At Rimini, CV coordinator calls for new ‘Humanism’

Austen Ivereigh took part in a panel in Rimini, Italy, on 21 August, on the "new humanism" arising out of the papal visit to the UK in September 2010.

A seaside town on the Adriatic coast, Rimini hosts a Catholic cultural festival in the last week of August each year which its organisers, the Communion and Liberation movement, claim to be the world’s largest. Some 800,000 people pass through its sweltering exhibition halls during the course of the week, to hear speakers, watch films, attend concerts or visit exhibitions, which this year included one on the Blessed Cardinal Newman designed by, among others, CV speaker and trustee Christopher Morgan. 'The certainty of Newman: conscience and reality' pulled large crowds.

On his panel, ‘Forging a new humanism in the wake of Pope Benedict’s visit to the UK’, Austen made the case for a new "humanism" inspired by Pope Benedict's call in Westminster Hall for politics and faith to be open to each other. Austen told the Meeting:

The Catholic Voices Academy project sets out to take words seriously the Pope’s Westminster Hall address. By bringing together Catholics, over time, through regular meetings, briefings and debates, and engaging with the pressing issues, we can develop a “spiritual humanism” for the 21st century, as Maritain did for his time. By this we mean a humanism which, unlike the truncated secular humanism of contemporary liberalism, is open to the wisdom of faith, and seeks some deeper answers there.  This is not, I ought to stress, an attempt to develop an ideology, or still less any kind of political movement. Professor Vera Negri Zamagni, professor at Bologna and wife of Stefano Zamagni, one of the principal authors of Caritas in Veritate, recently argued that European Catholics have spent too long focussed on the survival of Christian Democratic parties and on political processes rather than on the promotion of Christian values. Noting that the application of Catholic social teaching has to be rethought from scratch, she says that Catholics need to develop common ideas and form a critical mass, creating forums outside and across parties, and exerting pressure on politics from civil society.  The first step in that direction is the creation of a forum, a zone of friendship where Catholics of different tendencies can come together with the shared purpose of developing common ideas, drawn from Catholic social teaching and the Pope’s teaching on the freedom of religion. That is the place we propose to start, beginning, in October, with considering how the Church can help to mend broken Britain.


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