Luigi Giussani Series on Faith and Modernity
Where: Sheen Center for Thought & Culture
18 Bleecker St.
212-925-2812 Price: Free
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“Can a modern man still reasonably believe in the divinity of Christ?”
A discussion of how Giussani’s proposal addresses the challenges of modernity
The annual Giussani Series on Faith and Modernity is centered on the life and work of Msgr. Luigi Giussani, an Italian priest, thinker, and educator who pioneered a new way of speaking about Christ to modern men and women.
The 2018 presentation will focus on how his proposal and education to the faith addresses the challenges of modernity and of the epochal change we are living.
In a stunning interview given in 2016, Benedict XVI identified the key of the epochal change we are living, the crucial dimension. “For the man of today, compared to those of the time of Luther and to those holding the classical perspective of the Christian faith [dominated by the concern for eternal salvation], things are in a certain sense inverted […]. It is no longer man who believes he needs justification before God, but rather he is of the opinion that God is obliged to justify Himself [to man] because of all the horrible things in the world and in the face of the misery of being human, all of which ultimately depend on Him.”
This turns the burden of proof on its head.
Fr. Giussani grasped the signs and the import of this epochal change long ago, and made this inversion the cornerstone of his method. It is as if God, God-made-man, and His Presence in history, the Church, had to justify Himself to women and men or, in more familiar words, it is as if God, the Church, “had to appear at the tribunal where you are the judge through your experience.” This inversion characterized the beginning of Communion and Liberation. Unlike many others, already back in the 1950s, Fr. Giussani realized that although Christianity was everyone’s traditional background, it no longer had a hold on the young people with whom he dealt in Milan and at high school. It was clear to him that God-made-man, Christ, once again had to justify Himself to those young people who wanted nothing to do with God, but rather held that they needed to free themselves of Him.
So then, what is God’s justification of Himself to the human person, to us? The justification of God is called “correspondence,” an otherwise impossible correspondence to the profound and ineradicable needs of the heart of the human person, of every person, of real people, those needs that persecute us, in spite of ourselves, through an incurable restlessness after any achievement.God justifies Himself to women and men through the “better,” the flourishing that He generates in life, through the fullness of humanity that He introduces into existence and that we cannot obtain by our own strength alone.