Christmas Letter from the President, Archbishop Giampaolo Crepaldi

Dear friends of the Observatory,

For the 13th time it is my pleasure to send you this Christmas Letter in which I invoke the main facts and events concerning the Observatory throughout the year past, and likewise send you my best wishes.

We can truly say that we worked very much indeed during this year as well. The presentation of our VIII Report on the Social Doctrine of the Church in the world dedicated to migration generated considerable interest. Presented in public in Rome, Trieste and Florence, this Report was referred to in many newspapers and in diverse influential blogs, albeit with some understandable polemical tones. The IX Report dedicated to Europe is ready to go to press, and we will have opportunities to speak about it in length in the near future. Take note, however, that it will be presented to the general public in Rome on Friday, 9 February 2018.

A further feature event of 2017 was the publication of my book-interview, The Italian Church and the future of the social apostolate (Cantagalli). This book was an effort on my part to offer a sweeping vision, starting from Vatican II, in order to deal in a well informed manner with the current crisis of the social apostolate which often gives the impression of wanting to forego the systematic use of the social teachings of the Church, or understand this corpus of doctrine in a reductive sense. In this manner I believe the Observatory has complied with its duty to assist the Church.

A considerable amount of energy was invested in the field of formation with the opening of new Academies of the Social Doctrine of the Church. I personally delivered 12 remote lectures on the online portal of La Nuova Bussola, and must say I was very pleased with the degree of participation. Opened or started up during the year were new Academies in various places.  Launched in Verona was an academy also dedicated to young people. I venture to highlight this insofar as it stands out as an interesting innovation.

Increasing has been the circulation of our “Bulletin of the Social Doctrine of the Church” which in 2017 dealt with four themes of utmost interest: the common good, the Lutheran Reformation, the economy between inclusion and exclusion, Humanae vitae and the public dimension of sexuality. The fourth issue, scheduled to be published after the upcoming Christmas holidays, commemorates the 50th anniversary of Paul VI’s Encyclical Letter Humanae vitae. There is considerable discussion underway about this encyclical and a possible revisiting of it, and for this reason we feel we have given a useful and interesting contribution.

Held on 17 November 2017 was the second conference on “St. Thomas and the Social Doctrine of the Church” dedicated to the theme of the principle of subsidiarity. Continuing, therefore, is the tradition of these conferences in Montefiascone organized together with other formation and cultural entities which draw inspiration from the philosophy and theology of St. Thomas.

Our monthly programmes were broadcast on Radio Maria as usual, and by now have become a tradition for this Catholic radio station that provides us with air time.

In this brief letter it would be impossible for me to mention all the talks delivered, the articles written, the interviews granted or the encounters held by myself, by the director of the Observatory and the other members of the Editorial Board (Palermo, Florence, Salerno, Biella, San Giovanni in Persiceto, Sassuolo …). Lastly, I wish to recall the various press releases issued by the Observatory regarding the many and very negative developments in Italian legislation that occurred in 2017, that last of which dates back only a few days ago with the entry into force of the so-called DAT Law (the Italian end-of-life bio-testament or living will) which actually opens the way to euthanasia.

I wholeheartedly thank all the collaborators who made all this work possible. With the help of Providence it proved possible for us to forge ahead in striving to do our duty.

While asking you to support the Observatory, subscribe to the “Bulletin” and both spread the word about our endeavors and take part in them, I extend my best wishes for a Holy Christmas to you and your respective families.

+Giampaolo Crepaldi