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Callebaut at the University of Lovanio

Callebaut at the University of Lovanio

An occasion for comparisons on the Cultural Strength of Charisms

 

October 22 and 23, 2012. Bernhard Callebaut, professor of Social Doctrine of the Church and Foundations of Sociology at the IUS, was the guest of honor at the Faculty of Theology of the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), one of the most prestigious European Universities. He was invited to present some points for reflection on the contribution of spiritualities as paths of life and thought, with spiritual profiles introduced by charismatic experiences, in the history of Europe.

 

 

 

“Crises in Europe, Opportunity for a Monday Morning Spirituality”: this is the theme proposed to professor Callebaut, in quality of sociologist on religion and cultural processes, by the research group Anthropos who promoted the conference in occasion of the Month of Spirituality at the Belgian Faculty. Callebaut’s analysis took its cues from an episode tied to the activity of Jean Monet and the birth of a United Europe in distant 1950, with the intention of showing, how, during such an event, one can glimpse a sort of tradition of various elements coming from an evangelical message.

 

At the base of the cultural and anthropological crisis of the western world, and in particular the confining of a religious need to the private sphere, according to Callebaut, would be a transmission of an image of God-one, closed in his absolute singularity, inherited by pre-Christian religions, and the inability to fully value the novelty of the revelation by Jesus Christ, of a trinitarian God. Whilst history hands us recurring maneuvers done to relegate the ferment of Christianity to the sacristies, and the temptation, inside of Christianity, to prefer flight from the world on the part of the virtuous, all this today seems, however, to be deeply questioned.

 

The message of Jesus cannot regard only the Sunday, a day reserved to the cult by Christian tradition, but also Monday morning and all the days of the week: his message has, rather, something to say not only inside areas traditionally immersed in a spiritual dimension, but also in civil areas, in politics, in economy, in all of those places where humans are called to fully realize the original social vocation of men and women in history.
In this direction, Callebaut underlined the strength of the “agape”, a concept on which, recently, some very interesting proposals of analysis and projects by the academic world are being compiled, which bring into evidence its value not only in the sphere of private, and brief relations, but also in the public one.

 

Proposals put forward during the conference found another space for in-depth study when, the following day, prof. Callebaut held a seminar on “The Concept of Agape in Chiara Lubich”. Circa thirty doctorate students of various nationalities were present, who had prepared themselves by reading various texts extracted from the volume of Chiara Lubich, ‘Spiritual Writings’ (trad. from italian 'La Dottrina Spirituale'). The study of Chiara Lubic’s thought is, in fact, proposed by the doctoral program alongside the one on Mounier, Ricoeur and other Christian intellectuals of the XX century; in this framework, the experience developing at Sophia has also raised great interest.

 

The dialogue among those present touched on the role of mysticism in relation to theological reflection, on connections between theology and philosophy, on the cultural consequences of a prospect fed by trinitarian doctrine, the impact of the charism of Chiara on economy, politics, communication, sociology. The meeting concluded with an invitation to the students to work with academic rigour in order to give back scientific dignity to the evangelical intuition that agape living constitutes, today more than ever, not only a good choice, but an intelligent one.

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