Now available in bookshops is the VII Report on the Social Doctrine of the Church
of the Observatory Cardinal Van Thuân (Cantagalli, Siena 2016).
Interview with Archbishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, President of the Observatory
Your Excellency, what exactly is your Report on the Social Doctrine of the Church in the world?
The Report we publish each year, now in its VII edition, is an instrument of analysis and reflection on the situation of commitment in the world in the light of the social doctrine of the Church. The Report passes in review the five continents, brings the most important problems to the surface, flags difficulties as well as new and encouraging experiences underway, provides documentary updates on the social Magisterium of the Church, and focuses each year on a theme considered the “theme of the year”.
Who prepares the Report?
The Report is prepared by the Observatory’s editorial staff in collaboration with five other Centers of Social Doctrine of the Church in Europe and Latin America. It is above all the fruit of our Observatory’s ongoing monitoring throughout the year with respect to problems and issues connected with the social doctrine of the Church.
Do other similar publications exist?
Not as far as I know. There are many permanent observatories on particular themes such as freedom of religion or the environment, but none specifically on the Social Doctrine of the Church..
What does your Report provide to readers?
The Report is analytical in nature, but also provides a synthesis. It is analytical because it delves into the specific situation in various parts of the planet. It is of utmost interest to examine the situation in the United States, Venezuela, North Africa, France, Poland and Argentina. Through our Report, people become familiar with so many situations, which are quite different but where the witness of Christians in the areas of justice and peace is resolute and meaningful. Therefore, it is beyond me to offer a summary of the vast amount of information contained in our Report, and for this reason would encourage people to read it.
The Report, however, also deploys an effort of synthesis by proposing an emerging theme each year, which likewise provides the title of the Report. This year we felt that the characteristic dynamics of our day and age are those of the new wars of religion, to which we must also link the war against religion. Hence the title: “Wars of religion, war against religion”.
What is your viewpoint on this theme?
The theme underlying the Report’s argumentation is the truth of religions and the existence of a true religion. When speaking at Regensburg in 2006, Benedict XVI had said that what does not conform to reason does not come from the true God. Except for some particular cases that Catholic morals has always contemplated, warfare does not conform to reason, and even less so does the senseless violence of the new caliphates and those behind them. Terrorist wars, asymmetric wars, wars that strike down civilians, wars that sell and inflict violence on women and children do not come from the true God. On the contrary, coming from the true God is the religion of the Christian martyrs who, throughout the world, are the victims of an undeclared war, as is all the warfare underway in our world today. For this reason as well, the Christian religion reveals itself as having “a human face”, as Benedict XVI said in Verona in 2006: martyrs bear witness to it, not executioners.
What consequences should all this have for political authorities?
Political authorities should distinguish among religions, also in the wake of this sad situation of the new wars of religion. But they don’t do so, and they continue to place all religions on the same level, considering all of them to be something irrational. In this manner, political authorities do not hasten to assist Christians persecuted in various parts of the world, indiscriminately receive the various religions within their respective countries without taking the common good into consideration, and do not ensure domestic protection to the Christian religion, which is nonetheless deeply interwoven with western history and civilization. Political authorities refrain from raising for themselves the issue of the human truth (or falsehood) of religions, and therefore assume the stance of being morally ‘unarmed’ in their regard. This is why they import the new wars of religion within their own borders, host and assist non integrated and even antagonistic religions, and in their own houses nourish third generation immigrant-terrorists.
Therefore, the western world is not reacting to the wars of religion because it is all too engaged in a war against religion . . .
Underway in the west is a war against religion, especially against Catholicism; a war waged not only directly by barring many of its public expressions and manifestations, but above all indirectly by watering down the natural premises of the religion itself unto the point of melting them down altogether. The battle against Catholicism weakens the west vis-à-vis the wars of religion, which are today so bellicose both beyond and within its borders.
(by Tiziano Fonte)