Having been invited by the national presidency of FUCI – “Federazione Universitaria Cattolica Italiana”, the European Coordinator took the opportunity to participate at the 62nd National Congress, which took place in Rimini from 9th-12th May 2013.
The event bringing together more than 200 participants from all over Italy was titled “Esodo dalla crisi: la via della democrazia” and consisted of two parts: From the 9th-10th May, experts and lecturers had the chance to bring in their contributions to the topic of democracy in a study session – among them many university teachers from the local university of Rimini, theologians, philosophers, economists and lawyers – some of them with controversial positions initiating vivid discussions.
The last two days of the gathering were dedicated to the statutory session of the Congress, where the candidacies for the “Central Council” as well as content-related motions were discussed and voted upon. Finally, the the outcome of the meeting – the “Congress Thesis” – was framed, amended and voted upon. On Sunday, the closing mass was celebrated by S.E. Mons. Francesco Lambiasi, bishop of the diocese of Rimini.
During the statutory part, the European Coordinator also had the chance to address the plenary with an update of the work of JECI-MIEC and a short intervention:
“Truth cannot be produced, what can be produced are facts. We can for example influence a situation in such a way, that it fits to the purpose we intended or to what we want people believe to be the truth… But that is different from truth. Truth is not producible and therefore not subjected to majority opinion; this is something not only Christians, but even secular philosophers of the enlightenment knew, when referring to the practical reason / moral law (Kant) or volonté generale (Rousseau). But if truth is not a matter of majority, of what use is democracy then?
The German constitutional court’s former judge Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde once formulated: “The libertarian, secularized state lives by prerequisites which it cannot guarantee itself.” – While in the usual interpretation this phrase refers to something we know as a constitution – so something prior to democracy not simply subjected to majority – Böckenförde and his successor Udo Di Fabio assumed in the “grounds” of democracy first and foremost the values transmitted to citizens through religion – and in our particular case – Christian religion.
When it comes to truth and values we have to speak also about failure, about failing in achieving values or coming closer to the truth. Potential failure, or let us name it imperfection, is – not only according to Catholic Church’s teaching – a central aspect of our human nature. Since we are in a crisis, imperfection could be translated as our ongoing tendency to crises. What an “optimistic” outlook… But imperfection is at the same time the starting point for introducing democracy as the best tool we have for society. Why? Because democracy takes human imperfection serious: It acknowledges the fact, that no person is perfect or the only bearer of truth. Anyone of us has the tendency to do mistakes – that is why important decisions need to be taken jointly.
If a perfect person would exist, human decisions would not be needed anymore. We as Christians believe that such a person does not exist within the limits of being human, except of Jesus Christ being truly God and truly man. In line with that we share the hope that he will come again to install his eternal kingdom. Until then, democracy is the best means we have within our limited and imperfect human measures, because it takes seriously our imperfection.”
Thanks again to the presidency of FUCI for the kind invitation and to the local organizers from Rimini for making this event possible.