The Church must renew itself starting from the heart of the faithful -

The Church must renew itself starting from the heart of the faithful -


«The light that crosses time» (San Paolo) by Massimo Camisasca on the future of Catholicism

Bishop Massimo Camisasca, disciple and biographer of Don Giussani, historian of CL whose ambassador to the Vatican he was at the time of John Paul II, knows the Church like few others. And he knows Pope Francis well, ever since he was still archbishop of Buenos Aires. For a year now, Bergoglio has accepted his resignation from leading the Church of Reggio Emilia, as required by canon law. Because of this Camisasca began to collect the reflections that occupied fifty years of his life on the subject of reform in the Church. And he drew his new essay from it: The light that passes through time (San Paolo Editions).

To put it simply: how can the Christian community be faithful to the teachings of its founder, and at the same time express itself in new forms, contemporary to every age? "The founding event of Jesus - writes Camisasca - must be welcomed by men, put their freedom into action, give shape to every period of history". What always remains alive in the Church, permanently, and what can and must change? Some today think that nothing should change, that every mutation is a betrayal. I am a minority. Many, on the other hand, argue that everything, or almost everything, must change. For the former, fidelity is fixity, for the latter a revolution is necessary, because the incrustations of history have completely erased the original face of the Church. Does an original, pure face really exist, without quarrels, divisions, falsehoods, or rather in every age has the Church had to experience a purifying bath, a story of corrections willed by God himself? The author asks himself: «Is the Church made up of saints or sinners? Who sets the boundaries of her? Surprisingly we will discover - reading Camisasca's pages - that, already according to Saint Augustine, although baptism is the fundamental door for entering the Church, many who seem inside are outside and vice versa".

The community of Christ is a people of sinners who long for salvation. The author begins by talking to us about the last pontificates: of Pope John and his courageous indiction of the Council, of Paul VI and his dramatic ferrying of the Church, of John Paul II and his very long pontificate, of Pope Ratzinger and his resignation, of Pope Francis with his Evangeli Gaudium. But the central part of the work, the most interesting, concerns the experience of bishop and priest and the renewal of these ministries. The author's attention is directed to the laity, to families, to social professions: it is from there that he hopes for the rebirth of the life of the Church. "Loneliness - he writes - is the most emblematic aspect of life in big secularized cities, places where people often don't know each other, not even between people who live on the same floor of the apartment building, and where everything tends to be functionalized for utility of one's work, one's interests and one's own small horizons. For this reason, I think that the first task of the Church today is to establish homes. I like the image of the hearth because it embodies three fundamental values».

The first, according to the author, is an intellectual path. It is necessary to help people to get out of the various lies on which daily life is based, "the falsehood of a superficial life, without great ideals which, finally, is expressed in banality and cynicism". The second way is affective: helping people to discover what are the fundamental bonds of life, to recognize them and live them. The third is an active way: "Showing how attractive this truth and this good are for existence, corresponding to the deepest desires inscribed in the human heart, capable of generating true, constructive, fruitful relationships".

Camisasca's attention is not directed to the structures but to the people: the renewal of the Church as of any society cannot start from structural changes but from the heart of its members. For this reason, in addition to a reading of the present, this work seeks examples of change in past and recent history. Thus Benedict of Nursia, Gregory the Great, Bernard of Chiaravalle, Francis of Assisi, Carlo Borromeo, don Calabria, the young martyr Rolando Rivi, Catholic Action, Chiara Lubich and don Giussani meet. History does not thrive on repetitions, but it can help us understand what we are experiencing. Don Massimo is deeply convinced of the numerical reduction and importance of the Church today, especially in the Western arena. But he is not blocked by this observation. He is convinced that when Jesus spoke of the "salt of the earth" and of the "light of the world" he was not referring so much to a numerical datum as to a courageous awareness of his friends.

The tone of the book is serene, confident, realistic like the author that we have also been able to know from his previous publications. The tone is that of a reflection that pushes to live the present moment with constructive confidenceaware of the great forces fighting each other in history, without forgetting that the past century was called "the century of martyrs".

The author

Massimo Camisasca is the author of the book «The light that crosses time. Contribution to a reform in the Church» (San Paolo, pages 320, euro 22). The volume examines the complex challenges facing the community of believers in our time. Born in Milan in 1946, ordained a priest in 1975, Camisasca was bishop of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla from 2012 to 2022. An exponent of Communion and Liberation, a disciple of the founder Luigi Giussani, Camisasca is the author of numerous books, including a history of movement of CL in three volumes (San Paolo, 2001-2006) and the biography «Don Giussani» (San Paolo, 2009). His most recent book is entitled «Inhabit the earth and live with faith» (Piemme, 2020)

March 14, 2023 (change March 14, 2023 | 20:01)

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