Nytt

Pave Frans holdt to taler i Strasbourg i går, en i EU-parlamentet og en i Europarådet.

NTBs dekning fremhever det som man avhengig av ståsted vil kunne oppfatte som pavens humanisme eller godfjottethet i innvandringsspørsmålet, men dette var ikke nødvendigvis det mest interessante han sa – blant alle tingene som sies med seremoniell pliktskyldighet, eller man automatisk forventer fra det hold (betydningen av familiens enhet, av oppdragelse osv).

Fremfor EU-parlamentet mer enn antydet Den katolske kirkens overhode at det er noe som ikke fungerer med dagens EU, som mangler initiativ, ambisjon og retning. Tegnene er tydelige, som byråkratiet, korrupsjonen, de økende forskjellene og folks mistillit til institusjonene. Mange steder føler folk seg bortkomne, i særdeleshet i periferiene.

Ifølge pave Frans er grunnen at det individet som den europeiske kulturen skapte, har lukket seg inne i seg selv. Individualitet er blitt til individualisme – en ideologi –, som om mennesket var det paven med et fremmedord kaller en «en-cellet organisme» fremmedgjort fra sin sosiale kontekst, med sine relasjoner og plikter:

Today there is a tendency to claim ever broader individual rights – I am tempted to say individualistic; underlying this is a conception of the human person as detached from all social and anthropological contexts, as if the person were a “monad” (μονάς), increasingly unconcerned with other surrounding “monads”. The equally essential and complementary concept of duty no longer seems to be linked to such a concept of rights. As a result, the rights of the individual are upheld, without regard for the fact that each human being is part of a social context wherein his or her rights and duties are bound up with those of others and with the common good of society itself.

Veien videre er etter hans mening pre-politisk snarere enn politisk, nemlig å oppfatte mennesket først og fremst som et relasjonsvesen. Slik kunne en ta fatt på alvorlige problemer:

In my view, one of the most common diseases in Europe today is the loneliness typical of those who have no connection with others. This is especially true of the elderly, who are often abandoned to their fate, and also in the young who lack clear points of reference and opportunities for the future. It is also seen in the many poor who dwell in our cities and in the disorientation of immigrants who came here seeking a better future.

Hvordan ta fatt på den veien uten åndelig inspirasjon? Paven viser til et berømt maleri for å antyde at løsningen er å finne tilbake til sine røtter – hvilket også betyr å gjenoppdage Gud:

To answer this question, allow me to use an image. One of the most celebrated frescoes of Raphael is found in the Vatican and depicts the so-called “School of Athens”. Plato and Aristotle are in the centre. Plato’s finger is pointed upward, to the world of ideas, to the sky, to heaven as we might say. Aristotle holds his hand out before him, towards the viewer, towards the world, concrete reality. This strikes me as a very apt image of Europe and her history, made up of the constant interplay between heaven and earth, where the sky suggests that openness to the transcendent – to God – which has always distinguished the peoples of Europe, while the earth represents Europe’s practical and concrete ability to confront situations and problems.

The future of Europe depends on the recovery of the vital connection between these two elements. A Europe which is no longer open to the transcendent dimension of life is a Europe which risks slowly losing its own soul and that “humanistic spirit” which it still loves and defends.

Dette er intet mindre enn kontinentets identitet, og uten en slik går det en ille:

An anonymous second-century author wrote that “Christians are to the world what the soul is to the body”. The function of the soul is to support the body, to be its conscience and its historical memory. A two-thousand-year-old history links Europe and Christianity. It is a history not free of conflicts and errors, and sins, but one constantly driven by the desire to work for the good of all. We see this in the beauty of our cities, and even more in the beauty of the many works of charity and constructive human cooperation throughout this continent. This history, in large part, must still be written. It is our present and our future. It is our identity.