resurrection was that he was a promoter of foreign deities. No one in Athens had in fact ever heard of Jesus and especially of his resurrection, a concept entirely alien to Greek culture, which understood the concept of immortality instead, thanks to Platonism, and in some cases even the concept of reincarnation, thanks to Pythagorism. The introduction of foreign gods, for a religion like the Greek one – which was largely a civil religion, one founded on the worship of the gods of the polis – was almost a crime. We should not forget that this was what Socrates had been accused of and sentenced to death. Despite this negative reaction, however, Paul’s listeners, being Athenians, were curious, because – as the author of the Acts observes – they ‘used their time for nothing else but telling or hearing something new’. So they led Paul to the Areopagus, the hill that was the headquarters of the supreme court of Athens, and invited him to explain his doctrine clearly.[2]

The strategy adopted by Paul emerges clearly from the beginning of his speech. He praises the Athenians as very religious, as evidenced by the many temples and shrines found in the agora, and claims to have seen among those monuments an altar dedicated ‘to an unknown god’. There is no reason to doubt the historicity of this statement, which reveals a very natural concern in those practicing a polytheistic religion, namely the fear of unknown gods and the fact of not wanting to antagonize them. Paul’s tactic is to exploit this situation to show that the God proclaimed by him is not a foreign god, but it is exactly the same god that the Athenians worship unknowingly, that is, a god that they themselves acknowledge. This is not a simple captatio benevolentiae, as is often said, but a strategic choice made by the Apostle in order to begin with an approach shared by his listeners themselves, in this case with polytheistic, i.e. popular religion.

Straight after this first move, however, Paul completely changes his reference point, because he states: ‘The God who made (poiêsas) the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands (cheiropoiêtois), nor is he served by human hands as if he needed (prosdeomenos) anything. Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything’.[3] This is no longer one of the gods of popular religion, but it is the one that would later be called ‘the God of philosophers’. Indeed, in Timaeus Plato had spoken of a God who made (poiêtês) the world and this doctrine had been spread all over the Greek and Roman world thanks to Aristotle’s dialogue De philosophia, lost to us but read and quoted by many, including pagan philosophers such as Cicero and Jewish philosophers like Philo of Alexandria. Precisely in this dialogue, probably quoting a speech given by the character of Plato, Aristotle had declared that God had the whole world as his temple, not the works made by human hands (cheirokmêta), and that he did not give orders to servants, because he did not need (deitai) anything.[4] These are more or less the same words used by Paul. Aristotle himself, in works that probably derive from the De philosophia, declared that ‘from there’, that is from the God who moves the heavens while remaining motionless, ‘derive the being and life’ of all things.[5]

The discourse continues with more references to the ‘God of philosophers’, when Paul says that this God, having created the nations of men, has fixed for them ‘the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him’.[6] The ordered seasons mean the changing of the seasons on the earth, and the boundaries of their regions are the divisions between habitable lands and oceans, so the reference is to cosmic order as a whole, which Paul considers as a reason offered to men so that they may seek and find God, even though they might have to ‘grope for him’, i.e. find Him without the help of revelation. Well, even in Aristotle’s De philosophia the cosmic order, the work of God, consists in the alternation of the seasons and the division between land and sea, and is listed as one of the signs of God’s existence. Moreover, in the Letter to the Romans, as you know, Paul says that the visible things made by God, that is, precisely the cosmic order, show His invisible perfections and thus make Him somewhat knowable to men, regardless of their faith.[7]

Finally, in his speech to the Athenians, Paul says that ‘“In him we live and move and have our being”, as even some of your poets have said, “For we too are his offspring” (genos)’.[8] Here, as you know, the reference is to the conception of God proper to the Stoics and the quote literally takes a verse of the Phenomena of the Stoic poet Aratus of Soli, also quoted in the Hymn to Zeus by Cleanthes of Assos. So the reference to the ‘God of philosophers’, i.e. of Plato, Aristotle and the Stoics, is explicit.

This had already been reported by Joseph Ratzinger in his Introduction to Christianity, where he states that ‘early Christianity boldly and resolutely made its choice and carried out its purification by deciding for the God of the philosophers and against the gods of various religions’, adding that ‘the choice thus made meant opting for the logos as against any kind of mythos: it meant the definitive demythologization of the world and of religion’.[9] And John Paul II’s encyclical Fides et ratio, referring explicitly to Paul’s speech to the Athenians, says that ‘If pagans were to understand them, the first Christians could not refer only to “Moses and the prophets” when they spoke. They had to point as well to natural knowledge of God and to the voice of conscience in every human being. Since in pagan religion this natural knowledge had lapsed into idolatry, the Apostle judged it wiser in his speech to make the link with the thinking of the philosophers, who had always set in opposition to the myths and mystery cults notions more respectful of divine transcendence’.[10]

In his speech to the Athenians, the debate against idolatry appears immediately after Paul quotes Aratus, when he says: ‘Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the Godhead is like gold or silver or stone, which harbours the imprint of the human imagination or art’.[11] The clearest reference to these words, for the Athenians, was probably the Chryselephantine (i.e., gold and ivory) statue of Athena, positioned in the centre of the Parthenon, which was still visible at the time. Even in Aristotle’s De philosophia, as evidenced by the Jewish Philo, the concept of one God, creator and ruler of the universe, was opposed to the ‘statues made by human hands’. But the apostle’s words contain an argument that can only be understood in the light of Greek philosophy. Paul says that since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that God is like gold, silver or stone, i.e. the stuff of which statues are made. This means that if we are God’s offspring, we are like him, and since we are not made of gold, silver and stone, that is, of matter, God cannot be identified with material statues either, as the popular religion believed. The implication of this argument is that we humans are not matter but spirit, that is – as the Greek philosophers said – intelligence (nous). In fact, both Plato and Aristotle repeatedly declared that man is intelligence (nous), that intelligence is the divine element (theion) present in man and that God is essentially intelligence.[12] In short, according to Paul, the Greek philosophers, by reason alone, had been able to formulate a concept of God that was much more advanced than that of popular religion based on myth, and this is the God he announces to the Athenians.

However, this is only the first part of Paul’s discourse. The author of the Acts refers to the second part more briefly but there is no reason to assume that it was less important. Indeed, after mentioning the ‘times of ignorance’, i.e. the time when men did not know the true God, Paul declares that the time has come for all people everywhere, that is, not only Jews, but also Greeks, to repent (metanoein), i.e., change their way of thinking, in short, to recognize the true God. At this point he explicitly presents the Christian message, i.e. that God has appointed a man to judge the earth with justice, ‘and he has provided confirmation for all by raising him from the dead’.[13] The brevity of these words is not enough to conceal their meaning: the man appointed by God is clearly Jesus, whom he had already mentioned at the beginning of his speech; the reference to resurrection, also mentioned at the beginning of the text, attests His divinity; the task assigned to Him, ‘to judge the earth with justice’ refers to redemption. It is the whole Christian message, revealed to all men, but acceptable only through faith. The first path of evangelization, which went from reason to faith, now follows the second path, from faith to reason.

The author relates the listeners’ reaction to that announcement as follows: ‘When they heard about resurrection of the dead, some began to scoff, but others said, “We should like to hear you on this some other time”. […] But some did join him, and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the Court of the Areopagus, a woman named Damaris, and others with them’.[14] This passage is usually interpreted as a sign of the failure of Paul’s discourse, and thus implicitly of the type of evangelization adopted by him in this circumstance. But a careful reading shows that the text does not say that. The text speaks of a division among the listeners, produced by the announcement of the resurrection, that is, the divinity of Jesus. In fact, the concept of resurrection, as we said earlier, was totally alien to Greek culture, and as such was met by some with derision.

However, the text says that this was the reaction of ‘some’ (hoi men … hoi de), and then adds that ‘some’ others (tines) believed, thus giving the impression of the audience being divided into two groups which, although not quantitatively characterized, are however represented in the same way: ‘some … some’. The believers include a member of the Areopagus, Dionysius, that is, an important figure, presumably of great learning and authority, and a woman named Damaris, i.e. a person who was at the opposite end of the Greek social hierarchy, with no importance or culture. The author probably makes these remarks to indicate the variety of those who believed, and therefore the universality of the accession to faith. There is no reason to believe that Paul’s speech was a failure.

Indeed, it brings together two complementary and alternative ways of presenting religion, one that goes from reason to faith and one that goes from faith to reason. The first, as St. Thomas says, must precede the second: ‘Faith cannot altogether precede understanding, for it would be impossible to assent by believing what is proposed to be believed, without understanding it in some way’.[15] This means that starting from reason does not serve to inspire faith, as many think, but only to make people understand the truths of faith, i.e. to show that they are not absurd, i.e. impossible. Resurrection, for example, would be absurd without a God who, having created the world, is omnipotent and therefore can also raise people from the dead. The path that starts from reason, therefore, does not compel us to believe, as proven by the fact that some did not believe Paul, although they presumably shared his appeals to the god of philosophers, who was their god, the god of the Greek philosophers. This path, however, allows one to believe, clears the field of any possible obstacle to faith and opens, as it were, a space for faith, as evidenced by the fact that some others, after hearing the specifically Christian message, the appeal to faith, believed.

Everything becomes clearer for those who adhere to faith: they understand why God created the world, why He set an order that was a sign of His power, why He created man in His image, and why He wanted to redeem man of ignorance, sin and death through the death and resurrection of His only begotten Son, true man and true God at the same time. Thus, as St Thomas always says: ‘the perfection of understanding follows the virtue of faith: which perfection of understanding is itself followed by a kind of certainty of faith’.[16]

Since the first route is based on reason, which is possessed by everyone, it is in a way binding for everyone, even if not everyone is then willing to use reason or knows how to use it properly. Proof of this is the fact that the Greek philosophers managed to attain it without the help of any revelation. The Greek philosophers, in fact, came to conceive of a God, creator and lord of heaven and earth, and a man who is intelligence, i.e. spirit, who can be considered divine offspring, i.e., created by God in His likeness. Today this path consists in showing that reason, constituted mainly by science, does not deem absurd, i.e., impossible, the content of faith and that it is perfectly compatible with it, although it is unable to prove it because it is beyond its capacity.

Since the second path is based on faith, it logically presupposes the first – not necessarily in chronological order – since faith would not be possible unless one had the concept of an absolute, transcendent and omnipotent God. But this path is the result of free choice, because faith is an act of freedom. It is not required by reason, because after admitting the existence of an absolute and transcendent God – as many in fact admit today – one might not believe that He has saved men through His Son – as many today do not believe. However, faith is made possible by reason, that is, it is shown as not impossible, not absurd, not irrational, as it would be if reason were to demonstrate that there is no transcendent God and that the world can be explained entirely by itself. The complementarity of the two alternative paths perhaps reveals a new additional meaning of the saying of the Gospel ‘the truth shall make you free’,[17] because if reason is used to arrive at the truth, it makes possible that act of true freedom which is faith.


[1] Acts 17, 16-18.

[2] Ibid, 19-21. A bronze plaque with the original text of Paul’s discourse in ancient Greek is still visible today in the Areopagus in Athens.

[3] Ibid, 24-25.

[4] For a documentation of these affirmations please refer to my Nuovi studi aristotelici, IV/1, Brescia, Morcelliana, 2009, pp. 43-63.

[5] Aristotle, De caelo I 9, 279 a 28-30.

[6] Acts 17, 26-27.

[7] Rom 1, 19-20.

[8] Acts 17, 28.

[9] J. Ratzinger, Introduzione al cristianesimo, Brescia, Queriniana, 2003, pp. 128-129. English edition: J. Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity, Communio Books, 2004, 137-138.

[10] John Paul II, Fides et ratio, n. 36.

[11] Acts 17, 29.

[12] In the last remaining fragment of the lost dialogue On prayer Aristotle said that «God is intelligence (nous) or something higher than intelligence itself» (Aristotelis Fragmenta selecta, ed. D.W. Ross, Oxford 1955, p. 57.

[13] Ibid, 30-31.

[14] Ibid, 32-34.

[15] Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae II-II, q. 8, a. 8 ad 2um: Fides non potest universaliter praecedere intellectum, non enim posset homo assentire credendo aliquibus propositis nisi ea aliqualiter intelligeret.

[16] Ibid: Sed perfectio intellectus consequitur fidem quae est virtus, ad quam quidem intellectus perfectionem sequitur quaedam fidei certitudo.

[17] Jn 8, 32.

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7.- NUEVA EVANGELIZACIÓN Y FÁTIMA

Dr. Juan Pablo Mönckeberg S.
Academia de Medicina San Lucas – Chile

Si entendemos por “Nueva evangelización”, el proceso que se desarrolla en la Santa Iglesia, o más bien el plan de acción para evangelizar a los que, con los esfuerzos realizados hasta ahora no se ha logrado llegar, proceso al que somos todos los Católicos llamados, es fácil ver que nos toca a los médicos y a todos los profesionales de la salud, tan cercanos al sufrimiento, un rol especial. Es en el sufrimiento y penitencia donde quiero detenerme, ya que si de “Nueva evangelización” se trata, ha sido éste el énfasis más importante del mensaje de Nuestra Señora en sus más recientes apariciones.
Ya en Fátima, nos señaló que deberemos hacer mucha penitencia, los Niños dieron claro testimonio de esto y en sus vidas el padecimiento cobró gran importancia. Llaman la atención las hermosas palabras de Francisco en su lecho de muerte donde debió soportar casi 5 meses postrado; cuando Lucía le preguntaba si sufría, él contestaba: «Sí, bastante, pero no importa, sufro para consolar a Nuestro Señor e iré en breve al Cielo”. Y el mensaje de Nuestra Señora en su cuarta aparición es todavía más claro: “Mirad que van muchas almas al infierno por no haber quien se sacrifique y ruegue por ellas”.
De esta manera nuestra práctica diaria cobraría gran importancia, si además de cumplir con nuestras propias obligaciones en lo que a la penitencia se refiere, ayudamos a quienes han de sufrir, por voluntad de la Providencia de Dios, a su conversión y así a encontrar un sentido y junto a ello un consuelo a su padecimiento. En el mensaje de Fátima, Nuestra Señora nos da la respuesta exacta de cuál es el rol que debemos tomar; por un lado no dejar la vida devota y por otra, procurar la penitencia. Por esto, si somos capaces de hacer ver en nuestros pacientes que sufren, que en lo más profundo de sus padecimientos se está mostrando el designio de Dios, un Padre bueno e infinitamente misericordioso, que no permite males en nosotros si no es por obtener un bien mayor de ellos, sólo si somos capaces de eso, no será entonces necesario justificar el sufrimiento y el dolor, búsqueda que en ocasiones termina en la desesperanza y pérdida de la Fe, porque el dolor y sufrimiento tienen un valor especial como parte natural de la vida de todo ser humano. No hay persona que en su vida no sufra ni sienta dolor y tampoco puede pensarse que quien sufre ha sido abandonado por Dios, por lo que la aceptación y su adecuado uso es esencial, pero para esto hay que estar preparado, o bien, correctamente guiado en el momento del padecimiento. Fue así, y en la misma línea como el Santo Padre Pío XII en 1957, ante la Sociedad
italiana de anestesiología señaló en cuanto al uso de la analgesia en los moribundos, la importancia del derecho inquebrantable que tiene un enfermo en rechazarla. “Nadie tiene la obligación de hacerlo, pero debido a que según el espíritu del Evangelio el sufrimiento contribuye a la expiación de los pecados personales, y a la adquisición de abundantes méritos, es entendible que aquellos cuya vida está en peligro, pueden tener un motivo
especial para aceptar el dolor con la muerte ya cercana, por lo que sería evidentemente ilícito practicar la anestesia contra la voluntad expresa del moribundo”. -O bien negar información al enfermo acerca de su precaria condición médica, que de saberlo, en algunos pudiera instarlos a un período de penitencia, de mayor entrega y aceptación cristiana del padecimiento, siendo la muerte el paso que preparamos a lo largo de todas nuestras vidas-.
En este sentido, si ajustamos el mensaje de Fátima a nuestra labor diaria, donde en ocasiones nos vemos consumidos o movidos por una medicina comercial, en la que la gente nos pide la solución a sus padecimientos y que muchas veces vemos que tantos sufrimientos son un mar de angustias que terminan por ahogar a quien los padece, en la medida que podamos de esta manera, como médicos católicos, ayudar a nuestros pacientes a encontrar el sentido divino del dolor, seremos para ellos la fuente de Esperanza en su real sentido que Nuestro Señor tiene contemplada en su plan de Redención, porque cuando un médico alivia los padecimientos físicos sólo lo hace en forma temporal, pero cuando lo mismo hace al alma, puede hacerlo para siempre.

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8.1- La Nouvelle Evangélisation et la Médecine

Dr. Bernard ARS[1] (Belgie)

http://www.arsbernard.com/

M.D., PhD.

Introduction

Dans cette période de crise de la foi et de sa transmission, il est fait état d’une infécondité de l’évangélisation. La principale raison invoquée est le contexte de culture ambiante. Cette  nouvelle condition constituera-t-elle un obstacle ou un défi pour l’Eglise, pour le chrétien, pour le médecin ?

L’évangélisation consiste en un partage et une proclamation du message des Evangiles dans le but de faire connaître et vivre la religion chrétienne.

L’évangélisation traditionnelle ou classique désigne principalement l’annonce des Évangiles aux nations qui n’en ont pas encore entendu parler (ad gentes). Il s’agit généralement de l’activité missionnaire traditionnelle de l’Église, concrétisée par la « mission » et les « missionnaires ».

Un grand nombre de convertis ont été évangélisés de cette manière. Malheureusement, nombre d’entre eux ne sont pas demeurés des membres actifs dans la foi catholique. Plus triste encore, des pays jadis fervents sont devenus des nations qui n’ont de chrétien que le nom ou sont même devenues post- chrétiennes[2]. En fait, il s’agit souvent d’une appartenance plus sociologique que personnelle et engagée.

La nouvelle évangélisation concerne essentiellement les personnes qui ont déjà eu contact avec l’Evangile et l’Eglise mais qui, pour des raisons diverses, n’ont pas vécu la rencontre personnelle avec le Christ. Leur foi n’a pas eu l’occasion de se développer. Cette nouvelle évangélisation consistera donc en un effort de revitalisation ou de réveil de la foi dans des milieux déjà porteurs d’une certaine tradition, d’une imprégnation chrétienne latente ou endormie.

Il s’agit bien d’une évangélisation qu’il faut refaire « nouvelle », en un monde qui a oublié sa foi traditionnelle ; « nouvelle » parce que le monde a changé et que les méthodes ou les chemins d’autrefois ne sont plus en phase avec le monde d’aujourd’hui.

C’est dans ce contexte que se pose au médecin actuel la question suivante : Comment vivre et partager aujourd’hui sa foi chrétienne dans le cadre d’une activité médicale, elle aussi en grande mutation ?

Un rappel de quelques repères historiques sera suivi d’un état des lieux sociétaux et culturels qui précise le milieu ambiant. Une énumération des principaux objectifs de la nouvelle évangélisation permettra de dégager les éléments nécessaires pour tenter de répondre à cette question fondamentale.

1.- Repères historiques de la “Nouvelle Evangélisation”.

La première évangélisation, rapportée par les Actes des Apôtres, fournit des renseignements concernant la manière dont les Apôtres et leurs collaborateurs ont annoncé la Bonne Nouvelle de Jésus ressuscité. Bien plus qu’un livre d’histoire, les Actes et les autres livres du Nouveau Testament sont normatifs pour la durée de l’histoire[3]. Les apôtres et leurs collaborateurs sont transportés par leur foi en la résurrection de Jésus et par la force de l’Esprit Saint qui les habite, et c’est seulement après avoir vécu, comme Paul, leur chemin de Damas, que, de lâches, ils sont devenus courageux, jusqu’à risquer leur vie pour Jésus.

Pendant de nombreux siècles, l’évangélisation s’est développée dans un contexte de chrétienté. Dès avant Vatican II, alors que commençait à se faire sentir dans nos contrées le recul de la foi, de nouvelles réalités ont émergé. Le style missionnaire est devenu plus direct. Diverses formes d’ « Action Catholique » ont vu le jour : ce sont, par exemple, et plus spécifiquement dans le domaine médical, les associations nationales, européenne (F.E.A.MC) et internationale (F.I.A.M.C) de médecins catholiques, qui en ont été, et en sont toujours, une expression manifeste. Plus tard, lorsque la déchristianisation devint plus profonde, à partir des années 1970, se sont formées les « Communautés nouvelles ».

Avant Vatican II, la mission du laïc était considérée comme un mandat conféré par la hiérarchie de l’Eglise. Après Vatican II, par contre, les laïcs sont institués missionnaires du fait même de leur baptême. Tout en demeurant en communion avec la hiérarchie ecclésiale, les baptisés prennent des initiatives apostoliques personnelles ou communautaires sans devoir attendre le mot d’ordre de leur clergé.

C’est à cette époque que l’idée de la nouvelle évangélisation naît tout à la fois du pape Paul VI et du pape Jean-Paul II.

Dans son exhortation apostolique « Evangelii nuntiandi » (1975), le Pape Paul VI [4] parle des temps nouveaux pour l’évangélisation : « les conditions de la société nous obligent à réviser les méthodes, à chercher par tous les moyens, à étudier comment faire arriver à l’homme moderne le message chrétien » et précise, que les différents éléments de l’évangélisation « … se situent au fond de la ligne de ceux que le Concile Vatican II nous a transmis, surtout dans les constitutions « Lumen Gentium », « Gaudium et Spes » et dans le décret « ad gentes ».

Dans le dernier numéro de ce même chapitre, le pape Paul VI affirme : « L’évangélisation est une démarche complexe, aux éléments variés : renouveau de l’humanité, témoignage, annonce explicite, adhésion du cœur, entrée dans la communauté, accueil des signes, initiative d’apostolat. Ces éléments peuvent apparaître contrastants, voire exclusifs. Ils sont en réalité complémentaires et mutuellement enrichissants. Il faut toujours envisager chacun d’eux dans son intégration aux autres. »

Il convient alors de comprendre que le fait d’Evangéliser ne consiste pas uniquement à étendre géographiquement la connaissance et l’assimilation de l’Evangile, mais, bien plus, à en imprégner toutes les sphères de l’activité humaine pour aboutir à la conversion totale de l’individu.

C’est le pape Jean-Paul II qui utilisa, pour la première fois, le terme de «Nouvelle Evangélisation »[5]. Il était en Pologne, le 9 juin 1979, face aux ouvriers de Nowa Huta, l’un des hauts lieux de résistance au communisme : «  En ces temps nouveaux, en cette nouvelle condition de vie, l’Évangile est de nouveau annoncé. Une nouvelle évangélisation est commencée, comme s’il s’agissait d’une nouvelle annonce, bien qu’en réalité ce soit toujours la même. La croix se tient debout sur le monde qui change ».

En 1983, en Haïti, il poursuit le sujet et exhorte le peuple des croyants à se lancer dans une « nouvelle évangélisation, nouvelle dans son ardeur, nouvelle dans ses méthodes et dans son expression »[6].

Le pape Jean-Paul II insiste et appelle les laïcs à jouer un rôle central dans cette nouvelle évangélisation. En 1988, dans son exhortation apostolique post-synodale Christifideles laici, concernant la vocation et la mission des laïcs dans l’Église et dans le monde, il souligne à plusieurs reprises « l’urgence » d’une nouvelle évangélisation  menée par les laïcs : « L’heure est venue d’entreprendre une nouvelle évangélisation; le phénomène de la sécularisation frappe les peuples qui sont chrétiens de vieille date, et ce phénomène réclame, sans plus de retard, une nouvelle évangélisation ». En 1991, dans sa lettre encyclique Redemptoris Missio sur la valeur permanente du précepte missionnaire l’expression « nouvelle évangélisation » ne revient pas moins de quinze fois[7].

Le Pape Benoît XVI, fait sien cet objectif de son prédécesseur et met tout en œuvre pour en promouvoir la réalisation. Dans le motu proprio « Ubicumque et semper » qui a institué le conseil pontifical, il affirme que : « la nouvelle évangélisation est une réponse de l’Eglise au phénomène d’abandon de la foi qui grandit dans les sociétés et les cultures imprégnées depuis des siècles du message évangélique ».

2.- Etat des lieux sociétaux et culturels

Depuis la révolution culturelle de 1968, en vertu du pluralisme, et pour ne pas être accusé de violenter le monde, le chrétien catholique renonce à répandre l’Evangile. Il est souvent plus préoccupé à se distancer du Magistère de l’Eglise qu’à en affirmer les valeurs. Il vit tellement intensément un malentendu concernant le sens du respect des autres identités qu’il en arrive au point de perdre sa propre identité.

Concomitamment, assumant la lourde hérédité du dogme de la philosophie des Lumières, la laïcité s’est transformée. Elle évolue, passant d’une méthode de travail à une réelle religion intolérante, où la foi ne trouve plus de place. Pour les laïcistes, le catholique n’aurait droit à sa foi qu’à condition de renoncer à l’exprimer dans le milieu professionnel, culturel, social et politique. Beaucoup de chrétiens ont, hélas, accepté ce statut. Nous avons, tous, subi la sécularisation pratique de nos coutumes, vulgarisées dans une homologation globalisée par la pression des médias.

Enfin, et pour en revenir à la pratique médicale, le catholique qui exerce la médecine expérimente les importantes difficultés d’un « art de guérir » qui semble avoir perdu sa dimension holistique et qui devient de jour en jour plus profondément empreint de technologie. Une telle utilisation des techniques scientifiques, loin de prôner la connaissance et la conscience professionnelle, met en valeur l’application technologique de découvertes qui, avant d’être immorales sont amorales. Elles mettent souvent en exergue une pensée consensuelle unique selon laquelle tout ce qui est possible est permis et doit être expérimenté et réalisé.  Les conséquences éthiques d’une telle médecine s’avèrent encore plus dramatiques si l’on tient compte qu’aujourd’hui, les frontières entre la vie et la mort apparaissent de plus en plus floues et que la religion laïque veut que la loi prime sur l’éthique, renversant par-là les acquis de Nuremberg selon lesquels l’éthique prime la loi[8].

3.- Objectifs de la nouvelle évangélisation

Evangéliser sans adorer, c’est faire du marketing ; tout comme adorer sans évangéliser risque de devenir une évasion.

Une distinction sémantique s’impose : Le « Kérygme », qui est le terme choisi pour désigner le contenu essentiel de la foi en la personne de Jésus-Christ, de sa mort et de sa résurrection qui offrent le pardon des péchés. Il s’agit de cette foi annoncée et transmise aux non croyants par les premiers chrétiens. Ce terme continue à être utilisé aujourd’hui pour évoquer la proclamation missionnaire de l’essentiel de la foi chrétienne. Il doit précéder la « catéchèse » qui consiste en la transmission de la foi et de ses implications.

Le kérygme est à la catéchèse ce que la naissance est à la croissance. Il en est la condition pour que fructifie la catéchèse.  Aujourd’hui, loin d’être une transmission de génération en génération, la foi est devenue une recherche personnelle. C’est pourquoi, la nouvelle pédagogie missionnaire est, avant tout, centrée sur l’authenticité de l’Evangile proclamé et vécu et non sur la présentation des dogmes ou de pratiques religieuses. Elle est basée sur le témoignage humble et l’expérience personnelle de l’amour du Père, du salut apporté par le Christ ainsi que de l’illumination de l’Esprit Saint. L’évangélisation doit, de plus, toujours prendre pour point de départ l’Ecriture.  Avant d’ « aller vers » les autres au nom de Jésus, il faut au préalable « venir à lui ».

La foi chrétienne n’apparaît plus vraiment aujourd’hui comme une bonne nouvelle. Beaucoup y voient seulement un rempart pour la morale, quand encore ils n’en récusent pas les rigueurs trop exigeantes dans notre monde hédoniste.

Le matérialisme et la société de consommation ont fait dériver le bonheur vers la jouissance immédiate et cela suffit à beaucoup qui ne voient guère de quoi ils ont à être sauvés.

Comment évangéliser cette société de consommation plus apte à créer des besoins nouveaux qu’à ouvrir sur une recherche spirituelle ?

Cependant, beaucoup de contemporains recherchent les voies d’une spiritualité qui donne un sens, une âme à leur existence.

La foi chrétienne n’est pas essentiellement une doctrine ou une morale, mais cet élément primordial qui rend possible l’acheminement vers ce que l’homme n’est pas encore. C’est l’ouverture existentielle.

La relation entre l’ « absence de Dieu » dans notre société, et, la déshumanisation de la médecine, rend inséparable la médecine, de la nouvelle évangélisation[9].

4.- Comment vivre concrètement et pratiquer effectivement la médecine en étant croyant, chrétien catholique ?

Dans leur récente publication: « Scientifique et croyant » [10] , Dominique Lambert et Valérie Paul-Boncour épinglent avec lucidité et grande acuité les difficultés rencontrées par les scientifiques désireux de vivre la pratique des sciences en harmonie avec une vie de foi.  Leur analyse, qui s’adresse aux catholiques concerné par les sciences, touche, entre autres, les acteurs œuvrant dans le domaine médical.

Les médecins qui exercent la médecine dans des milieux qui renvoient à la sphère purement privée toute question religieuse se heurtent à divers écueils:

  • des problèmes communs à toute vie active : comment maintenir une vie de prière dans la turbulence d’une activité professionnelle bien remplie, et, au soin d’un monde qui n’a aucun lien avec l’Eglise ou avec une quelconque foi religieuse.
  • des problèmes plus spécifiques qui sont liés à la manière de gérer des orientations de recherche étiologique et/ou thérapeutique qui soient compatibles avec l’enseignement moral de l’Eglise ou à la manière de témoigner et de rester cohérent avec sa foi dans des milieux qui renvoient toute question religieuse à la sphère purement privée.
  • des problèmes qui peuvent s’insinuer dans la pensée lorsqu’on cherche à établir une articulation entre la vision théologique concernant l’homme ou la nature et celle que les scientifiques nous livrent parfois subtilement mêlée de  présupposés philosophiques qui se révèlent incompatibles avec une théologie de la création ou une anthropologie chrétienne.

4.1-     Etudier

Existe-t-il une manière spécifique de vivre et de maintenir concrètement une intense vie de foi sur le terrain des cabinets, des hôpitaux, des laboratoires, des centres de recherche publics ou privés ou de l’enseignement supérieur universitaire ou non ?

En premier lieu, il convient d’insister sur le professionnalisme que doit posséder le catholique qui exerce la médecine. Il doit entrer dans une perspective d’étude scientifique et technique ; mais aussi dans un approfondissement, une étude de la Parole de Dieu et de la doctrine de l’Eglise.

Il doit rechercher la vérité dans l’humilité dans tous les domaines de la connaissance, qu’elle soit scientifique, philosophique, théologique, artistique…

Le sens du « professionnalisme », qui est malheureusement souvent assimilé aujourd’hui à une espèce de course à la performance se définit par l’exercice des vertus dans le cadre du travail professionnel : celui qui vit du Christ, le saint, se définit par ses vertus héroïques qui, dans le cas du médecin chrétien, doivent se manifester dans son travail professionnel

Le chrétien doit s’identifier au Christ, qui est venu non pour être servi mais pour servir (Mt 20, 28) : le professionnalisme reflète la première exigence de l’ambition de servir, à savoir le souci de la plus haute compétence.

Pour le médecin chrétien, placé face au défi de la nouvelle évangélisation, il importe encore plus de se hisser parmi les meilleurs dans sa science, pour deux motifs : d’une part, le prestige que donne la compétence professionnelle contribue à faire du médecin une personne qui est « sel et lumière » ; d’autre part, plus nous aurons de catholiques cohérents au « top » de la science, plus nous rendrons évidents qu’il n’y a pas et qu’il ne peut y avoir de conflit entre la foi et la raison, ce qui est une  démonstration absolument nécessaire dans la perspective de la nouvelle évangélisation.

Le médecin scientifique doit pouvoir situer adéquatement la science par rapport à la foi. Il devra éviter tout aussi bien le concordisme que le discordisme.

Le concordisme est le mode de rapport entre Science et Théologie qui établit, sans médiation, un lien entre ces deux types de discours, en les plaçant de ce fait à un même niveau de connaissance identifiant ainsi leurs méthodologies et leur objet propre. Le concordisme donne prise au panthéisme ou au matérialisme. Dieu est en effet confondu avec sa création ou est purement et simplement nié. Tandis que le discordisme conduit, quant à lui, au théisme où Dieu est mis hors-jeu, n’ayant plus de lien avec le créé ; ou il traduit un agnosticisme.

Le médecin scientifique choisira la figure de l’ARTICULATION[11]. Cette modalité de l’articulation établit une relation sans confusion, mais aussi sans séparation radicale, entre la description du monde empirique et la théologie : « Elle est donc homogène à une conception de la création comme relation qui pose et soutient le monde dans son être sans que Dieu s’immerge dans sa création ou que le monde perde son autonomie. En fait, dès lors que nous sommes dans une perspective d’un Dieu créateur, la cohérence intellectuelle nous mène à adopter, comme croyant, un mode de rapport avec les sciences qui n’est pas arbitraire. Il se fait que la modalité d’articulation esquisse une manière de vivre ce rapport dans le respect des contenus scientifiques et de la richesse de la notion de création comme relation »[12].

En ce qui concerne l’enseignement universitaire de la médecine, aujourd’hui plus que jamais, s’impose la nécessité d’une formation théologique solide à la hauteur des compétences scientifiques. Tant à l’hôpital qu’au laboratoire ou au cabinet, le médecin utilise un langage qui se réfère à des protocoles stricts d’observation ou d’expériences, voire de démonstrations ou encore à des simulations informatiques très précises et pointues.

Lorsqu’il aborde les questions de foi, il peut se sentir comme dépourvu du vocabulaire, des méthodes et des références qui lui sont chères, courantes et familières.

Il est alors vital, pour tout médecin, d’être ouvert et de chercher à se former à la philosophie, aux sciences religieuses, aux divers domaines de la théologie : dogmatique, exégèse, morale, histoire de l’église… Pour ce faire, le catholique qui exerce la médecine est invité à participer activement à des séminaires, des colloques, des rencontres portant sur des thèmes qui font débat dans le grand public, aujourd’hui : « le propre de l’homme », « le développement durable », «les manipulations génétiques », « la création et l’évolution »….

Le but étant, tout à la fois, pour lui, de faire croître sa science et l’intelligence de sa foi, condition préalable au premier témoignage de foi que pourrait rendre un catholique qui exerce la médecine[13].

Au cours de débats éthiques, qui surgissent au cœur de la recherche et de la pratique médicale, le catholique doit témoigner d’une éthique qui, tout en étant celle de l’Eglise, possède déjà par elle-même une pertinence anthropologique s’inscrivant dans un champ de valeurs accueillies par tous : respect de la dignité de la personne humaine et du malade, de la vie « fragile », débutante ou proche du terme.

Le catholique qui exerce la médecine doit également être à même de détecter les voies où la raison devient pathologique au point que son usage pourrait risquer de mettre en péril l’humanité, l’environnement.. etc… Ce défi, il sera capable de le relever en ouvrant le monde de la raison technicienne à d’autres instances rationnelles puisant aux sources de la morale et de la théologie. Il convient, pour ce faire, qu’il adopte un ton qui n’est nullement celui du militantisme, mais bien celui de la personne qui, respectant la complexité des situations, entend défendre des valeurs dont il saura montrer la pertinence anthropologique et sociale. C’est ainsi que le catholique qui exerce la médecine sera à même de jouer un rôle déterminant dans l’orientation de la recherche et de la pratique médicales[14].

4.2-     Vivre ensemble

De par sa vocation, le chrétien est appelé à servir, à l’image du Christ qui s’est fait, Lui-même Serviteur de tous.  Cette notion de Service est expérimentée et vécue par chacun et auprès de chacun, et tout particulièrement pour le médecin, auprès des malades, auprès des collaborateurs médicaux, paramédicaux et administratifs, dans l’utilisation de techniques, d’instruments et également de connaissances communes. Force est de constater que la pratique de la médecine exige, aujourd’hui et chaque jour, de plus en plus de travail réalisé en équipe et de collaborations interdisciplinaires.

En communiquant, dans son enseignement, son amour pour le Vrai, le Bien, le Beau, le professeur d’université et/ou le maître de stage rend un service incommensurable tant aux étudiants qu’à toute la Société et à la culture.

Le catholique qui exerce la médecine aura une attitude de veille ; Il scrutera les dérives possibles d’une technologie qui cesserait d’être un service ; Il fera valoir les droits d’une réflexion éthique approfondie localisant les barrières à ne pas franchir afin de respecter la responsabilité humaine.  Il aura à cœur de vivre un humanisme chrétien prônant une éthique guidée par la « charité » et par la « vérité ». Il sera nourri dans ces démarches par une vie spirituelle intense.

Les embûches ne l’épargneront pas pour autant ! En effet, dans ce monde déchristianisé ou franchement « non chrétien », tel qu’il se présente de plus en plus chaque jour, il n’est pas rare de côtoyer des athées militants ou des personnes qui ne se privent pas d’ironiser sur tel ou tel point de la doctrine chrétienne ou de l’enseignement de l’Eglise catholique. Fardeau lourd à porter !  Dans son attitude de veille, le médecin qui exerce la médecine aura à cœur d’éviter toute riposte violente qui le conduirait à desservir sa cause. Il tentera d’apporter, dans la sérénité, des réponses claires, grâce à des arguments rationnels.

Il ne pourra, par ailleurs, pas éviter les difficultés quotidiennes d’une vie relationnelle dans le milieu de travail, entente interpersonnelle, susceptibilités, ambiance au sein de l’hôpital ou de la clinique… Il sera soumis, comme tout un chacun, aux stress répétés ou qui se prolongent… aux blessures liées au sentiment d’échec tandis qu’il évolue dans une société de compétitivité…. Il subira les tensions, écartelé entre les exigences d’une profession fort accaparante et celles d’une vie de couple, de famille…

Face à toutes ces difficultés, à toutes ces souffrances et à ces multiples épreuves le catholique qui exerce la médecine se doit de trouver les moyens concrets pour surmonter et sublimer l’obstacle.  Humblement, il doit également expérimenter une réalité qui s’oppose à ses désirs de toute-puissance, à ses rêves de maîtrise totale et de contrôle de toute vie[15].

Le médecin qui veut participer à la nouvelle évangélisation doit viser à la sainteté : la première évangélisation a été réalisée par des saints. Le « saint » est la personne qui rend « visible » le Visage et l’Amour de Dieu. C’est d’autant plus urgent dans une culture relativiste, qui se désintéresse de la question de la vérité, de l’argumentation, des théories. Il faut que la foi renaisse du contact avec l’Amour de Dieu, à travers les saints. Comme le disait Jean-Paul II : . « “Nous voulons voir Jésus” (Jn 12,21). Cette demande, présentée à l’Apôtre Philippe par quelques Grecs qui s’étaient rendus en pèlerinage à Jérusalem à l’occasion de la Pâque, résonne aussi spirituellement à nos oreilles en cette Année jubilaire. Comme ces pèlerins d’il y a deux mille ans, les hommes de notre époque, parfois inconsciemment, demandent aux croyants d’aujourd’hui non seulement de « parler » du Christ, mais en un sens de le leur faire “voir” » (Lettre apostolique Novo Millenio Ineunte, n. 16). Comme ne cesse de le dire Benoît XVI : la foi n’est pas adhésion à une doctrine mais rencontre avec une Personne. Comme le dit Saint Jean : « (…) nous avons connu l’amour que Dieu a pour nous, et nous y avons cru »(1 Jn 4, 16).

4.3-     Prier

Qu’est-ce que prier, si ce n’est se tourner vers Dieu et s’adresser à Lui ?

Qu’elle soit dialogue ou silence de l’écoute, la prière reconnaît la présence de Dieu. Elle est acte de foi.

Cette prière est chrétienne dans la mesure où elle est vécue en référence au Christ, seul médiateur entre Dieu et les hommes, maître qui a enseigné la prière, et modèle qui a montré comment prier : « Notre Père… »[16].  Et quand le chrétien donne à sa prière une dimension trinitaire, c’est bien grâce à l’enseignement de l’Evangile transmis dans l’Eglise qu’il peut le faire.

Le catholique qui exerce la médecine aura à cœur de vivre et de pratiquer toutes les formes de prières que sont : l’adoration, la louange, l’Eucharistie, l’intercession et la prière de demande, par et dans son travail.  Il reconnaît le Christ dans chacun de ses malades et prie pour chacun d’eux.  Il a à cœur de se sanctifier dans le travail, sanctifier le travail et sanctifier par le travail[17].

4.4-     Témoigner

Couramment confronté aux misères physiques et aux souffrances morales et spirituelles, le catholique qui exerce la médecine aura à cœur d’annoncer le salut et le dépassement.  Connaître le Christ, savoir qu’il aime chacune de ses créatures et qu’il les a sauvées est une extraordinaire richesse à partager. Ce qui se traduit, entre autres, par une attitude médicale spécifique[18] :

  • Etre à l’écoute de son patient.

Le patient qui vient consulter son médecin vient parler de lui-même. Il est angoissé et attend que son médecin l’écoute.

  • Etre réponse pour son patient.

Une réponse ouverte sur la maladie qui conduit le patient à une réflexion sur lui-même, autant que sur la maladie dont il venait se plaindre.

  • Etre une présence pour son patient.

Etre disponible pour que le malade ne se sente pas seul à faire face à son vécu.

  • Etre à l’écoute de l’entourage, de la famille.
  • Se faire humble devant la vie. Le médecin n’est pas plus maître de la vie que de la mort du patient qui se confie à lui.

Il ne dispose pas de son patient, il est, en réalité, au service de la vie de cette personne souffrante.

Le médecin est au service de la vie. Le Christ nous révèle la vie, en plénitude, sous le regard paternel du Dieu-Amour.

Voilà ce dont le catholique qui exerce la médecine doit témoigner dans sa pratique.

Il doit avoir la conviction qu’il détient un message exceptionnel ; il est tenu, en pleine fidélité à l’Eglise, d’annoncer l’avènement de Jésus-Christ dans l’Histoire.

Parce que la grâce de Dieu rend l’homme capable d’accomplir la volonté de Dieu et de parvenir au salut, cette grâce passe par lui, et, malgré ses limites, tout en demeurant humble, il doit être conscient de son identité.

Le témoignage de cet engagement du catholique qui exerce la médecine peut s’exercer, outre dans sa vie privée et familiale, en divers lieux :

– Un premier lieu est celui de sa pratique auprès des malades chez qui il peut apporter des réponses fondamentales concernant, entre autres, le sens de la vie et de la mort, ainsi que celui de la souffrance.

– Un second lieu réside dans les débats culturels et sociaux, traitant des problématiques du commencement et de la fin de vie, de sa manipulation, de l’accès au service de la santé, ainsi que de la famille.

– Le troisième lieu est celui de l’éducation : présence discrète dans les cours universitaires, mais présence réelle, bien apparente et active, dans les activités para-universitaires.

– Le quatrième lieu couvre le domaine de la charité : services à la nouvelle pauvreté et aux fragilisés de notre temps (S.D.F.) ; aide aux mères célibataires en difficultés, coopération sanitaire avec les pays en voie de développement …

Conclusion

La nouvelle évangélisation est donc avant tout le fait de chrétiens laïques, témoignant de leur foi dans leur vie quotidienne, dans leur famille, dans leur travail, dans leur entourage, dans leurs engagements publics ou ecclésiaux.

Il s’agit d’un réel défi lancé à tous les chrétiens, pour qu’ils annoncent la foi qu’ils ont reçue, et dont ils vivent, aux hommes et aux femmes qui attendent confusément la « Bonne Nouvelle ».

Cette nouvelle évangélisation requiert que chacun commence par se «  ré-évangéliser » personnellement.  Par ailleurs, le catholique qui exerce la médecine, de par sa sensibilité vis-à-vis de l’homme souffrant et sa proximité d’avec l’homme fragile, occupe une place de première ligne. Il est libre d’utiliser tous les moyens actuels pour réaliser cet apostolat, mais doit être conscient que rien ne remplacera jamais le témoignage personnel et surtout se souvenir qu’il peut compter sur l’aide indéfectible du Tout-Puissant Christ ressuscité et sur l’énergie souveraine de l’Esprit.


[1] Ars B. Docteur en Médecine, Agrégé de l’Enseignement supérieur, 68 Avenue du Polo, 1150 Bruxelles. arsbernard@hotmail.com

[2] Rigal Jean. La nouvelle évangélisation. Comprendre cette nouvelle approche. Les questions qu’elle suscite, in: Nouvelle revue théologique, n°. 127, 2005, pp. 436-437.

[3] Léonard A-J ; Le cœur de la nouvelle évangélisation. www.metropolis2012.be.

[4] S.S. Paul VI. L’évangélisation dans le monde moderne. Exhortation apostolique Evangelii nuntiandi (8 décembre 1975), in : La documentation catholique, n° 1689, 4 janvier 1976, pp. 1-21.

[5] Baresta Luc. Jean-Paul II et la Nouvelle Évangélisation, in : Frédéric Aimard et Samuel Pruvot, Enquête sur la Nouvelle Évangélisation, Homélie à Nowa Huta, Pologne.  Paris, Le Sarment, pp. 13-21.

[6] CELAM (conseil épiscopal latino-américain) : le 9 mars 1983. Pour une nouvelle évangélisation de l’Amérique Latine, in La documentation catholique, no. 1850, 17 avril 1983, p. 438.

[7] Lettre encyclique Redemptoris Missio (7 décembre 1990), in : La documentation catholique, no. 2022, 17 février 1991, pp. 152-191. Au début du nouveau millénaire. Lettre apostolique Novo milleniio ineunte (6 janvier 2001), in La documentation catholique, no. 2240, 21 janvier 2001, pp. 67-89.

[8] De Charentenay P. Les nouvelles frontières de la laïcité. Desclée de Brouwer, I.S.B.N. : 978-2-220-06153-5, 2009, pp 218.

[9] Manns F : Qu’est-ce que la nouvelle évangélisation ? Bayard, Montrouge,  2012, ISBN 978-2-227-48346-0, pp187.

[10] Lambert D, Paul-Boncour V : Scientifique et Croyant. Pistes de réflexion pour chercheurs et enseignants catholiques. Editions de l’Emmanuel, Paris, 2011, ISBN 978-2-35389-157-3, pp210.

[11] Ladrière J. L’articulation du sens. Discours scientifique et parole de foi. Paris, Aubier-Montaigne, 1970.

[12] Lambert D., Paul-Boncour V. Scientifique et croyant. Edition de l’Emmanuel, I.S.B.N. 978-2-35389-157-3, 2011, pp. 209.

[13] Leonard A.J. Agir en chrétien dans sa vie et dans le monde. Edt. Fidélité, Namur, 2011, ISBN 978-2-87356-509-1, pp119.

[14] Lambert D., Paul-Boncour V. Scientifique et croyant. Edition de l’Emmanuel, I.S.B.N. 978-2-35389-157-3, 2011, pp. 209.

[15] Lambert D., Paul-Boncour V. Scientifique et croyant. Edition de l’Emmanuel, I.S.B.N. 978-2-35389-157-3, 2011, pp. 209.

[16] Gueullette J-M. Prier au quotidien. Presses de la Renaissance, Prier, L’aventure spirituelle, Paris, I.S.B.N. : 978-2-7509-0512-5, 2009 , pp :151.

[17] Illanes J.L. La sanctification du travail. La Laurier, Paris, 1985, ISBN 2-86495- D 57-X, pp148.

[18] Ars B. Il n’y a pas de médecin catholique, mais bien un(e) catholique qui exerce la médecine. Acta Medica Catholica, N°3, 2010 – Vol 79, pp.54-55.

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8.2- La Nouvelle Evangélisation et la Médecine

Dr. Bernard ARS[1] (Belgie)

M.D., PhD.

La nouvelle évangélisation est, avant tout, le fait de chrétiens laïcs, témoignant de leur foi dans leur vie quotidienne, dans leur famille, dans leur travail, dans leur entourage, dans leurs engagements publics ou ecclésiaux.

Il s’agit d’un réel défi lancé à tous les chrétiens, pour qu’ils annoncent la foi qu’ils ont reçue, et dont ils vivent, aux hommes et aux femmes qui attendent confusément la « Bonne Nouvelle ».

Cette nouvelle évangélisation requiert que chacun commence par se «  ré-évangéliser » personnellement. Et, pour ce faire, chacun dispose de quatre atouts : étudier, vivre ensemble, prier et témoigner.

Par ailleurs, le catholique qui exerce la médecine, de par sa sensibilité vis-à-vis de l’homme souffrant et sa proximité d’avec l’homme fragile, occupe une place de première ligne. Il est libre d’utiliser tous les moyens actuels pour réaliser cet apostolat, mais doit être conscient que rien ne remplacera jamais le témoignage personnel et surtout se souvenir qu’il peut compter sur l’aide indéfectible du Tout-Puissant Christ ressuscité et sur l’énergie souveraine de l’Esprit.


[1] Ars B. Docteur en Médecine, Agrégé de l’Enseignement supérieur, 68 Avenue du Polo, 1150 Bruxelles.

arsbernard@hotmail.com

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9.- The Rosary Bank
Dr. Aniceta F. Po (Philippines)

Yes! We’re bankers! Dr. Manuel M. Po (Catholic Physicians Guild of the Philippines president 2011-2012) and I own a bank. We are CEO and assistant to the CEO respectively. We have no employees but have lots of volunteers.  Our bank is not of the capitalist, monetary kind, not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, not covered by the Philippine Deposit & Insurance Corporation, have no ATM machines and cards, nor passbooks.  But anybody can deposit or withdraw, if not instantly for the latter, just a couple of days notice will do.

The start was rather providential.  In September 2005, an oncologist friend, Dr. Carlos Dy asked for help to collect 2000 rosaries for a big activity for cancer patients, survivors, and families of living as well as demised.  We called up relatives, friends, even our patients.  In about 2 weeks, I personally delivered to his clinic 2000 rosaries of various materials, sizes, and colors.  So we thought everything was through. But we still received calls and deliveries of rosaries to our home and clinic.  By December, piles of grocery bagfuls eased out space in our bedroom.  As December 8 is the usual first communion date in schools, we decided to distribute them to public schools together with leaflets “How to pray the Rosary”.  Teachers were so appreciative and asked for regular supplies for catechetical purposes as well.  We advised our donors not only to give, but to ask from us when they see a need in public grade or high schools in their area.  From this idea the word Rosary Bank was coined.  DEPOSIT or WITHDRAW. Twice, I was invited to guest at the “Family Crusade”, a daily program of Radio Veritas, the Catholic radio station of the Philippines.  I talked on the Rosary Bank.  Nova Arias of Shepherd’s Voice Publishing and Bernard Canaveral were the hosts.  At the end of my talk, I announced over the air my contact numbers and clinic address as pick-up and delivery points of rosaries and leaflets.  Before leaving, I approached Ms. Arias and asked if it was possible to ask for back issues of their books and magazines. It was a big YES! All for free, on a pick-up basis.  Were we overwhelmed with initial haul of 3 vans full of catholic reading materials! Kerygma, Didache, Sabbath, Companion, Mustard- for grade schoolers, Fish- for teens, and Gabay-Didache in the vernacular.  These now come on a regular basis.  In turn, we distribute them to public grade and high schools; individually to students or to their libraries; poor parishes especially remote ones; provincial jails as well as national penitentiary and correctional; charity hospices and homes for the aged; missionary nuns, catechists, Catholic organizations’ projects whose end beneficiaries can’t afford such reading materials.  In a third world country like ours, these are not priorities in most families’ budget.

We are now continually deluged with requests for rosaries, many times over than donations.  We never turn down requests- they are always by the hundreds, biggest single- 700.  Some public schools, poor parishes, by the thousands, but on staggered dates as they hold first communions and catechetical activities by batches.  We have even sent to Shanghai, China and Daly City jail, California USA.  We always bring a big batch to our monthly medical missions around the country thru San Francisco Del Monte Rotary Club R.I. district 3780 mobile surgical van.  They are offered optionally, but are always consumed as some patients would ask for extras for a family member or two.  We denied one request though- for souvenir giveaways at a 25th year high school reunion – gently defining the bank’s priorities.  By the Lord’s blessings, are stocks always suffice.  We used to buy when stocks don’t fill in; but since three years ago I learned how to make them and taught others who are interested too.  They pick up materials from me and bring in completed products in continuous cycle.  Secretaries of doctors in the hospitals volunteered too.  We make them nonstop as time permits.  Sky blue chalk beads rosaries are our trademark. As of this writing, we have distributed not less than 50,000 rosaries.

We are both in our early sixties, still active in medical practice, I in OB-GYN and he in Pediatric Allergy and Immunology.  We learned that time and finances are not ultimate factors in spreading the faith.  But managing them is the essence.  Asking others for help is a practice in humility while reaping the fruits in cash, in kind, or service towards our goal visibly reflects God’s intervention and His will.  Ours is a very minute contribution in evangelization and re-evangelization, but we have vowed to take this apostolate unto our deathbeds.

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10.- LA DEFENSA DE LA VIDA Y LA MEDICINA EN LA NUEVA EVANGELIZACIÓN

Dr. Fernando Garcia-Faria Rialp

Presidente de Médicos Cristianos de Cataluña, España

La visión integral del hombre y de la salud en sus cuatro vertientes : biológica – psicológica – social y espiritual,  obliga a los médicos a que en su profesión, vocación y misión. Den a su actividad médico-sanitaria el más alto sentido, al servicio y defensa de la vida, sobretodo en los momentos de mayor fragilidad como son, la vida en su inicio (concepción) y al final de esta (muerte). También en el sufrimiento y en la enfermedad. El verdadero grado de civilización de una comunidad se mide por como se protege a los más necesitados, a los más débiles, no por su utilidad o producción. Su valor resulta de su existencia.

Los médicos debemos hacernos voz, de los que no tienen voz. Somos custodios y servidores de la vida humana en su totalidad y testimonios de la esperanza en el mundo.

En la nueva evangelización, cada aproximación o proyecto cuyo centro sea el respeto a la persona humana y su dignidad es una nueva evangelización.

Las políticas públicas deben velar por instaurar en la sociedad la cultura de la vida: el embrión es un ser humano. La familia natural es anterior al Estado. La cultura de la muerte, en vigor en una gran parte de nuestro mundo, ha desintegrado el sentido de nuestra existencia.

La Iglesia, necesita médicos cristianos para la nueva evangelización. En formación continuada, también ético- religiosa, moral y bioética; para contribuir a la construcción de una nueva sociedad.

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11.- No seré un bisbe mediàtic”. Però, ho he estat!

Mons. Xavier Novell, Bisbe de Solsona, Calalunya, Espanya

El dia 4 de novembre de 2010, l’endemà de fer-se públic el meu nomenament com a bisbe de Solsona, vaig oferir una breu entrevista al programa Els matins de TV3, aleshores conduït pel Sr. Cuní. Al final de l’entrevista, que segons alguns especialistes va funcionar tant bé que fou l’origen de l’onada mediàtica posteriors, jo vaig afirmar rotundament: “no seré un bisbe mediàtic!”. És evident que he complert el que vaig dir perquè els mitjans m’han perseguit i jo he accedit a quasi totes les peticions que he rebut.

Quan vaig fer aquest afirmació, indicava una actitud a la qual he estat fidel, tot i que no ho sembli, i que alguna vegada he definit així: “la nostra política de comunicació és que no tenim política de comunicació”. Avui, empreses, institucions i partits polítics, tenen un cap o una oficina de comunicació que els fa sortir regularment en els mitjans amb finalitats comercials, d’influència ideològica en l’opinió pública o de manteniment de la popularitat. Des de bon començament, vaig establir que ni el Bisbat de Solsona, ni jo mateix tindria política comunicativa. Tot i que entenc i respecto que una diòcesi cerqui la presència als mitjans, vaig decidir que Solsona i un servidor no treballaríem per assolir-ho. Aleshores, jo estava convençut que l’interés mediàtic duraria, com a màxim, fins a l’ordenació episcopal, un mes després del nomenament i simplement per la curiositat de la meva edat.

Simultàniament amb l’opció de no fer res amb la intenció de sortir als mitjans de comunicació, vaig establir que si rebia peticions, en principi, les acceptaria. Una cosa és no treballar per sortir i l’altra rebutjar les ofertes que pel motiu que sigui arribin. Aquest criteri respon al convenciment que avui allò que no surt als mitjans “no existeix”. L’Església catòlica té una presència i una implantació social enorme al nostre país, duu a terme una gran quantitat d’accions noticiables i disposa d’un capital humà creador d’idees i d’iniciatives exemplars i atractives. Malauradament, però, l’Església gairebé només és notícia quan sembla que pot haver-hi un escàndol i quan no surt per aquest motiu, fàcilment els esdeveniments es presenten amb un  biaix polèmic o negatiu. És necessari aparèixer en els mitjans en positiu com una institució i unes persones “normals”, convençudes del que fem i creiem, lliures per proposar el que no està de moda o és políticament correcte i amb transparència. Això és el que humilment he intentat des que vaig saltar a la palestra pública.

Des del meu nomenament episcopal, he viscut quatre onades mediàtiques més o menys llargues. La primera, vinculada al nomenament i, sobretot, a la meva edat, va començar amb l’entrevista amb en Cuní a principis de novembre, va durar gràcies a les entrevistes d’en Bosch a l’Àgora de TV3 i al Dominical del País i va culminar amb l’entrevista amb en Buenafuente, el mes d’abril. La segona onada va anar associada a la publicació del llibre “Carta a los jóvenes” i a la Jornada Mundial de la Joventut de Madrid. El mes de juny, enmig dels preparatius d’aquest gran esdeveniment, l’editorial que em va demanar el llibre es va moure per a promocionar-lo. La sorpresa del llibre, especialment pel seu estil, i per la seva actualitat a les portes de la trobada de la juvenil catòlica amb el Papa, feu que em ploguessin propostes fins ens els mateixos dies d’agost de la Jornada Mundial de la Joventut: els mitjans cercaven el bisbe “jove” per a parlar d’aquells joves. La tercera, més breu, va enganxar l’aniversari de la meva ordenació – desembre -, amb la publicació d’un llibre biogràfic sobre un servidor – gener – fet per una periodista i un fotògraf de Solsona. Els fetes van tornar a funcionar mediàticament per la curiositat que va provocar una biografia autoritzada un any després de la meva aparició a l’escena pública. Finalment, la quarta onada, que es va unir a l’anterior i ha durat dos mesos complerts – febrer i març -, fou a causa de la publicació i distribució en la diòcesi d’una comunicació pastoral sobre la crisi econòmica en vistes a estimular l’ajuda, directa o a través d’un Pla de Caritas, a les famílies mancades de treball i al límit econòmicament. La destinació d’un 25% del meu sou i del 10% del pressupost de la diócesi a aquest Pla d’ajuda social de Caritas diocesana, em va fer tornar a la palestra.

L’experiència d’aquest any i mig em permet descobrir alguns elements, que expliquen el fenomen mediàtic “bisbe de Solsona”, i que, malgrat no tenir cap formació en ciències de la comunicació, em semblen importants per la presència de l’Església en els mitjans de comunicació.

  1. Cal un fet mediàtic. No hem de crear fets per a sortir als mitjans, però sí que hem de fer conèixer aquells esdeveniments que puguin interessar als mitjans.
  2. Cal sintonitzar amb el periodista. Ell, en general, vol aconseguir una bona entrevista o una bona crònica, és a dir una peça d’actualitat i amb un bon titular, que faci que el lector se la llegeixi o l’oient o l’espectador se l’escolti o la vegi. Si l’entrevistat facilita el treball, té respostes breus i clares, no té por, és transparent i franc, el periodista frueix, pot seleccionar bons titulars o fer fluir l’entrevista en el directe. L’empatia que genera aquesta dinàmica fa que es projecti una bona imatge i un bon tractament informatiu. Si, en canvi, l’entrevistat està a la defensiva, esquiva les preguntes, dóna massa feina amb respostes llargues i difícils d’elaborar, el tractament que el periodista farà del material obtingut o la dinàmica que es crearà en el directe fàcilment serà negativa.
  3. Cerquem “existir” i produir una impressió positiva. L’objectiu de l’Església en els mitjans és evitar la irrellevància social i la mala imatge. Difícilment podrem vehicular grans missatges de contingut en els mitjans aliens, però sí que és possible projectar una imatge amable, creïble, transparent i autèntica, tot al contrari de l’estereotipus o prejudici general sobre l’Església. Tenint present que no podem dir sinó la veritat que custodiem fidelment, no podem pretendre caure simpàtics dient el que la gent vol sentir, sinó afirmant el que creiem amb amabilitat, raonant-ho amb simplicitat, claredat i capacitat d’interrogar i, sobretot, amb franquesa. Cerquem un impacte final senzill: “Fixa’t els bisbes, no són com me’ls imaginava, i el que diuen sembla que s’ho creuen!”.
  4. No ens hem de molestar pels titulars esbiaxats. Els periodistes cerquen ser llegits, escoltats o visionats i normalment ho aconsegueixen quan encerten un titular que enganxi. Tots, nosaltres també, llegim les notícies o ens mantenim en la mateixa emisora o canal si això succeeix. Per tant, no ens han de molestar els titulars cridaners o esbiaxats, ja que només aquests aconsegueixen que molts llegeixin la notícia de la qual som protagonistes.
  5. Els mitjans no coneixen els límits territorials de les diòcesis. És cert que hi ha notícies que només tenen interés pels mitjans locals o territorials, però n’hi ha d’altres que tenen dimensió catalana o, fins i tot, estatal. Si creiem que és positiu que l’Església surti als mitjans de comunicació, hem d’acceptar que el rostre de la notícia sigui el que la genera i no pas el bisbe que correspon a la seu del mitjà de comunicació.

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12.- A New Evangelisation for Life.
11th Hour Labourers in the Vineyard of the Lord (Mt 20:1-16).
©Anne Lastman (Australia)

The term New Evangelisation needs to be understood clearly before it becomes possible for this evangelisation to become a reality.
There are definitive moments and words in time which bring to mind, without effort, the author of those words. Words like “Theology of the Body” “Culture of Death” “New Evangelisation.” When these terms are used the name Blessed John Paul II is recalled. Of the three phrases “New Evangelisation” will be explored and explored in context of “right to life” So what does “New Evangelisation mean?”
We understand evangelisation to mean the spreading of the “good News” of Jesus Christ (Mt. 28:18-20) and bringing all nations under His Lordship through Baptism in the name of the Most Holy Trinity.
However, New Evangelisation in the thought of Blessed John Paul II is his response for the urgent need to evangelise but to evangelise within the new realities of this time.. This New Evangelisation preaches the Gospel in the milieu, language and signs of the modern era and reiterates the Truth so that it is understood by the listeners of this day.
The first two millennia saw the preaching of Gospel both in suffering and persecution but also in joy. But in this modern era at the beginning of third millennia there are two new generations which have emerged whose ears have been deafened by the “noise” of a culture in which “life” is interpreted in a way contra to Christ and The Gospel. And thus the New Evangelisation.
The evangelical nature of the church is its raison d etre and could be said that this impetus finds its genesis in God Himself Who reveals and speaks about Himself through all of creation and definitively through His beloved Son Jesus. Evangelisation does this; it speaks concretely about God, life, creation, sin, redemption, and these He continues to speak about through the Holy Spirit via the Church whose work is to bring a change to a disordered world. To change the culture from profane to divine.
The New Evangelisation takes as its role model the incarnation. Jesus entered a culture and began the change. The New Evangelisation needs to do the same.
The documents of the Second Vatican Council especially Guadium et Spes together with Post Conciliar documents like Humane Vitae , Evangelium Vitae Redemptoris Missio, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, Evangelii Nuntiandi, Christifidelis Laici have embedded in them the nuances of the thought of John Paul II and the New Evangelisation. These documents are of inestimable worth and show the Holy Father’s pre occupation with the restoration of dignity to man.
In the Holy Father’s anthropology of the human person, the individual is imbued with inalienable rights, the highest being the right to “Life” and the right to “dignity” because of man’s reflection of the divine image. (Gen1:27). So as part of the New Evangelisation a focus must be the awareness of the true reality of our world in all its beauty but also it’s tragic state of sinfulness. With this vision, the conscience of society can be galvanised towards sharing anew the message of the Gospel. To see the grief engulfing a culture in pain is to desire to evangelise “woe to me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Cor.9:16).
The New Evangelisation means a return to the understanding of how this loss occurred and a reversal of this descent into the “culture of death.” It means a retelling of the story with new fervour for a Holy God and His Creation. The family, life, love, can renew each generation and with each generation God speaks again a language of confidence and continuation. God speaks of “life” and not “death.” In this milieu of secularisation these words are not heard and the culture of death in all its methods proceeds unabated.
The Church remains in the world as a visible sign of the Holy Spirit who speaks of Jesus through the Gospel to address the prevailing anti God anti Life ideologies of the modern era. The saving work of Christ needs to be heard again with vigour and hope, most especially by a humanity of multi millions who have abandoned the laws written on the human heart (Jer 31:31-33) and descended into a world of pain. “The church does not tire of doing penance: before God and man she always acknowledges as her own her sinful sons and daughters. As Lumen Gentium affirms”(TM p53) To these individuals the words “Repent and believe the Gospel” (Mk 1:15) need to be spoken not in judgement but in sympathy and love.
In the context of this society, the most vital need is to hear that Jesus has loved life so much that He took on human life to be in solidarity with the human being and because of this He has engaged with the culture, and desires to change it from one of death to one of life. “The Holy Spirit gives humanity the gift of conscience so that in this conscience the human being-the image of God-may reflect its model” (Dominium et Vivificantem,36.)
In conclusion, a new need has arisen in our day, a need for a New Evangelisation most especially to the marginalised by the anti God lie anti life lie. To those who have acquiesced to the whisper that “life is not good.” To those who have consciously decided that marriage and family between a man and a woman is not the ideal, but otherwise is the ideal. To those who are consciously and determinedly attempting to determine end of life because of eugenic mentality. To those who have ceased listening to the voice of hope because the culture of death has deafened their hearing. To these a “New Evangelization” is urgent because of the loss of the sense of awe and through this loss, the loss of sense of God, of morality and holiness.
References:
John Paul II Apostolic Exhortation, Christifidelis Laici (Homebush, NSW: St Paul Publications, 1988).
John Paul II, Encyclical Letter, Redemptoris Missio, in Joseph G. Donders (Ed.) The Encyclicals of John Paul II. In Everyday Language. E.J. Dwyer (Australia) Pty Ltd. 1996
John Paul II, Encyclical Letter, Dominium et Vivificantem, in Joseph G Donders (Ed.) The Encyclicals of John Paul II In Everyday Language. E.J. Dwyer (Australia) 1996.
John Paul II Encyclical Letter, Redemptoris Missio (Mission of the Redeemer) in Joseph G. Donders (Ed) The Encyclicals of John Paul II. In Everyday Language. E.J. Dwyer, (Australia)
Pty Ltd. 1996.
John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) St Paul’s Publications, Homebush, NSW. 1995.
John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope. (Alfrede A. Knopf: New York, 1994).
John Paul II, The Third Millennium. St Paul’s Homebush, NSW 1994.
John Paul II Encyclical Letter, Evangelium Vitae, The Gospel of Life, in Joseph G. Donders (Ed).
The Encyclicals of John Paul II. In Everyday Language. E.J.Dwyer (Australia) Pty Ltd 1966.
Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, in Flannery (Ed), Vatican Council II. The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents. Publisher Pillar Books, by arrangement with Costello Publishing Company Inc. 1975.
Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation, On Evangelisation in the Modern World, Evangelii Nuntiandi. Society of St Paul, Homebush, NSW. 1976
Apostolic Letter, Nuovo Millenio Ineunte, (St Paul Publications: Homebush NSW 2000).

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13.- LOURDES

Docteur Alessandro de Franciscis
Médecin Permanent et Président
du Bureau des Constatations Médicales
Sanctuaires Notre Dame de Lourdes

Dès la première, et jamais révoquée, Alliance il existe un lien évident entre la foi dans le  Dieu d’ Abraham, la médecine et la santé. Mais c’est avec Jésus de Nazareth, et déjà avec sa prédication, qu’il est mis en évidence à travers la nouvelle et définitive Alliance un rapport profond et inséparable entre Évangélisation et  Médecine. Jésus médecin est plus fort que la mort, il redonne la santé et la vie. Les épisodes racontés dans les évangiles synoptiques et dans la tradition  théologiquement dense de l’ Évangile  de Jean sont très nombreux. Jésus n’est pas médecin parce qu’il est guérisseur. Jésus est médecin parce qu’il témoigne, avec le pouvoir du Fils de Dieu, tout l’amour qu’ « est » Celui qui l’a envoyé,  Dieu le Père et que le Royaume de Dieu est déjà parmi nous.  Jésus œuvre, en fait, parce qu’il s’émeut et ressent de la compassion.

Au cœur du mystère de notre Salut – la Passion, la Mort et la Résurrection de Jésus –  qui est aussi le cœur de la bonne nouvelle, de l’Évangile, Jésus, l’Agneau de Dieu, est sacrifié et meurt dans l’agonie incommensurable de la torture de la Croix, dans la souffrance psychique, physique et spirituelle. Sur la croix Jésus, le fils de Dieu, devient frère de chaque homme et de chaque femme à n’importe quel moment de l’histoire et surtout de celui qui a connu et connait la douleur. Jésus ne souffre pas et ne meurt pas pour révéler ni expliquer le mystère insondable de la souffrance et de la  douleur. Jésus souffre et meurt pour être véritablement frère de chaque souffrant et de chaque mourant. Et pour nous sauver!  Dans sa résurrection il affirme la Seigneurie de Dieu – et la sienne –  sur la mort et la vie.  C’ est pourquoi  après sa résurrection Jésus est appelé Christ et est adoré comme Seigneur.

Le temps que nous vivons est un temps où nous avons essayé et nous essayons de faire sans Dieu. Et la médecine que nous vivons est une médecine qui a essayé et essaie de ne pas croire à la résurrection des morts. Le Pape Benoît XVI dès le premier jour de son pontificat nous aide à comprendre , dans la Charité, l’incohérence entre l’Évangile et la logique du monde. Le Bienheureux  Jean Paul II en lançant – sans peur! –  une nouvelle évangélisation a voulu, dans la complexité de l’histoire que nous vivons, nous enseigner l’importance fondamentale du rapport entre une Nouvelle Évangélisation et la Médecine. Il l’a fait, tout au long de son  pontificat et magistère,  en élevant à  la gloire des autels, comme Bienheureux et Saints, un nombre de médecins et d’infirmières sans précédent dans l’histoire de l’Église, il l’a fait en rappelant l’attention de l’Église Universelle à la centralité de la personne malade et à la diaconie de la profession Médicale et des professions sanitaires et il l’a fait du haut de sa propre maladie. Nous  rappelons avec reconnaissance le trésor pas encore totalement exploré de son Magistère intervenant personnellement au 15° Congrès Mondial des Médecins Catholiques en 1982,  de la Lettre Apostolique Salvifici Doloris ,  sur le sens chrétien  de la souffrance humaine, de l’institution du Décastère Conseil Pontifical pour la Pastorale des Services de la Santé,  de l’institution de la Journée Mondiale du Malade, et en accueillant en Audience  innombrables  Associations de soignants  chrétiennes et membres des  Sociétés  Scientifiques.

Une nouvelle Évangélisation demande aux Médecins de se convertir, par Jésus le Seigneur, à la centralité de l’Eucharistie et au Credo des Apôtres, «exspécto resurrectionem mortuorum », en  vivant, avec l’aide de Marie Salus Infirmorum et sur le modèle de Médecins Saints et  Bienheureux, la richesse du service dans l’Église à l’homme malade, à tout homme.

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14.- Le médecin, la médecine et la nouvelle évangélisation, que pouvons-nous faire ?

Dr. L. Boyer, France

Amour & Vérité – Médecins

http://www.amouretverite.org/category/medecins/

Depuis plusieurs années, le monde de la santé s’est fortement sécularisé et les médecins catholiques sont souvent isolés dans leur exercice, pour la plupart dans des structures non confessionnelles. Cette situation est nouvelle et appelle à un vrai renouvellement de notre façon d’évangéliser le monde médical. Mais, alors que pouvons-nous faire ?1

Une étape clé me semble être la reconstruction d’une confraternité médicale fondée sur le Christ. La forme peut en être très simple : des médecins catholiques d’un même hôpital ou d’un même secteur géographique, se rencontrent pour prier ensemble, se témoigner de leur relation avec le Christ dans leur exercice médical, et s’encourager mutuellement à exercer avec compétence et humanité leur métier2. Et cela change tout, car de simples collègues, ils deviennent des frères dans le Christ. Ce témoignage non démonstratif, mais très probablement visible pour nos collègues, ne peut que conduire en son temps à un témoignage plus explicite.

De par le monde, beaucoup de médecins catholiques font et ont déjà fait cette expérience. Ces fraternités médicales sont sûrement la « cellule » initiale à partir de laquelle se répandra autour de nous la Bonne Nouvelle de l’Evangile. Et surtout le lieu où nous pourrons prier avec insistance l’Esprit Saint afin qu’il nous conduise et nous montre le chemin de la ré-évangélisation du monde médical ! L’invocation de Notre Dame de Lourdes par les médecins est aussi très précieuse : Marie est l’étoile de la nouvelle évangélisation3 !

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15.- Evangelization and the Catholic Medical Association

John F. Brehany, Ph.D., S.T.L.
Executive Director and Ethicist
Catholic Medical Association (USA)

Evangelization is the first task of the Church and a basic duty for every Christian. From the Great Commission that Jesus gives at the end of each of the synoptic Gospels, to the call for a new evangelization, issued by Pope Paul VI in his 1975 encyclical Evangelii nuntiandi, and renewed by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, evangelization – the public sharing of and witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ – is indispensable for the life of each individual Christian and for the Church.

There are many activities in which Christians are called to engage, ranging from the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, to following one’s vocation, to exercising one’s charisms for the good of the Church. The laity, in particular, must also work to earn a living, take care of their family members, and serve the common good. Still, all of these many activities are parts of a human life, the overall purpose of which is to receive and then reflect the grace of God.

Evangelization is different from “prostelytizing” – an overt attempt to induce someone to convert. Rather, evangelization combines witness to  the person and mission of Jesus Christ with an explanation of how one’s life and (good) efforts are shaped by one’s relationship to the Lord.

People who work in the Catholic health care ministry have both the opportunity and the duty to evangelize. Patients who are injured, ill, or dying, as well as their family members, need to have the burdens of pain, sorrow, and mortality lifted with an authentic expression of service and love. The many parables performed by Jesus show that caring for people’s bodies is a privileged way of witnessing to the powerful love of God.

To draw attention to the centrality of evangelization for physicians and health care professionals, the Catholic Medical Association is dedicating its 81st Annual Educational Conference, to be held in St. Paul, Minnesota from September 27-29, 2012 to the theme: A Witness to Hope: Medicine and the New Evangelization. Speakers will address a series of important topics, including the thought of Pope John Paul II, the role of priests and religious, new ways to use the media, natural family planning, and renewing Catholic universities. For more information, go to  http://www.cadmed.org

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16.- DUC IN ALTUM (published in the year 2000 )

Dr. Gian Luigi Gigli (Italia)

http://www.fiamc.org/texts/duc-in-altum-dr-gian-luigi-gigli/

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17.- THE NEED FOR A CHARTER FOR MOTHERS

Dr. Robert Walley and Mater Care International (Canada)

PREAMBLE

Mothers and their babies are among the poorest of the poor and are the most vulnerable physically. Hundreds of thousands of mothers die in developing countries giving birth to new life. They suffer the most in times of economic crisis. In rich countries mothers suffer spiritually, physically, emotionally see no other solution than to destroy their unborn babies.

1.A THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF MOTHERS

1.1 The Human Being,

“Being created in the image and likeness of God, is not just something, but someone”, (The Catechism of the Catholic Church n. 357) who is “one in body and spirit” (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et spes, n.14 John Paul II Veritatis splendor, n. 50),  “one in body and soul (John Paul II Redemptor hominis, n. 14),: “with an immortal soul whereby” he/ she “exists as a whole”, (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church, n. 127),  who “exists as a unique and unrepeatable being, … as an ‘I’, capable of self-understanding, self-possession and self-determination …”, (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church, n. 131), “and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons. And he is called by grace to a covenant with his Creator, to offer him a response of faith and love that no other creature can give.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 357). “However, it is not intellect, consciousness and freedom that define the person; rather, it is the person who is the basis of the acts of intellect, consciousness and freedom. These acts can even be absent, for even without them he does not cease to be a person” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church, n. 131)

A basic principle is that each human life is therefore sacred and is the starting point for a moral vision for society. Human beings are meant to live together freely giving of themselves and entering into communion with other persons. Thus an emphasis must be placed on the fundamental rights of every person; the right to life, to marry and found a family, to religious liberty, to work and to associate; all necessary for human flourishing.  These imply access to food, clean water, shelter, health care, and education.

John Paul II wrote in Christifideles laici (n.38);

“ Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of the human rights – for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture – is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination”.

1.2      The Dignity of Motherhood

Motherhood has special significance in every culture as it the most complete expression of the special vocation of women. In some developing countries motherhood is taken very seriously and mothers are revered and considered to be a central part of the family. In Mulieris dignitatem, John Paul II says that women make a  ‘sincere gift of self’  (n. 18) to others, which is so obvious in the case of motherhood.  The woman as mother is entrusted with the responsibility of bearing and bringing to birth human beings. The woman has her own way of existing for others, of making a gift of self to others, and she is obliged to resist domination by men; she does not lose her original femininity in doing that. But she too can neglect and impair ‘the sincere gift of self’. Motherhood implies a special openness to the new person.  She is entrusted with human beings and has received love in order to give love (n. 30) ;  It is her characteristic dignity. “Parenthood” is realised much more fully in the woman; pregnancy absorbs all her energies body and soul (n.18). Women are more capable than men of paying attention to another person, and motherhood develops this predisposition in them even more (n. 18).

But motherhood, in Christian tradition, since Mary’s faithful Fiat, became a part of God’s new covenant with humanity (n. 19). Motherhood is therefore the gift to humanity of such fundamental importance that it must be cherished and served in special ways appreciating its dignity as the key is to healthy families and societies.

1B MATERNAL HEALTH CARE: SITUATIONS OF URGENT NEED

1.3    Mortality and Morbidity

It is estimated that 200 million women conceive world-wide each year and the UN estimates the number of pregnancies artificially aborted annually to be 30 – 50 millions.  The number of women’s deaths occurring due to complications during pregnancy, labour and delivery and 6 weeks following (maternal mortality), are reliably estimated to be 330,000, (Lancet 2009), mostly in developing countries. The difference in the risk of dying during pregnancy and childbirth, between rich and poor countries is stark e.g. in Canada it is 1: 7,300, whereas in sub-Saharan African countries the risk is 1: 7.  No other development indicators show such disparity between rich and poor countries and the gap is not closing. Of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals No 5 (to reduce maternal mortality by 75% by 2015) is the most neglected.  This neglect is not due to lack of funding but rather its wrong allocation, which is to reduce the number of children mothers bear rather, than making pregnancy and childbirth safer.

The causes of maternal deaths are well known, are readily preventable and can be successfully treated at comparable low cost. Proper measures, availability of skilled personnel at the time of birth and prompt emergency obstetrical care if things go wrong, may save the lives of 90 per cent of the mothers. The prevalence of maternal deaths is larger in rural areas, small villages, during the last trimester of pregnancy, during childbirth and, most of all, in the first week following delivery. Mothers die from haemorrhage (25%), infection (12 %), or obstructed labour (8%) , from hypertension (12%), malaria, HIV, severe anaemia (12%) and complications of abortion, both spontaneous and induced (13%).  Not only are the lives of these women abruptly ended but also those of their newborn babies, and the chance of survival of their young children decreases dramatically. Every year about one million children are left motherless and vulnerable because of maternal deaths.

Maternal morbidity following delivery is extensive and under recognized. It is estimated that for every maternal death, 30 more mothers suffer long-term damage to their health, severe and long – lasting illnesses or disabilities caused by complications during pregnancy or childbirth, e.g. infertility, chronic infections, uterine prolapse or obstetric fistulae. Fistula occurs most frequently to young mothers as a consequence of neglected, obstructed labour (lack of caesarean section) resulting in injury to the bladder and rectum, and consequently incontinence of urine and/or faeces. World-wide estimates are that 2 million young and forgotten mothers are living with this problem, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, suffering also from depression and social rejection. These injuries are readily preventable by ensuring access to essential obstetrical care. Fistulae are treatable with specialised surgery and nursing care.

1.4       Violence against mothers and their unborn children

By Commission e.g. procured abortion, genital mutilation, sexual assault, by trafficking or domestic abuse, all of which have received considerable attention by civil authorities and from society in general. Many other mothers are equally victims of serious harm caused by Omission as in the case of neglect during pregnancy and childbirth.

1.5       Option for the poor and vulnerable

The poor, of whom mothers and their babies are among the most vulnerable, have a claim upon our consciences and upon the resources and services of national governments and of the world generally. This option for the poor does not mean that they have rights which no-one else enjoys, but implies that the urgency and gravity of their need demand that attention be given to them as a matter of priority, before turning to other less urgent needs  (cf. John Paul II, Sollicitudo rei socialis, n. 42). On this basis civil governments, as well as other public and private institutions, should consider their policies and their efforts, or the lack of these, to meet the health-care needs of these very marginalized persons.

1.6                    Maternal Health Care as a Human Right

Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states;

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.  Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance.”

The former Director General of WHO, Dr. Halfdan Mahler, commented in Nairobi in 1987;

“We know enough to act now, it could be done; it ought to be done; and in the name of social justice and human solidarity, it must be done”.

Present policies of governments and of other public and private institutions to meet these needs of the most marginalised are inadequate. While problems of women’s health and the need for improved care have been discussed for many years, practical and effective action has been often lacking. It has been recognised by the United Nations and by the international community generally that, of the eight Millennium Development Goals, the fifth, pertaining to maternal health, has been the most neglected. This failure has been due both to a lack of political will to attend to these matters as such and to the diversion of resources into abortion and birth control under the aegis of maternity health programmes, including those of the United Nations, which has been at the expense of essential obstetrical care.

The Catholic Church has a long history of providing maternity care, but its continuation in that ministry is threatened by elements of internal dissent and by governments and health and population agencies which are dismissive of its teaching on human life, procreation and motherhood. Discriminatory policies, including funding, by governments and other agencies, violate the right of Catholic and other health professionals to practise in accordance with their consciences and undermine Catholic hospitals and non-governmental organisations in their provision of faith-based and morally upright maternity services.’

In the light of the consideration both of the implications of human rights for mothers and of the pressing need to resolve the contradictions and the systematic deficiencies in maternal health-care noted above, the formulation of a ‘Charter of Rights of Mothers’ is long overdue, a Charter whose effective implementation will serve both to improve the lives and the health of mothers and of babies and to enhance their dignity.

SECTION 2.   THE RIGHTS OF MOTHERS

Article 1

Every mother must be allowed and enabled to welcome the gift of her child.  Every child must be valued as a gift and must not be reduced to being considered as the object of someone else’s alleged right.

Article 2

Every mother has a right to respect for her dignity, religious, moral, social, and cultural values, and the right to be free from every form of unjust discrimination or coercion, during pregnancy, childbirth and afterwards.

Article 3

Every mother and every child has the right to the treatment and care needed to try to ensure the survival of each of them during pregnancy and childbirth; nothing must ever be done deliberately and directly which causes or which is intended to cause the death or either of them, nor must anything morally upright be deliberately omitted in order to provoke the death of either; essential obstetrical care must always be provided during pregnancy, in childbirth and afterwards.

Article 4

Every mother has the right to comprehensive prenatal care, including effective health education in preparation for safe delivery.

Article 5

Every mother has the right to refuse prenatal diagnosis which is not intended and directed to ensuring the survival and well-being of the child she is carrying in her womb at the time and she has the right, in all circumstances to reject coercion and other pressure to procure an abortion.

Article 6

Every mother has the right to safe, clean, adequately equipped facilities in which to deliver her child.

Article 7

Every mother has the right to skilled midwifery care during delivery.

Article 8

Every mother has the right to specialist obstetrical care when complications occur.

Article 9

Every mother has the right to post-partum care, including counseling and support for breast feeding, morally upright, natural family planning information and advice.

Article 10

Every mother has the right to retain her fertility and not to be subjected to coercion to be medically or surgically sterilisation.

SECTION 3. THE SPECIAL OBLIGATIONS OF CATHOLIC OBSTETRICIANS AND MIDWIVES.

To appreciate the importance of motherhood in our contemporary world those in whose professional expertise this responsibility lies must envisage four complementary approaches.

3.1 Firstly, Catholic obstetricians and midwives must be obstetrically COMPETENT, in all the skills associated in caring for mothers. Legal and social aspects are a fundamental part of the doctor’s and midwife’s remit.  This is what the law, society and the Church rightly expect of them.

3.2 Secondly, they must have the CONVICTION that Catholic teaching on morals, magisterially guided,                 is not only true, but totally beneficial for the patients requiring medical assistance within the scope of his or her competency.

3.3 Thirdly, this involves their appreciation of the nature of society at large and of each particular local COMMUNITY within it.  Motherhood is foundational for the flourishing of every society, and for every individual community, which is a constituent part of that society.

3.4 Fourthly, the Catholic obstetricians and midwives must appreciate that motherhood is so fundamental to human existence that profound COMPASSION is necessary. This involves compassion for all mothers and their families, believers or not, who suffer to beget and bring up their children.

SECTION 4.   THE CHARTER IN PRACTICE

To apply the Charter additional themes of Right to Life, Subsidiarity, Solidarity, and the Common Good must be addressed in order to make it a reality.

4.1       Right to Life, Subsidiarity, Solidarity and the Common Good

v      Right to Life

Bodily life is a fundamental good; here below it is the condition for all other goods’ (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, De abortu procurato, n. 9); the commandment “You shall not kill” has absolute value when it refers to the innocent person and all the more so in the case of weak and defenceless human beings … As far as the right to life is concerned, every human being is absolutely equal to all others … Before the moral norm which prohibits the direct taking of the life of an innocent human being, “there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone’ (John Paul II, Evangelium vitae, n. 57, ID., Veritatis splendor, n. 96).

v           Subsidiarity

“ It is a fundamental principle of social philosophy, fixed and unchangeable, that one should not withdraw from individuals and commit to the community what they can accomplish by their own enterprise and industry” (Pius XI, Quadragesimo anno,)

v        Solidarity

“ Is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say, to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all.” (John Paul II, Sollicitudo rei socialis n. 38.)

The Common Good

“Is the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfilment, today takes on an increasingly universal complexion and consequently involves rights and duties with respect to the whole human race. Every social group must take account of the needs and legitimate aspirations of other groups, and even of the general welfare of the entire human family” .(Gaudium et Spes nn. 26, 74)

4.2       Maternal Rights in Practice

MaterCare International has developed a model of comprehensive rural obstetrical care especially for developing countries that takes maternal health services closer to village communities. The model addresses maternal rights by addressing especially the obstetrical causes of mortality and morbidity but also other circumstances, which contribute e.g. lack of; adequate facilities; trained health professionals; transportation, of communications, and poor roads.  The model provides new initiatives of service, training research and advocacy and a way for communities, especially women, to become more closely involved in the delivery of maternity care.   It is applicable to any country where similar circumstances prevail.

4.3 A “Marshall Plan” for Mothers

The Marshall Plan was developed in 1947 to respond to the devastation of Europe following the World War II and in response to the threat of domination by the tyranny Soviet communism.  In our world of the 21st Century we find that maternal health care is in a disastrous state in much of the developing world where motherhood is under threat from a new tyranny, the culture of death.

There is a need for an innovative, proactive and courageous response, a sort of “Marshall Plan” for mothers to provide them with care to which they have a right.  Such a plan would need funds, organisation and above all commitment.  We call upon everyone, the Church and all people of good will, to make this Charter known and to collaborate together to ensure that its words are translated into practice in the service of mothers, their children and their families.

http://www.matercare.org/assets/Uploads/PDFs/Charter-Of-Rights.pdf

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PS/ A NEW HOSPITAL FOR MOTHERS!

(Isiolo, Kenya)

Project Founder/Researcher: Dr Robert L. Walley, by e-mail info@matercare.org; Phone (709)579-6472
Project Manager: Simon Walley, by e-mail info@matercare.org

Office Manager: Wanda White, by e-mail info@matercare.org; Phone Toll Free (888) 579-6472
Isiolo, Kenya, May 12 – In 2005, the Canadian based non-profit group, MaterCare International, developed a Rural Essential Maternity Care project to work in partnership with the community of Isiolo, Kenya. The Isiolo district is uniquely affected by maternal mortality because of its nomadic population, the severity of the climate, poverty, poor roads, poor communication, and geographic isolation. These factors have resulted in neglect on the part of the authorities and most non-governmental organizations. On May 19th, MaterCare International will open a much anticipated maternity hospital in Isiolo.

Among the villagers and religious leaders attending this opening will be Kenya’s President, Mwai Kibaki. MaterCare staff Simon Walley, Katrin Heeskens, and Dr. Robert Walley are leaving for Isiolo on Saturday to attend. Normand Peladeau of Montreal, the building developer, will now be back on site after his illness. Along with President Mwai Kibaki, there will be a dedication by Bishop Anthony Mukobo and Archbishop of Nairobi, John Cardinal Njeu. It has been 7 years since the invitation for this initiative came from the late Bishop Luigi Locati, who was murdered soon after the project began. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9009875/ns/world_news-africa/t/priest-others-charged-murder-bishop/)

Women are experiencing unimaginable suffering due to the scandalous lack of effective care during pregnancy and childbirth, resulting in 333,000 of them dying annually, 99 percent of which occur in developing countries, in particular sub-Saharan Africa where the risk of dying is 1 in 31 pregnancies. These deaths are due to direct obstetrical causes during the last trimester of pregnancy, during labor and delivery, and one week afterwards, whereas in industrialized countries the risk is 1 in 4,300, illustrating the stark difference between rich and poor countries.

In the Isiolo district, roads are poor and the area is sparsely populated between major towns. Merti and outlying villages have approximately 150,000 people with only 1 midwife serving the whole area. From the town of Isiolo, Merti is 178 km but takes 5 hours in a reliable vehicle. Most mothers in the region give birth at home on rugs.

MaterCare’s maternity hospital will provide level 1 obstetrical service which will include normal care during pregnancy and delivery and treatment of most obstetric and medical complications.
The hospital will assist in an estimated 1,500 births each year.

“It is our sincere hope that the presence of President Kibaki at the opening of the Isiolo hospital will illustrate to the international community that projects like these are what the people of Kenya want. The hospital was built by Canadian citizens giving private donations, without the help of government funding, because Canada’s federal government isn’t acting on behalf of the Canadian people as both countries would like them to,” said MaterCare founder, Dr Robert L. Walley.

MaterCare International (Member of FIAMC)
8 Riverview Avenue
St John’s, NL A1C 2S5
Canada

Kenya President opens MCI´s Mother´s hospital:

http://www.cisanewsafrica.com/?p=5561
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18.-  N.U.E.V.A. E.V.A.N.G.E.L.I.Z.A.C.I.Ó.N…

ALGUNAS SUGERENCIAS del beato Dr. Pere Tarrés RESPECTO al APOSTOLADO ORGANIZADO

1 .- ¿Qué necesita el apóstol?

Apóstol: Hombre de corazón encendido, de espíritu llameante, prudente como la paloma y astuto como la serpiente.
Es condición preliminar, para ejercer de apóstol, haber conseguido hacerse respetar en lo puramente profano.
Conquista: La primera alma que hay que conquistar es la propia. Hay conquistar el corazón inconsciente de cada pueblo.
Constancia: Un punto fundamental para asegurar el éxito de la obra.
Deber: En su cumplimiento, el del deber cotidiano, constante, monótono, incluso abnegado, está nuestro campo vastísimo de acción, de verdadera y eficaz acción católica.
Es la pieza tejida con infinidad de iniciativas, ideas, realidades de actuaciones irreconocidas, de sacrificios, de renuncias, de oraciones, todo movido bajo el impulso de un ideal: la salvación del mundo.
Fundamentos de la actividad humana: Constancia y perfección. Mejoramiento progresivo de los actos o disciplinas que se impone.
Héroe: Lo será quien actúe constantemente hasta el fin, aunque su trabajo en la organización quede en la oscuridad.
Patriotismo: Calidad esencial inherente al alma de todos los pueblos … es como una virtud más del alma que Dios infunde a todos los hombres … representa el amor a la tierra en todos los aspectos … a todas aquellas características que la distinguen y que hacen que esa sea su patria: no otra y que, si dejara de poseerlas, dejaría de serlo Nosotros, los …. tendremos que avergonzarnos de amar nuestra patría? El buen Dios … nos la ha dado por patria nuestra. Pero, a nuestro patriotismo es puro, purísimo,
Pureza o castidad: La pureza de la juventud es la más firme garantía del futuro de la patria. A los ojos del mundo es tenida como algo vil y degradante y despreciable. El ambiente enrarecido de tufo lujuriante ha conseguido arrinconar en el corazón de unas pocas almas. La impureza es la gran llaga del cuerpo.

2 .- Instrumentos de actuación

Acción: factor formativo trascendental de las selecciones. No hay nada que seque tanto el espíritu como la vida de acción: no hay nada más peligroso para un alma que lanzarse a una actividad desmedida, sin control, sin el rocío suavísimo de una intensa vida interior, aun con las mismas obras de apostolado para la Acción Católica .
Armas: El sacrificio junto con la oración constituyen las dos más poderosas armas de apostolado. La Comunión es un arma invencible.
Comité Directivo: Serán candidatos exclusivamente los militantes asistentes asiduos de los círculos de estudios, de vida interior profunda y de conducta pública y privada ejemplar. Nunca los arribistas.
Círculo de Estudios: Trabajo constante de investigación hecho por uno mismo.
Grupos: La actividad y la vitalidad interna y externa de los grupos es el que da vida a la FJC. El grupo aislado se muere. No es una peña donde unos mandan y otros hacen de oposición. Deben ser una colmena de abejas donde cada militante deje la miel de su compañerismo, de sus iniciativas de sus gestiones y trabajos. Deben convertirse en verdaderos focos donde quemen constantemente el amor a Dios ya la Patria. Tienen que trabajar siempre sobre hechos concretos. Deben llevar una orientación definida. Cada mes tienen que enviar una nota de su actividad al Secretariado General.
Secciones: Son el medio para incorporar la masa de muchachos al grupo. Deben ser bien controladas y dirigidas por los militantes.
Dejemos que una sección funcione sin el control directo, sin intervención activa de los militantes y pronto veremos el desmembramiento del grupo.
Congreso: Preparamos el Congreso. Que sea el tema de nuestras conversaciones, de nuestros círculos de estudios y de las reuniones generales. Invadimos la prensa comarcal. Vivamos un solo pensamiento: El Congreso. Tengamos una sola obsesión: el éxito del Congreso. Juntamos a nuestras oraciones una plegaria por la eficacia apostólica del Congreso.
Militantes: Ante todo conviene formar dirigentes de las futuras masas. Hay que estudiar los puntos fundamentales de la técnica de la Federación de Jóvenes Cristianos de Cataluña (FJC). Hay una minoría selecta en cada grupo. El trabajo de formación es largo, representa un cedazo que asustaría otras organizaciones. Hay constancia. Los dirigentes deben ser oro puro, sin mezclas, forjados en la práctica de todas las virtudes cristianas.
El militante tendrá muchos desengaños: cuando menos se lo pensará aquel o aquellos miembros de las secciones respectivas lo harán sufrir y le pagarán con el desprecio y la indiferencia todo lo que habrá llevado a cabo por ellos.
Sacerdotes: Amad a nuestros sacerdotes que son los más grandes amigos que tenemos los jóvenes. El clero se ha hecho carne de nuestra carne y vida de nuestra vida.
Nosotros estamos plenamente convencidos de que sin la colaboración del Consiliario la obra de la FJC habría muerto.
El hombre ungido sacerdote es el pararrayos de la justicia divina .
Si de la Federación tenía que salir un solo sacerdote ya valía la pena de ser creada.
Disciplina: Debe ser libremente aceptada, vigorosa y perseverante; indispensable y base de toda organización; forjadora de hombres libres; secreto de nuestros éxitos; hace hombres de ideal.
Entusiasmo: Calidad esencialmente indispensable en toda organización que aspire a la conquista de grandes masas. Es vida, es amor, es audacia, es talento, es, en una palabra, potencia creadora. Es indispensable que los dirigentes vivan un entusiasmo penetrante, incisivo, tumultuoso, y que sepan llevarlo a la masa y hacerle sentir el escalofrío de la emoción.
Ejemplo: El ejemplo nos ha perdido; el ejemplo pero nos reivindicará.
Éxito: El éxito de las grandes organizaciones consiste en el equilibrio entre cada uno de los elementos que las mueven, aunque sea el más insignificante.
Financiación: Los déficits de los grupos hay secarlos y secarlos bien y en su caso forzando sacrificios individuales.
Los católicos están poco acostumbrados a cotizar. Lo que gastamos en cualquier menudencia, nos parece una enormidad cuando se trata de destinarlo a una obra de acción católica.
Fundamentos de la actividad humana: Constancia y perfección. Mejoramiento progresivo de los actos o disciplinas que se impone.
Heroísmos: Tirar a trabajar por la causa de Cristo en comarcas paganizadas, materializadas y llenas de concupiscencias. En Cataluña todos los valores han quebrado (se podría decir de muchas áreas de Occidente).
Organización: Nuestra consigna queda reducida a una palabra sola: Organización. Nuestro lema: Organización. Nuestra obra será potente en la medida en que la tendremos organizada yen la medida que los múltiples anillos de que se compone sean bien
Selección: Su única justificación es ser fermento de la masa.

3 .- Tropiezos

Capillita: El espíritu de capilla uno de nuestros defectos raciales ha llevado a la ruina organizaciones magníficas. No es otra cosa que la exageración en grado superlativo de la estimación de nosotros mismos la que se traduce en orgullo o soberbia. En la F.J.C. debemos evitar incluso la posibilidad de capillas.
Individualismo: Todo lo carcome.
La fuerza del ambiente: Es necesario que desaparezcan los católicos vergonzantes.
Alabanzas: Es bueno merecerlo las, pero es mejor aún saberlas rehuir.
Medianías: No llevarán nunca a cabo ninguna empresa. No podemos conformarnos con lo indolente. “Ir tirando” el talento asociado a una voluntad firme es lo único que levanta los pueblos y robustece su espíritu.
Ocio: Signo de muerte.

4 .- Objetivos

Defectos de juventud: Los conocemos y venimos a desterrarlos.
Los “sin Dios”: En nuestro han dado la cara. Nadie los persigue. No importa que vayan contra toda moral. Que hace que luchen contra todas las cosas del espíritu y que las derriben. Nuestro pueblo sufre los efectos nocivos del olvido de Dios, del odio a Dios.
F.J.C.: No somos una organización de lucha. Nuestro combate es contra el peor enemigo: cada uno de nosotros.
No venimos a constituir centros para ir a jugar o pasar la tarde. Venimos a formar hombres útiles a la patria. A defender los intereses de la Iglesia católica. Perseguimos la vigorización moral de Cataluña y la formación integral más perfecta posible del joven según las directrices de la Iglesia: espiritual, cultural y físicamente.
Nuestra obra necesita por su triunfo construir un organismo que pueda controlarse ampliamente con todos y cada uno de sus múltiples engranajes.
La F.J.C. vuela por encima de todas las cosas para que los hombres se den cuenta de que Jesús es el centro, el imán de las actividades del mundo. Quiere que todos los hombres reconozcan esta piedra angular contra la que se estrella el entendimiento de tantos y tantos orgullosos.
Mojón: La recristianización del mundo. Frente al enturbiamiento de tantos hombres hay la nítida pureza de nuestras almas transparentes y rectas; frente al odio, los rencores y las venganzas, la más solícita caridad; ante la tiranía de tantos, la santa libertad de los hijos de Dios.
Ideal: Nuestro ideal nos hace ser héroes, audaces, valientes, optimistas, convencidos del triunfo de nuestra causa. Lo ideal es el motor, es la fuerza irresistible que lleva las voluntades …
Ningún patrón de perfección, empero, supera el ideal que debe poseer todo cristiano que se gloría de ser discípulo de Cristo: El ideal de Dios. El ideal del conocimiento de Dios, de la posesión de Dios, del amor sublime a Dios.
Incrédulos: No debemos apartarnos de aquellos que no creen ni piensan como nosotros.
La táctica del apartamento conduce a la esterilidad, a la creación de odios, de luchas ideológicas y de luchas de clase.
Mundo: El mundo sin Dios no es nada.
Obra de juventud: Para realizar un trabajo fructífero hay que saber las dificultades que nos encontraremos, el ambiente con el que habrá que luchar, el estado moral y social de los diferentes tipos de jóvenes.

http://www.fiamc.org/bioethics/pere-tarres/

See you there!