Despre lume și despre Europa. O perspectivă filosofică

Despre lume și despre Europa. O perspectivă filosofică

Despre lume și despre Europa. O perspectivă filosofică

Colecții: Cărți-Eveniment



  • An apariție: 2018
  • ISBN 978‐606‐797‐254‐2
  • Format: 13x20cm
  • Pagini: 226

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Traducere liberă, note și postfață de Liviu-Petru Zăpârțan

Imagine coperta I: Papa Francisc (www.santabanta.com)


Europa regăseşte speranţa atunci când se deschide spre viitor. Atunci când se deschide spre tineri, oferindu-le serioase perspective de educaţie, posibilităţi reale de inserare în lumea muncii. Atunci când investeşte în familie, care este prima şi fundamentala celulă a societăţii. Atunci când respectă conştiinţa şi idealurile cetăţenilor. Atunci când garantează posibilitatea de a avea copii, fără teama că nu vor putea fi întreţinuţi. Atunci când apără viaţa în întreaga ei sacralitate. (Papa Francisc)

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Am dorit să oferim, într-o traducere liberă în limba română, aceste texte ale Papei Francisc selectate după o logică simplă, aceea de a-l cunoaște pe Bergoglio ca un gânditor profund, îndreptat cu acuitate spre problemele lumii și ale Europei, cu o foarte clară armătură conceptuală pe care o folosește cu rigoare.
De-a lungul timpului, am avut însumi prilejul de-a scrie despre spiritul european, despre forța și perenitatea lui. Am regăsit în paginile Papei Francisc confirmarea multor idei despre capacitatea Europei de a ieși din încercările istoriei pe calea cea bună, a progresului.
Nădăjduiesc că cititorii vor găsi și ei, la rândul lor, un punct de sprijin sufletesc în gândirea Papei Francisc. (Liviu-Petru Zăpârțan)

About Europe and the world. A Philosophical Perspective


Translating into Romanian Pope’s Francis reflections is a real act of courage. The rigour of a philosophy, circular in all its articulations, is expressed in a language of refined plasticity and, at the same time, of a suggestiveness rich in implications. Pope’s Francis philosophy reunites both the sublimation in an ideatic expression of life experience, lived at the highest tension, and the references to the positions of some great thinkers, perfectly assimilated to an accentuated structure of personality and transformed in the partners of dialogue over space and time.
Bergoglio, the thinker, is, in fact, similar to “villager Gheorghe” of the Romanians, the village’s elder from the old citadels. One to whom the struggles of the world around can no longer affect his judgements because he elaborated them while he was grinding the wheat of life: understanding what the sunrise means (the birth of life, the joy to live, the pleasure of an always inquisitive intellectual life), the ripeness of a laboured day, when the fortune becomes the cornerstone for the heirs, and the silence of the night gives place to reflection, to translating into ideas the things that represented the concrete experience. Bergoglio has in his thinking a Parmenides’ benchmark in the search for the identity of his thought and an Aristotelian sense of the truth. I don’t believe that for him there is a higher authority than the one deduced from the definition given to the truth by the Stagirite: to say that it is what it is and that it is not what it is not.
I don’t see Bergoglio than promoting this position, in spite of all the risks of labelling and contesting, even though the application of this precept is facing a series of difficulties regarding the issue of the human condition. From what perspective do we obtain a truth about the human condition, materialized in the most various forms, dependent on the way in which people, in various periods of time and especially in different places on earth, have understood and understand to respond to the same permanent issues of life: food, housing, clothing, spiritual development, procreation? It’s tough to answer the question: why people, as human beings, had and still have so different solutions for the same life concerns, in history and terrestrial setting? Because it is a simple acknowledgement of the fact that some communities are dying of hunger or thirst, while others are matching the colours of the food on the plate in a refined manner. It is clear that today some communities live in real palaces while others are searching for improvised shelters; some communities are using plant leaves for clothing and others are competing in presenting the parades of expensive fashion. For hundreds of millions of people the letters of the alphabet and the digits are mysteries, unknown, while for others the computer is an indispensable instrument; for some, life is the most precious asset while for others life is a relative aspect, lived outside values, mocked by anti-humanist behaviours.
a. Pope Francis descends from these general acknowledgements to proceed to the lecture of the today’s defiance of the world that threaten the accomplishment of the man as a human being. His perspective is given by anthropology in which the centrality of the human being does not mean its hypostasis because it does not support its ahistorical character nor the effort to search for “a human being itself”. For him, man is a real human being, born from a man and a woman, who undergoes through a biological development, necessarily related to his fellows, to a particular community which is at a specific stage of its historical and especially cultural development. The community of people who are relating through language, customs, common origin, receives the denomination of people. The beauty of the human condition lies in the multitude of peoples that answer, each in its formulas, to the significant issues of life, contributing to the enrichment of the human condition.
Therefore for Pope Francis relationships between people, between communities cannot be but peaceful, of exchanging material and spiritual values, of permanent negotiation, of universal search for the best solutions for the struggles that permanently show up. These relational processes lead to lasting progress of humanity which, as a whole, grow its welfare, improved its education, and multiplied its means of communication. We live a real change of Era due to the leaps “in quality, quantity, rapidity and accumulation” from sciences and technologies, with applicability that revolutionises the daily condition of many people.
But this whole progress is accomplished on the framework of contradictions and defiance, of threats to the human condition itself which give birth to the concern for the philosophical issue of saving the man as a human being. To the watchful eye of Pope Francis, it does not escape the fact that the world’s economy produces not only goods in a higher and higher quantity and more and more diversified in quality, but also the fact that social exclusion and disparities kill. An economy in which “the strong eats the weak, in which the human being is an asset, which is thrown away after being used, generates a culture of the desert in which the ones without a place are thrown away not at the periphery but outside the society”[1].
Production is made in the name of merchandise and consumption idolatry, measured in money, generating a fluid economy. Instead of the common good, along with the anaesthesia of man’s sense of the value, the fight for the money installs, and through it develops the hidden or opened battle for power. Hence the conclusion that in the interhuman relationships and also in the ones between societies, “the appétit for power and fortune does not know any limits”.
We live under the domination of money and therefore of the refusal of an ethic which to promote a “minima moralia”. Hence the capacity of the ones in charge of the money to control the life of the people, to manipulate them and therefore to degrade their human condition.
The repositioning of economy and finances on an ethical basis would mean that money serve and not govern the human condition. The severe consequence of these evolutions is the fact that the social layer is festering (the one that makes man what he is, meaning a social being, related to his fellows), marked by conflicts and violence.
Towards them neither repression, nor force, or the attempts to be good through manipulation transform man into a docile, trained being. The dissolution of the social layer cannot suppress the thirst for freedom, cannot extinguish the need for an inner life. Here occurs the role of culture, of moral, of education because they highlight the permanent authentic values, the viability of the identity roots. Through culture, man rediscovers himself, asserts himself as a creator and, at the same time, as a beneficiary of culture. There is nothing more important for the value of man than interculturality, through which the general‑human values can be found in the national cultures that offer one another what they have more meaningful.
It’s true the fact that in the contemporary world we assist to the diffusion of some manifestations and production only called cultural because, in fact, it is about the distribution of some nonvalues and even anti-values, that ugly up the human being through the corruption of the authentic axiological senses. A sterile pessimism, a fall in subjectivism, particularism and positivism, a refusal of the uplifting transcendent transforms some people into sad, gloomy, depressive figures. There is installing spiritual desertification, an immanentism that brings along on the one hand isolation, alienation, and on the other hand the fake elitism, the apparent and miming, a mundanity supported by the vanity to parade the earnings, wealth and the power over others. Without invoking Th. Hobbes, the Pope, demands the establishment of peace in these wars which unravel the international social layer.
Besides, this social layer must be seen as accomplishing itself at the level of the family, of the relationships from the fascinating world of the cities, of the relationships between generations, of the ones between peoples and nations. It is a connection at a horizontal level, facilitated by the processes of globalisation and one at a vertical scale, of the exchanges between the peoples who have their own identities, political structures and so, who are supported by the States.
The social layer has consistency when it stands under the sign of the common good, of the accomplishment of the social peace. In all Pope Francis’s interventions over these years, since he is the head of the Catholic Church, the theme of peace was a leitmotif of the different references to the problems of the contemporary world.
On the occasion of receiving the diplomatic mission accredited to the Holy See, at the beginning of 2017, Pope Francis showed that for many parts of the world there were long periods of peace, but for other millions of people peace is a mirage clouded by a homicidal foil, by a blind terrorism, by an absurd hate, sign of a tremendous spiritual mess, of an existential refusal of the other.
Peace is the result of a reductionist vision about the man, of the corruption of the image about his social condition and especially of the corruption of his relationships with his fellows. Pope Francis has an entirely particular picture of what a people is when it is composed of honest citizens for whom participating in the business of the City is a moral duty that is always building itself along with the new generations, in order to accomplish, in a joint project, the union and harmonization of the differences.
Bergoglio opposes an economy of social exclusion and disparities because such an economy kills. The law of the strongest makes so that great human masses to be excluded, to transform into “waste”. It is no longer about the exploitation and oppression, because, according to him, a new phenomenon appeared: the exclusion from the social appurtenance. In front of it there come out the theories for which the free market brings equity and social inclusion, which proves to be completely false. The globalisation of indifference and a culture of welfare anaesthetises the responsibility for millions of fate doomed. Not everything is for sale and buying, just like not everything can be measured in money.
From this assessment also results in Pope’s opposition to the social disparities that give birth to violence. Only a society of equal opportunities – and this is valid both for the inside of the people and at the level of the international community – is capable of promoting the security of men. In front of the discontent generated by the severe social disparities, which give birth to profound tensions, there is no repression force capable of restoring the social balance.
A distinct field of Pope’s reflexions refers to culture, as a materialisation of a particular spirituality and as a whole of creations that identify a human community. Unfortunately, according to him, contemporary culture is marked by a series of “diseases” that prevent its assertion as a field of man’s authentic dimension.
Subjectivism, appearance, ways of behaviour that are alien to the way of being of a people, manipulation, alienation, antihumanism, and fundamentalisms prevent an exchange of authentic values and ignore good traditions.
The vast urban agglomerations offer a particular case of sources of crisis. The tendency of urbanisation and their growth cannot be stopped. For Bergoglio, who lived in an urban giant called Buenos Aires, the city is “a human geography that generates an unprecedented culture, with new life orientations, with innovative features, with a multicultural environment, with a feature connective to new human sectors, with real “invisible cities”, but it is also the place for drug trafficking, of abuses against minors, corruption and criminality’’.
All these determine Pope Francis consider that the role of the Church must grow in preaching the Gospel, in asserting Its servants as missionary agents who must convey Christian values as landmarks of the human life that gives hope.
Through faith, we can overpass the selfish depression, the disengagement in social life, the lack of the feeling of solidarity, the sterile pessimism born out of the confrontation of the Spirit with the phenomena of spiritual desertification. Bergoglio urges us to be Amphora‑persons to give others to drink: “to close yourself up means to taste the bitter venom of immanence and in any selfish choice that we make humanity will be one step below”.
The force of Christianity stands in the message of overcoming selfishness and evil through humanity, through generosity, through solidarity and the desire for peace. Many people marked by atheism and agnosticism, by anti-Christianity don’t even know the message of the Gospel. Hence a spiritual mundanity that consists of displaying power and wealth, within the immanence of self-interests, in the absence of charity. But the most severe problem of today’s world is the war between us. We live in a period of conflicts due to the thirst for power, prestige, pleasure and economic security. Hence the Pauline exhortation launched by Pope Francis: “Do not let yourself defeated by evil, be the defeater of evil through good”.
b. These aspects of social ontology are naturally complementing with a determination of the theoretical instruments which he uses to approach reality. Pope Francis has intellectual instrumentation that he elaborated based on the meeting between the mastering of the philosophical concept and the reporting to the surrounding world is convinced that the general vision must comprise real life, must understand it, in what F. Braudel called “long-term”. In fact, Bergoglio suggests a philosophy for the real life, for the real human being, who lives between reality and desire, between a fact and a craving, between misery and spiritual nobility. He does not desire a philosophy of a maximum abstraction, but one that to relate to the real life of people, in other words, he wants a social philosophy enrolled in a philosophy of history.
This is because Bergoglio is – naturally – a theologian that does philosophy, so he is a man convinced that the cosmic project belongs to the Divinity and that human involvement cannot be accomplished except through this project. Except unlike the traditional philosophical thinking of the Church, that decisively integrated man into the divine plan, Bergoglio noted the existence of some detachment spaces of man, of his distancing from a theological determinism: atheists, agnostics, unfaithful, followers of some unchristian beliefs. It is an expression of the fact that man has his way of understanding freedom that, even though it seems to be separated from the divine project, in fact, it is a part of it. Explaining this to man, through evangelisation, means accomplishing a work of spiritual salvation, of restoring him on a path that leads to achieving the abundance of the human existence.
It is a historical process that demands a permanent educative work which began with each new generation and with each people. The real spatiality of these stable processes through which man is getting close to God makes so that time is superior to space. It is not about an abstract metaphysics but a reflection on the real human condition, in those cases where the ferocious intent to occupy and dominate areas is obstructing man’s capacity to overcome the perishable to face Eternity. Hence, Bergoglio notes that time is superior to space.
The second paradigmatic thesis is expressed within the idea that unity prevails over the conflict. Its existence is unmistakable, and it was asserted in the history of philosophy with different accents up to the position for which the entire history is the manifestation of the fight between classes that cannot be solved but through a revolution.
Pope Francis adopts a much broader vision of conflict because he takes into consideration a universalist perspective on man: if Christ unified in Himself all the contradictions, the dignity of man manifests through a solidarity with his fellows, the one that gives unity, and especially peace, to the social whole, exceeding in spirit the oppositions.
Therefore the contradiction must be rationally assumed, at all the levels of the existence: from our interior “always threatened by the dialectic dispersion, with the hearts broken in thousands of pieces”, to all the diversities that social life develops inside the people and then in the relationships between them.
Once recognised, contradiction searches for the formulas of settlement in a new unity, through negotiation, the only way of reconciliation. The idea is all the more significant as it concerns the relationships between peoples, between nations and nationalities that engage a specificity expressed in their systems of values. The whole represented by humanity does no longer build through a usual negotiation but the establishment of a “cultural pact”, through a conversion of the hearts which places the idea of overcoming the contradictions between people within the depths of the social construction. Negotiation belongs only to man[2].
According to Pope’s Francis third thesis, the reality is more important than the idea, an aspect that expresses a priority of the ontic given towards its reflection in the minds of the people. In fact, it is about an “importance” given to reality, which means that, including the life of the people, as part of it, is more important than the spiritual product. The history of philosophy debated this issue largely. As we know, for Plato the greatness of a man is given by his capacity to elaborate ideas, to have a spiritual life, which would result into an axiological priority of the idea because it is the one that leads the people. Within the ideatic space accumulate both science and consciousness, meaning the field of valuing and projection that transforms reality. In response, Aristotle considered that reality – the field of the physis ‑ is primordial even though the form gives the objects from reality a certain identity. Christian philosophy emphasised over the centuries one or the other of its Antic roots. One can believe that Augustianism assumed the Platonic network of ideas, but along with Thomas Aquinas, the Aristotelianism won a place of first order. To this day, Thomism proves its importance in the totality of the Christian doctrine, essentially in the conception about society proposed by Neo‑Thomism[3]. Through this evolution the postulation of the role of reason, of the idea connected to reality, becomes possible. A realm of the idea that separates from reality generates – according to the Pope – “the angelic pluralisms, the totalitarianism of the relativisms, the declarative nominalisms, the ahistorical fundamentalisms, the ethics without goodness, the intellectualisms without wisdom”[4].
To the extent that the idea is a function of perception, of wisdom and of understanding the evolution of reality (especially of the social one), it must be true, meaning it must be engaged in reality.
The profound sense of the Gospel translates into the fact that reality is the incarnation of the Word, so the historical evolution of existence demands to express right ideas and values to keep up its moral and just substance.
For the political man, the priority of the relationship is fundamental because thus he proposes projects and instruments of imaginative involvement, experiments cannot be performed on the social reality because then human dignity would be violated. Fake is placed instead of the authentic, cosmetics replaces gymnastics and “the setting up in the realm of the pure idea” reduces the political action to simple rhetoric.
A last paradigmatic element expresses the idea that “the whole is superior to the part” which means a new relapse to the philosophy of the Stagirite but from a perspective that searches for the understanding of the real condition of the contemporary man. He lives in a tangibility, in a reality that forces him to walk down to earth, to assume a certain identity, given by the historical roots, by his own culture, by the projects in which he believes but, at the same time, he is related to his fellows; the particularity of this day and age is given by the fact that these ties are no longer local, traditional, but tend to be global, worldwide. Due to some general economic, financial, communicational, social flows, people enter into mutual relationships regardless of the geographical distances. Pope’s Francis idea is that through globalisation each man and people, as a part of humanity, contribute to the creation of a universe of values, of an axiological heritage of humanity, the meaning of a human organic whole, because it is more than a sum of particularism. We have here the expression of the humanism of substance because it sees the man not as an abstraction, as a hierarchical “what”, but in his detail in which universality lies. Horizontally people are seen as beings with multilevel determined particularities, in mutual relationships that are richer and more extended, and vertically they appear as contributors to the accomplishment of an integrating spirituality, of a universal culture that – naturally according to Bergoglio – puts the values of the Christian fate expressed by the Gospel, at its centre.
In fact, Pope Francis proposes a project of the human society in which each part enjoys the respect of all the others, just like the polyhedron that can generate a state of peace, as the supreme ideal. The instrument through which people can reach this state is social dialogue, is a negotiation, as a form of human relationship which, to the extent that it is rational and aware, is exclusively human because it cannot be found at other forms of the living. Dialogue is a form of meeting, of searching for the consensus, for a common path on which people could walk together, with all the elements that particularise them. It is not a dialogue between elites because it does not search for a project of “some” for others but it is profoundly interiorized, within the collective feelings of a people.
c. The dialogue substantializes in the political project, where a society raises the issue of its general organisation and leadership, as a society whose objective is the accomplishment of the common Good for all the members of the City. Through this, it is strongly reaffirmed the classical ideal of Antiquity of democratic political life, founded on the equality between citizens and the joint search, through dialogue and negotiation, for the path on which society could walk. The capacity to release the path of the City is dependent on its way of being, on its collective identity, on the way in which it understands to practically materialise the high values of the human existence, to assert human dignity for all.
It is a leitmotif of Bergoglio’s thinking that he reasserts in the most various problematic contexts when he believes that the dialogue and negotiation engage as partners, both rich and poor, academics and illiterate, different races and classes, various peoples and nations.
For Pope Francis, dialogue must be supported in different layouts of human spirituality. In the first place, he places the one between reason and faith, respectively between science and religion. The belief in reason and science gives the originality of his position as instruments of knowing the natural law in which is stated the centrality of the human being that must be known in all its forms of existence.
Science is granted a high status, besides philosophy, of knowledge supplier and formative of spirituality, of culture, which cannot be reduced to scientism and positivism because science and technology are beautiful products of the human creativity. In the encyclical “Laudato si” Pope Francis writes that well-oriented technoscience can produce precious things to improve the quality of people’s lives and also to raise them from the state of immersion in material, towards spirituality, towards beauty. The artefacts’ need for grace, translates the desire for human plenitude. But we cannot ignore the fact that scientific discoveries (nuclear energy, biotechnology, informatics, etc.) can enrich man but if they are used with destructive purposes, they can ruin him, as it can be seen from the use of atomic power. Technological paradigm is homogenous and universal because the power of technology is seen as a possibility to possess, to dominate and transform things from the surrounding environment. When associated with political and economic power, technocracy suppresses the decision-making capacity of the societies, authentic freedom and the space of alternativity. Life abandoned to the technique leads to the degradation of the environment, to animosities, to the loss of the sense of life and of the society.
The most severe effect of the attempt to entirely rationalise the life of the people is – for Bergoglio – the loss of the ascent to the transcendent, of the longing for the totality, which is specific to man, brought by faith, the drifting towards the mystery that overcomes nature and human intelligence[5].
The church does not pretend to stop the permanent development of sciences because they express “the enormous potential” that God gave to the human spirit.
When many scientists assert its atheism, they overstep their horizon and advance on an ideological field that stops the sincere dialogue between science and faith.
A form of dialogue that Pope Francis lately promoted refers to ecumenism, as it manifested in his presence in the Anglican Church and the Reformed Church. His gesture impressed on the occasion of celebrating 500 years from Luther’s reform in 2017, but also on the occasion of the meetings with the Orthodox or Muslim religious leaders. The ecumenical dialogue is seen as a path crossed together by all those who believe that peace reflects in the image of the unique God. This ecumenical dialogue is not pure diplomacy, but it is the expression of the desire to learn from one another, to see what the Holy Spirit has disseminated in the souls of the others.
On a more narrow layout, the Pope pays attention to the relationships with Judaism, with which the Catholic Church shares a part of the Scripture, and the people of the Alliance and a part of its faith represent a “holy root” of their own identity, which means a rich complementarity in approaching the Word, in promoting peace, and the high ethical values. From this perspective, Pope Francis approaches the theme of the interreligious dialogue. Pope Francis considers that it has a few favourable premises: the need to promote peace into the world, the need to determine some criteria for the support of the respect for the human life, the discovery of the ways through which to value human person, the assertion of justice as a criterion of the exchanges between communities, the exploration of the components of a dialogue ethic, of the mutual sharing of the experiences through which one could reach the truth.
It is a dialogue in which there must be taken into consideration the fundamental differences of the mutual convictions that give identity to each of them. Neither the avoidance of the real problems, nor the conciliator syncretism that wants to reconcile values that it doesn’t master, nor the double-faced but useless diplomacy can draw the attention from the fact that the real differences between Christians and non-Christians cannot be formally exceeded. In exchange, in the name of the dialogue, there can be born a rapprochement between people to overcome poverty, fundamentalism, intolerance, violence, environmental destruction, the degradation of the human being, releasing “practical wisdom”. On its behalf, we can find in the nonbelievers with their life experience as a source of strengthening our convictions.
We must not forget even for a moment that religious freedom is a fundamental human right that generates a “healthy pluralism”, that contributes to a mutual opening of religions, that prevents “their privatisation”, and through this, it stops their shutting into their shell. At the same time, interreligious dialogue must not ignore the specificity of Christianity, must not associate it with the slippages of some men of the Church, but it must recognise the fact that explicit religious texts have undeniable universality valences.
d. These elements which define Pope’s Francis philosophy are u1sed for debating some themes of reflection concerning the European Union and our continent, as a whole, with all the restlessnesses that it knows and especially with the perspectives that it has.
Pope Francis referred to these subjects on various occasions related to his presence in front of the representatives of the European institutions. Part of the papal texts was grouped into a work “Sognare l’Europa” cared for by Lucio Caracciolo and Andrea Riccardi who accompany the anthology with two studies, as interpretations of Bergoglio’s philosophy. According to them, this marks the triple position of the Pope: Argentinean, so away from Europe, son of an Italian immigrant and head of the universal Church. According to L. Caracciolo, it can be stated that Bergoglio’s glance on Europe is similar to the one of Magellan: Europe, as a centre, of culture and civilisation, about the rest of the world which is the periphery. But, Pope Francis has a wider glance on Europe, supported by the idea that any part of the world is a centre for the ones who inhabit it, to which the rest of the world relates to, as a periphery. Favouring the idea that the “periphery” is a source of originality, of historical dynamism, Bergoglio glances at Europe as at a new periphery of the world, so as for at a centre of creativity that has the advantage of having offered to humanity religious landmarks over the history, models of culture and civilisation. If it became “periphery” is because Europe spiritually got old, lost its fertility and vivacity, the sense of community and especially of family, let itself dominated by economism, devourer of space and ignorant of what time means. Pope’s project for Europe implies a spiritual rebirth of the “grandmother” Europe, which to stand for the passion for the transcendence, the cultivation of human plenitude, of the sense of community, family life, for the promotion of science and art, of the human values and of faith, facing the sky because it is a cultivator of high ideals. The founding fathers of European construction were animated by faith, by the high idea that politics must relate to the earthly life of some people who desire to live in peace, led by superior values in which solidarity to be the instrument of prosperity.
Europe’s Christian root is lavender for feet, is its accompanying memory and it must not be despised. It’s only right that there is the tendency to ignore it, as there is the tendency to outbid the idea of the need itself for the European Union. A triumphalist vision considers that this need it’s self-imposing and, as a consequence, its limits of time, space and content of integration must not be specified. Bergoglio does not propose Europe a real solution in the sense that he defines an institutional form of organisation. As Lucio Caracciolo well observes, “starting from the idea of Time prevalence over Space, the Pope offers a spiritual direction under special aeternitatis”[6]. It does not mean rebirths and recoveries of projects that belong to other times, but the rediscovery of spirituality which transformed our continent into a centre of creation inspiring for the entire world. This confirms Paul Valéry’s idea according to which Europe’s spirituality is characterising through the mixture between the most intense faculty of emission and the most powerful faculty of reception.
The Pope relaunches the idea that Europe is an actor of the global scene, a role that it must assume “defeating its fatigue”, rejuvenating through the rediscovery of the roots that make it “a process generating mother”.
For Pope Francis, Europe must not be a fortress, attached to the idea of space and, in this respect, European construction is destined to unite the Europeans to make them capable of the opening towards the world. The concept of enclaving Europe and within it some more restricted Visegrád formulas is far from its spirit.
What concerns Pope Francis when he refers to Europe is the fact that it is timorous when it comes to launching into the global relationships because it lost – as Edmund Husserl writes, “the immanent philosophical idea in history”, which means the assertion of identity beyond the immediate and the proximity.
The European countries are facing a crisis, and the states from the East of the continent are in search of a place in Europe, a much more important objective than the one of having an extra‑European projection. Europe leaves the impression that it no longer wants to communicate with the world, surrendering to “the globalisation of indifference”. Hence the difference between the European perspective on the issues of the contemporary world, marked by the effort of bureaucratic identification, and the one of Vatican City, through its universalist nature, opened towards the international field.
The Pope believes that humanity needs Europe, its creative calling, to which its history obliges it. Starting from it, from the portrayed “memory”, Europe must accomplish a “transfusion” of the memory which to prevent it to repeat the errors of the past and also to value the capacity to conserve the earnings of the different eras, nations, styles and visions. The clearest example is Rome, where are synthesised all the great historical eras. It is not about a history comprised of museums but about a lived history, as a profound lecture of what the European spirit has built. Or, the degrading of the European values can be seen in a series of facts that express the syndrome of the historical uprooting: the abandonment of the poor and old, the crisis of the peripheries, terrorism, human alienation, decreasing of the birth rate, the destructuring of the idea of family.
The worst phenomenon is the isolation of man, who does no longer have relations with his fellows, does no longer have a dialogue, does no longer “meet with the others”to join them.
The ones who demand walls around Europe, and even inside it, fences of barbed wire don’t have a great deal in common with that “content” of the European life given by men and solidarity. Hence the raised tone of the Pope towards the persons without memory, who have succumbed to emotions, populism and radicalism.
History proves the fact that those peoples had a role in building and developing economy and culture that were united in a project, integrated and reconciled in supporting a specific path in history. It is true that often this was the result of some painful conflicts, of some religious and civil wars, but today only dialogue and negotiation can be the instruments for the search of such a typically human path.
In the lineage of ideas with the Christian philosophy of the last decades, the Pope believes that Europe is facing, as an objective, the accomplishment of new European humanism. It consists of the assertion of the great values of humanism, in the new life frameworks of nowadays.
To make his idea expressive, the Pope resorts to comparing European construction with a tree whose body is solid should it have strong roots, and which can support the crown with branches and leaves, with flowers or with fruits. Without the roots it is drying out, without the body it cannot sustain its identity, and without the crown, it does not breathe, and it does not aspire to the sky.
For Pope Francis, Europe did not by far conclude its historical role. Its reassertion, however, demands memory, courage and a human utopia that to value its energy and potentiality. In his utopia Bergoglio requires that the European dream, about which J. Rifkin wrote, engages the most various social groups – religious, laic, political, social and economical in the cultural, educative, philosophical and religious field ‑ into a humanist construction site[7].
To this project, the Church desires to participate too, in the name of a living Christianity and of a utopia. Jorge Bergoglio wrote in 1913 that “utopias are the fruits of imagination, the projection towards the future of a constellation of desires and aspirations”. Utopia takes its force from the unhappiness of the actual reality and the uncontrollable conviction that another world is possible too, which confers it the mobilising strength[8].
Except while in the old philosophy utopia signified a project without a precise accomplishment place, in Bergoglio’s philosophy utopia refers to this ground and on it to this Europe: careful with the children and attentive with the poor, old, sick and the disinherited of the fate, where the migrants are not delinquents, where the young people are breathing the fresh air of honesty, where culture flourishes, where marriage and the birth of children are a responsibility and a joy, not a burden. And Bergoglio concludes with this incredible message: “I dream of a Europe about which it cannot be said that its last duty to human rights was its last utopia”.
Pope Francis has a nuanced opinion concerning the relationships between the European countries that he puts under the sign of multipolarity in the sense that each nation is seen in its identity and sovereignty. The figure that would represent it is the polyhedron and not the sphere because here each point is equidistant towards a centre while the European peoples accomplish original globalisation through the fact that each of them desires to follow its path, besides the others, based on the great values of the European spirit.
In this respect, the Pope talks about the dimension of the European cross-cutting, as an experience of these valuesrespect and protection of the human life, environmental protection, promotion of the social market economy, respect for the human rights – at the level of the real life of the peoples.

* * *

We desired to offer, in a free translation in Romanian, these texts of Pope Francis selected according to pure logic, of knowing Bergoglio as a profound thinker, accurately directed towards the issues of the world and of Europe, with a very clear conceptual armature that he rigorously uses.
Over the time I had the opportunity to write about the European spirit, about its force and endurance. I found in Pope’s Francis pages the confirmation of many ideas about the capacity of Europe to overcome the tastings of history on the right path, the one of the progress[9].
I hope that the readers will also find, in turn, spiritual support in Pope’s Francis thinking.

(Translated by dr. Diana Ancheș)


[1] Papa Francesco, Evangelii gaudium, Typo. Vaticana, f.a., p. 48.

[2] Liviu‑Petru Zăpârțan, Negocierile în viața social‑politică, Ed. Eikon, Cluj‑Napoca, 2007.

[3] Liviu‑Petru Zăpârțan, Doctrine politice, Ed. Chemarea, Iași, 1994.

[4] Papa Francesco, Evangelii gaudium,  f.a., Imprimeria Vatican, p. 183.

[5] Papa Francesco, Laudato si, Enciclica sulla cura della casa comune, Ed. San Paolo, Milano, 2015.

[6] Lucio Caracciolo, Lo Sguardo di Magellano, in vol: Papa Francesco, Sognare l’Europa, Ed. Dehoniane, Bologna, 2017, p. 88.

[7] J. Rifkin, Visul european, Ed. Polirom, Iași, 2006.

[8] J. M. Bergoglio, Nel cuore dell’uomo. Utopia e impegno, Ed. Bompiani, Milano, 2013.

[9] Liviu‑Petru  Zăpârțan, Reflecţii despre Europa unită, Ed. Eikon, Cluj‑Napoca, 2011.

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