In the Face of the Collapse of Ideology, a Faith with Reasons
Years of communist militancy, looking for the answer to his
own existential questions, then an “encounter” and his conversion.
His return to political life, now determined by the awareness of the liberating
presence of Christ.
By Aldo Brandirali
[Former Leader of “Serve the People” (an Italian
Marxist–Leninist party born in 1968), now Milan City Council’s Secretary
for Sport and Youth]
Dear Fr Giussani: I want to embrace you for your stupendous
letter to the Pope for the Silver Jubilee of his pontificate. Thank you for the
clear definition, addressed to all, of the victory of Christianity today. It
is a victory won by the Pope in twenty-five years of controversy with the culture
founded on the French Revolution.
This victory was possible with the support given by you, dear Fr Giussani. It
is particularly in the last two years that you have brought us to understand
properly the challenge of Christianity in present-day events.
In the face of terrorism and the successive Anglo-American intervention in Iraq,
you have led us to distinguish with that “No to war, yes to America.” And
you did it by exalting the passion for freedom that exists in the United States,
where there is still the memory of the Christian teaching of the presence of
God among men, the only true motivation of freedom: that something good can happen
while I risk–amidst so much evil–with my freedom.
Successively, during our Annual Retreat, you led us to have Faith in the positivity
of reality. Only by acknowledging reality in all its factors, does reason not
close itself up in our hopeless pettiness; reality is the Lord’s work and
hope is founded on that.
Then, again, pushing for a radical conversion, you wrote us a letter to tell
us that Our Lady is the supreme example of the human being who lets himself be
loved by God, and who thus makes love amongst men possible, because desire becomes
able to love.
This is why now you tell us of the content of the victory of Christianity: “In
an age of defeats the Pope has spoken of Christianity as victory, over death,
over evil, over unhappiness, over the nothingness that looms in every human whisper.”
This is the identification of humanity with Christian faith.
I would go so far as to say that this identification generates a new civilization,
the civilization of love. You say it through the example of marriage, the locus
of the same love that the Pope has, “who lives only in love, in true love… conscious
of that approximation to the ideal that is there in every human moment.”
Thank you Fr Giussani. My conversion, worked by the Lord’s grace, is coming
out from the limit of the head bowed in penance and raising its eyes boldly in
the awareness of this victory.
In the long journey out of my Communist thought and of rebirth in this victorious
dimension of Christianity, I feel the urge now to get to work, with this awareness
of freedom motivated by the presence of Christ who teaches us love, in politics
and in public life.
This means that help for the weakest, responsible unity of the people, and good
government are not the exclusive reserve of liberalism or socialism, but are
characteristics of people who hold a public office.
Extremism in politics is nothing else but the fruit of hatred and of abstract
theories. The more politics of moderation is born of people strongly rooted in
an ideal tension inclined to the hope of good, the more it is true.
People, naturally, who understand the great power of Dante’s thought, as
you quote at the end of your letter: “A gentle spirit, full of love, keeps
telling the soul: Sigh.”