The 6th edition of the Long Night of the Churches will be held on Friday, June 4, 2021 with the hope that we can return to live this day together in presence, within our wonderful places of worship.
In recent months, we have been thinking a great deal about how to take forward our common project, and what we have been through and are still going through is a difficult and still to be interpreted period. Covid has overwhelmed us, upset us, giving us the image of a convulsive, disorderly, mobile, complex, varied and unpredictable society. At the same time, a social and economic crisis of immense proportions has been suddenly generated, producing an immediate and catastrophic impact on the community and which will drag on its effects for a long time to come.
All the contradictions of modern society have thus emerged. The fragility of the world’s systems in the face of the pandemic has highlighted all the inconsistencies of an economy based on market freedom, which divides, which favours personal interests, momentary needs, limitless consumption. But it is evident that the “market” alone does not solve everything.
It has also highlighted the ruthlessness of a radical, indifferent individualism, which deceives us into believing that everything consists in giving vent to one’s ambitions without limitations, and in which only the interests of individuals matter, but instead only triggers conflicts and violence.
So how can we deal with these events, how can we react? To the deception of the “everything goes wrong” of “no one can fix things” the Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio responded thus to his interlocutors: “What are you doing?” – “What do we do?”
In the summer months, after the first wave of the virus, we thought a lot about what theme the festival could be inspired by and then at the beginning of October the new Encyclical of the Holy Father “Fratelli tutti” based on fraternity and social friendship came to our aid.
He has clearly shown us the way: the “care of others”. There could be no better time to propose this meditation given what is happening in the world because of the virus and beyond.
The official theme of the sixth edition will therefore have as its keyword “FRAIL” and the question around which we will propose a reflection will be “And I will take care of you?“.
Because it is clear, let us face it, that we have evolved in many respects, but we are illiterate in caring for and supporting the most frail and weak in our developed societies. We have become accustomed to looking around, to passing by, to ignore situations until they touch us directly. An inclination of the human being to close himself in his own self, in his own group, in his own petty interests. We have often seen this in these months of fighting the virus, for example in images of the abandonment of elderly people to painful loneliness.
If we then base the economy on the criteria of efficiency, competition and a culture of waste, it is clear that there is no place for the most frail.
So what has Covid taught us? Surely it has allowed us to understand that we cannot be self-centered, that, as Pope Francis says “no one saves himself, that we are all in the same boat”, that the way is the encounter with the other, the building of a common path. We need a positive way out of global difficulties.
Caring for fragility means first of all caring for those who are frail in our families, in our society. Everyone should be able to set aside something of himself, of his expectations, of his desires for omnipotence for the good of all, before the concrete gaze of the most frail.
The Encyclical contains the parable of the Good Samaritan, which allows us to understand how the encounter with one’s neighbour is basically based on the gift of one’s time. Before that wounded man, and without knowing him, the Good Samaritan came close and considered him worthy of receiving the gift of his time.
We must rebuild a society based on men and women who take on the fragility of others and who look not only at themselves, but who raise the fallen man.