Don Fabio Rosini is a priest whose mission in the middle of young people is fervent. They are the reference point of his action in Christ, the beginning and the end of all his daily efforts. He is a successful biblical scholar who operates in the Diocese of Rome. Don Rosini is very well known for having created a catechist project concerning the Ten Commandments, which spread like wildfire throughout Italy. He is director of the Service for Vocations of the Diocese of Rome; since the beginning, i.e. 1993, the primary purpose of these meetings dedicated to the Ten Commandments has been to make young people familiar with the face of Jesus, help them discern the will of God, and allow them to learn to take its best part, understood as vocation. In Terris met him in Rome and asked him a few questions about the present and the future, the need to give reference points and the need to build a more and more solid Church.
What is your opinion about the world of young people today?
“It is a complex question. We might say that there are no young people today because they live in a state of total confusion. It is difficult for them to survive in such an ambiguous, little protective, and daunting world. Young people are currently being used as a source of income by many media systems of entertainment and all sorts of disgusting things they make them do. Basically, nobody takes care of them, nor of their formation, help, acceptance, and comprehension. Thinking about vocations, the problem is not lack of fish, but lack of water itself. There is no place where to take seriously the lives of young men and women of this world. Where to give them dignity, substance, give them the right to beauty”.
From Pope Benedict XVI on, the word relativism has been taking on a heavier signification. Is this also a ‘malady’ of young people? Do they seem not to have any reference points anymore because everything is relative?
“We are dealing with a society which is paying the price of an authority collapse, which has been under attack in European culture for the last three hundred years; today we are witnessing its total crumbling. At present, the authoritative role is odious and at the same time nobody exercises it. These poor young men grow up without fathers. Our society has no comforting figures who would offer protection, that is fathers. If we were to make a comparison with mathematics, in a system of Cartesian axes, between abscissas and ordinates we need a zero. Here, we do not know where it is. Everything is equal, everything is the same… Live or die, make beautiful or ugly things… whatever as long as you exist”.
How can we stop this?
“By getting awareness of the fact that all this is not actually true. The fact that young people are superficial is an absurdity and a lie. They have a sensational inner beauty, they only need a chance. They want to live, but we should grant them an opportunity to express themselves, give them credit. One grows helped through confidence. Whereas what has happened with the dissolution of authority is that they lost the confidence of a father, a teacher, a guide who would say ”you can make it”. Someone who would teach them to come up with something beautiful. If you do this for young people, they fly…”
The Church is going through a particular moment. It is a nice one because of the Jubilee which brings Mercy into the world, but also a bad one because of the scandals and the attacks it suffers. What do you think about this period and about the effects it may have on the vocational path?
“If by attack we mean the one the Church is suffering from the outside, there are no problems; we always need such attacks, they makes us grow, force us to become a bit more essential and authentic. This clerical hedonism is a huge waste of time and, unfortunately, it is very common; if criticism comes from the outside, it may be healthy. An attack from the outside is not scary: the lands of persecution have always been lands of saints.
It is when attacks come from within that the problem becomes dangerous. Inside the Church, people often die from ‘friendly fires’. And we have seen this lately, in the shape of criticism against the Holy Father. But all in all, it is not a bad thing that those things have come out; we have much ballast that needs to shook off. There is a lot of work to do, and thank God, this is Francis’s spirit”.
What do your young people say in the face of all these controversies?
“Conversion is an experience one makes in first person singular. Those who are superficial complain, those who have begun to walk, tell themselves: something needs to be done”.
Starting from a personal relationship with God…
“Without doubt. Nothing is done out of an ideology, an abstraction; either there is a personal impact with Good and with the love of God, or things appear as a mere ‘facade’, which ends up crumbling in daily life. Only when you meet with the mercy of God an authentic transformation can happen”.