Pope Francis explains "Sacred Scripture offers us the essential coordinates to outline an anthropology of the human being in his relationship with God..." FULL TEXT




Dear brothers and sisters!

I am pleased to offer you my cordial greetings on the occasion of your Plenary Assembly, postponed due to the pandemic and finally convened, albeit in virtual mode. This is also a sign of the times we are experiencing: in the digital universe everything becomes incredibly close, but without the warmth of presence.

Furthermore, the pandemic has undermined many certainties on which our social and economic model is based, revealing their fragility: personal relationships, ways of working, social life, and even religious practice and participation in the sacraments. But also and above all he strongly re-proposed the fundamental questions of existence: the question about God and about the human being.

This is why I was struck by the theme of your Plenary:  necessary humanism . Indeed, at this juncture in history, we need not only new economic programs or new recipes against the virus, but above all a new humanistic perspective, based on biblical Revelation, enriched by the legacy of the classical tradition, as well as by reflections on the human person present in different cultures.

The term "humanism" made me think of the memorable  speech delivered by Saint Paul VI at the end of the Second Vatican Council , on 7 December 1965. He evoked the secular secular humanism of the time, which challenged the Christian vision, and said: " The religion of the God who became Man has met with the religion (because such it is) of the man who makes himself God ”. And instead of condemning and execrating him, the Pope resorted to the model of the Good Samaritan who had guided the thoughts of the Council, that is, that immense sympathy towards the human being and his conquests, his joys and hopes, his doubts, his sadness and anguish. And so, Paul VI invited that humanity closed to transcendence to recognize  our new humanism, because - he said - "we too, most of us, are lovers of man".

Almost sixty years have passed since then. That secular secular humanism - an expression that also alluded to the totalitarian ideology then prevailing in many regimes - is now a thing of the past. In our era marked by the end of ideologies, it now seems forgotten, it seems buried in the face of the new changes brought about by the information revolution and the incredible developments in the sciences, which force us to rethink what human beings are. The question about humanism arises from this question: what is man, the human being?

At the time of the Council, a secular, immanentist, materialist humanism was confronted with the Christian one, open to transcendence. Both, however, could share a common basis, a fundamental convergence on some radical issues related to human nature. Now this has failed due to the fluidity of the contemporary cultural vision. It is the era of liquidity or gas. However, the conciliar Constitution  Gaudium et spes  still remains relevant in this regard. It reminds us, in fact, that the Church still has much to give to the world, and requires us to recognize and evaluate, with confidence and courage, the intellectual, spiritual and material achievements that have emerged since then in various sectors of human knowledge.

Today, a revolution is underway - yes, a revolution - which is touching the essential knots of human existence and requires a creative effort of thought and action. Both. The ways of understanding generating, being born and dying are structurally changing. The specificity of the human being in the whole of creation, his uniqueness towards other animals, and even his relationship with machines is questioned. But we cannot always and only limit ourselves to denial and criticism. Rather, we are asked to rethink the presence of the human being in the world in the light of the humanistic tradition: as a servant of life and not its master, as a builder of the common good with the values ​​of solidarity and compassion.

This is why you have placed some essential questions at the center of your reflection. Alongside the question about God - which remains fundamental for human existence itself, as Benedict XVI often recalled - today the question about the human being himself and his identity is posed in a decisive way. What does it mean today to be a man and a woman as complementary persons and called to relationship? What is the meaning of the words "fatherhood" and "motherhood"? And then again, what is the specific condition of the human being, which makes him unique and unrepeatable with respect to machines and also to other animal species? What is your transcendent vocation? Where does your call to build social relationships with others come from?

Sacred Scripture offers us the essential coordinates to outline an anthropology of the human being in his relationship with God, in the complexity of the relationships between man and woman, and in the connection with the time and space in which he lives. Biblical humanism, in fruitful dialogue with the values ​​of classical Greek and Latin thought, has given rise to a high vision regarding the human being, his origin and his ultimate destiny, his way of life on this earth. . This fusion between ancient and biblical wisdom remains a still fruitful paradigm.

However, biblical and classical humanism today must open up wisely to welcome, in a new creative synthesis, also the contributions of the contemporary humanistic tradition and that of other cultures. I am thinking, for example, of the holistic vision of Asian cultures, for a search for inner harmony and with creation. Or to the solidarity proper to African cultures, to overcome the excessive individualism typical of Western culture. The anthropology of the Latin American peoples is also important, with a lively sense of family and celebration. As well as the cultures of indigenous peoples across the planet. There are, in these different cultures, forms of a humanism which, integrated into the European one inherited from the Greco-Roman civilization and transformed by the Christian vision, it becomes today the best tool to deal with the disturbing questions about the future of humanity. Indeed, "if the human being does not rediscover his true place, he does not adequately understand himself and ends up contradicting his own reality" (Enc. Laudato si ' , 115 ).

Dear Members and Consultors, all dear participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture, I confirm my support: today more than ever the world needs to rediscover the meaning and value of the human in relation to the challenges that must be faced Today we want to repeat those verses of a pagan: " Sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt".

I bless you from my heart, and I ask you to continue praying for me. Thank you very much!