“In Europe, and beyond, democracy is retreating” – Corriere.it

“In Europe, and beyond, democracy is retreating” – Corriere.it
“In Europe, and beyond, democracy is retreating” – Corriere.it
from Gian Guido Vecchi, sent to Athens

The concern of Francis, who arrived in Greece from Cyprus: “Discontent leads to skepticism, authoritarianism and the easy seductions of populisms must be answered with democracy”. And he quotes De Gasperi.

Here we go back to the beginning. The Acropolis is veiled by low clouds, Francis speaks to the authorities in the presidential palace, yet it is a constant reference, “the call to broaden the horizons towards the High” and at the same time “towards the other”, the “Lógos” of the Gospel written in Greek, Socrates and the awareness of “feeling citizens not only of one’s own country, but of the whole world”, Aristotle and the definition of man as a “political animal”, the birth of democracy: “The cradle, millennia later, has become a house, a large house of democratic peoples: I am referring to the European Union and the dream of peace and fraternity that it represents for so many peoples ”. And yet, the Pope raises his gaze, “one cannot but note with concern how today, not only on the European continent, there is a retreat of democracy”. Coming from Cyprus, the Pope chose Athens, where it all began, to ask “that the seductions of authoritarianism be answered with democracy”. In his long speech there is also a sentence, dry and definitive, on euthanasia: “Life is in fact a right, not death, which must be accepted, not administered”. But the danger that democratic systems run remains central: “Democracy requires the participation and involvement of all and therefore requires effort and patience. It is complex, while authoritarianism is hasty and the easy reassurances offered by populisms appear tempting “. And so “in various societies, worried about safety and anesthetized by consumerism, fatigue and discontent lead to a sort of “Democratic skepticism”».

But it’s not just about populisms. “There is also a skepticism towards democracy caused by the distance of the institutions, by the fear of the loss of identity, by the bureaucracy”. And the remedy “does not lie in the obsessive search for popularity, in the thirst for visibility, in the proclamation of impossible promises or in adhering to abstract ideological colonizations, but lies in good politics”. Because “politics is a good thing and it must be so in practice, as the highest responsibility of the citizen, as an art of the common good”. And “in order for the good to be truly shared, particular attention, I would say priority, must be paid to the weakest groups”. The direction to follow, which “a founding father of Europe indicated as an antidote to the polarizations that animate democracy but risk exasperating it”, it is entrusted by Francesco to a phrase by Alcide De Gasperi: “There is a lot of talk about who goes left or right, but the decisive thing is to move forward and moving forward means moving towards social justice”. The Pope urges us to pass “from taking sides to participating: it is the motivation that must push us on various fronts: I am thinking of the climate, the pandemic, the common market and above all the widespread poverty ». These are “challenges that require us to collaborate concretely and actively”, he says: “The international community needs it, in order to open ways of peace through a multilateralism that is not stifled by excessive nationalist pretensions. Politics needs it, in order to place common needs in front of private interests ».

Francis chooses the image of the olive trees that are shown in the plain all around the city and “can symbolize the will to counter the climate crisis and its devastation”, even the biblical dove after the Flood returns to Noah carrying “in its beak a tender olive leaf “, and he warned a few weeks before the Glasgow summit:” I hope in this sense that the commitments undertaken in the fight against climate change will be increasingly shared and are not facade, but will be seriously implemented. The words are followed by the facts, so that the children do not pay the umpteenth hypocrisy of the fathers. In this sense, the words that Homer places on Achilles’ lips resound: “Hateful is he to me, like the gates of Hades, who hides another in his heart and speaks other” ». And then the olive trees “remind us of the importance of preserving strong roots, innervated with memory”, the foundations of our civilization “.

After all, “the olive tree, in Scripture, also represents an invitation to be in solidarity, in particular towards those who do not belong to their own people”, continues Francis, taking up the denunciation of the “protagonists of a terrible modern Odyssey”, the story of migrants denounced, most recently, in Cyprus, the issue that will be at the center of his tomorrow’s visit to Lesbos: «This country, characterized by hospitality, has seen in some of its islands a number of migrant brothers and sisters that exceeds the inhabitants themselves, thus increasing the hardships, which are still affected by the fatigue of the economic crisis. But even the European stalling persists: the European Community, torn by nationalistic selfishness, instead of being the driving force of solidarity, sometimes appears blocked and uncoordinated. If once ideological contrasts prevented the construction of bridges between the east and the west of the continent, today the migration issue has also opened gaps between the south and the north ». Hence his appeal: “I would like once again to urge an overall, community vision of the issue of migration, and encourage people to pay attention to those most in need so that, according to the possibilities of each country, they are welcomed, protected, promoted and integrated in full respect of their human rights and their dignity. Suffering unites us and recognizing belonging to the same fragile humanity will help to build a more integrated and peaceful future. Let’s turn what appears to be just an unfortunate adversity into audacious opportunity ». On the other hand, the pandemic is really a “great adversity”, concludes the Pope: “It made us rediscover others who are fragile and needy. Also in this country it is a challenge that involves appropriate interventions by the Authorities – I think about the need for the vaccination campaign – and not a few sacrifices for the citizens ». Francis cites the Hippocratic oath, and it is here that he refers to euthanasia: “Some words seem written for today, such as the commitment to” regulate the standard of living for the good of the sick “, to” refrain from causing harm and offense ”to others, to safeguard life at all times, especially in the womb. The right to care and care for all must always be privileged, so that the weakest, especially the elderly, are never discarded “.

December 4, 2021 (change December 4, 2021 | 12:51)

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