“An anonymous author of the II century wrote that Christians represent to the world what soul is to the body. The task of the soul is that of supporting the body, to be its conscience and historical memory”. The passage cited above is contained in the discourse held by the Holy Father in Strasbourg in front of the European Parliament, on November 25, 2014. Pope Francis’ reference, years later continues to disarm and enlighten with its topicality. Because it is precisely what the Vatican is doing in this historical phase, central again to the political debates in our homes, and not only. Not as an object, but as a thinking subject.
From immigration to civil unions, from economic choices to ethical issues, there is no question in which the Holy See has not made its return as an actor in a leading role, gaining back a position that even Christian Democracy knew not how to interpret. Beyond current polemics, it is rather evident that the lack of conscience shown by the Old Continent in the choices it makes, has imposed to the Vatican a revision in evaluations made during the recent years.
This change of direction, respecting the principle due to which every action corresponds to an equal and opposite reaction, has led Catholics committed to politics to deal with the Holy See’s supervision. And if in the world this opposition is measured on levels that are particularly high and sensitive, that look to the future with concrete results as in the case of Cuba and Iran, at home competition is somewhat less challenging. And this has certainly happened not because of a choice of the Catholic world, but rather due to the inability of the political class to soar. In the final analysis, the rediscovered centrality of the Vatican in the internal debate represents a sort of cultural elevator, able to carry the confrontation between the parties and an upper floor, able to take distance from the typical cheerful chatter made of jokes and quips.
Let us consider the case of immigration which has become the linchpin of the political debates. “Migrants and Refugees challenge us. The response of the Gospel of mercy”, is the topic chosen by Pope Francis for the 102th World Day of Migrants and Refugees which will be celebrated on January 17, 2016. A high and noble title, that flies far above the jokes of a certain kind of politics.
Conscience side by side with gratitude, soul that cooperates with the body. By choosing this topic, stresses the Vatican, “we want to expose the dramatic situation of many men and women who are forced to abandon their homeland. We must not forget, for example, the present-day tragedies at sea whose victims are migrants. In front of the obvious risk that this phenomenon may be forgotten, the Holy Father presents the migrants’ and refugees’ drama as a reality that should interpellate us “. This is not a pitch invasion, but a delimitation of the perimeter. It might be a chance, but a long applause of the audience stressed the reading of the messages given by Pope Francis and by the president of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella who opened the 36th edition of the Cl Meeting in Rimini. Soul and body under the same roof….