01-07-2013 - Traces, n. 7


The desire
FOR A face

The upcoming Rimini Meeting (August 18th-24th) will address the human person’s need to emerge from anonymity and the importance of giving history the faces of individuals, because it is in the encounter with others that our true humanity emerges. One of the guests, Orthodox theologian Aleksandr Filonenko, explains why today, as the Pope says, “What is in crisis is man!” and why it is necessary to see hope in order to live. 

The title of the 2013 Meeting was chosen last year at the end of the preceding Meeting, as usual. It was drawn from an expression Fr. Giussani used in 1988 (you will find it further on) that is striking in how it seems to perfectly describe our times, this “universal dissociation” in which we are immersed, and that dictates a task for us: to give human beings back their identity.
Such is the urgency of this need and its relevance to the very reason we Christians are in the world, that in recent weeks we have heard similar expressions from Pope Francis more than once. He said it during the Pentecost Vigil gathering with the movements on May 18th: “This time of crisis, beware, is not merely an economic crisis. It is not a crisis of culture. It is a human crisis–it is the human person that is in crisis! Man himself is in danger of being destroyed! But man is the image of God! This is why it is a profound crisis!” He affirmed this idea again during his June 5th General Audience: “The human person is in danger: this is certain, the human person today is in danger; here is the urgent need of the human ecology! The danger is grave because the cause of the problem is not superficial, but profound–it is not just a question of economics, but of ethics and of anthropology.”  Even at his meeting with children in Paul VI Hall, two days later, he emphasized, “What is in crisis is the value of the human person, and we must defend the human person.”
This is the challenge that awaits us in Rimini, a “taste” of which you will find in the next pages, which delve into the nature of this crisis, this state of emergency, and look for where and how people emerge and find their faces, their identities, because there are many such facts and places, thanks be to God. Enjoy reading. We’ll join you at the Meeting–even from afar, via podcasts of events (see http://www.meetingrimini.org/eng/).