Cover

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Title Page, Series Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-viii

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Foreword

Javier Prades

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pp. ix-xx

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Angola for reasons related to my work at the university. My hosts took advantage of the moments of rest to tell me about some educational and charitable works in so-called barrios, the dry and dusty suburbs of the city of Benguela...

Part 1. The Context and the Challenges

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1. Is a New Beginning Possible?

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pp. 3-20

Europe was born around a few great words, like “person,” “work,” “matter,” “progress,” and “freedom.” These words achieved their full and authentic depth through Christianity, acquiring a value they did not previously have, and this determined a profound process of “humanization...

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2. Truth and Freedom: A Paradigm

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pp. 21-35

The radical nature of the challenge to which we are subject, and the rate at which the change in attitudes is now occurring in European countries and in the West generally, are impressive.
What I am about to say has no claim to be complete or exhaustive. I will simply...

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3. In the Collapse of the Self-Evident, a Subject Is Generated

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pp. 36-47

Without recognizing how things really are, without a sufficient awareness of what is happening, even if we take initiative—because in any case all of us move because we perceive things in one way or another, because we catch sight of a need—what we do will fail to...

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4. The Challenge of True Dialogue after the Charlie Hebdo Attacks

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pp. 48-50

Since the events in Paris happened, there has been a great deal of discussion; 1 nobody has been spared a sense of bewilderment or fear. The numerous analyses offered have brought forth interesting points for reflecting on and understanding such a complex phenomenon....

Part 2. An Event of Rebirth

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5. Christianity Faced with the Challenges of the Present

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pp. 53-71

“Can one believe while being civilized, i.e., a European?, believe without reservation in the divine nature of Jesus Christ, the Son of God?”1 This passage by Dostoevsky identifies the challenge that faith in Jesus Christ faces today. It is not a generic question about whether absolute...

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6. The Religious Sense, Verification of the Faith

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pp. 72-86

“[When I] see the stars burn up in heaven, / I ask myself: / ‘Why all these lights, / What does the endless air do, and that deep / eternal blue? What is the meaning of / this huge solitude? And what am I?’”1 This poem by Giacomo Leopardi splendidly expresses the experience...

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7. The “Eternal Mystery of Our Being”

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pp. 87-100

“Behind the word ‘I’ today there is a great confusion, and yet it is of prime interest to understand what my subject is. In fact, my subject is at the center, at the root of every action of mine (thought is an action, too). Action is the dynamic with which I enter into relationship with...

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8. Broadening Reason

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pp. 101-115

A sincere and honest approach to this challenge thrown down by the pope must, first of all, not make us ignore the objective difficulties in which we find ourselves immersed historically. Each person, whose reason originally takes the form of “unexhausted openness” before...

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9. Freedom Is the Most Precious Gift Heaven Gave to Humanity

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pp. 116-134

“Freedom, Sancho, is one of the most precious gifts heaven gave to men; the treasures under the earth and beneath the sea cannot compare to it; for freedom, as well as for honor, one can and should risk one’s life.”1 Joseph Ratzinger has highlighted the fact that freedom is as valued...

Part 3. An Educational Emergency

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10. Introduction to Total Reality

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pp. 137-144

Education is the great challenge that we all have to face. It is not by chance that we speak of an “educational emergency.” Education has always been crucial in introducing younger generations to life. What is different today than in the past? Why do we speak today in such...

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11. The “Hot Point”

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pp. 145-156

The book Contro i papà: Come noi italiani abbiamo rovinato i nostri figli [Against Fathers: How We Italians Have Ruined Our Children] by Antonio Polito is a cry, a provocation, a question: Where are we leading our children? Many parents will identify with this interrogative...

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12. A Communication of Yourself

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pp. 157-174

If there is a watchword for all of us today, we can express it succinctly with the expression “educational emergency,” because we see the difficulty of our society (our society means us, we teachers, we parents) in transmitting a reason for living, that is, in truly introducing to reality...

Part 4. A New Protagonist on the World Scene

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13. “Lady, Your Beauty Was a Ray of Heavenly / Light to My Thinking”

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pp. 177-187

The family is at the center of public debate. The attempt to regulate new forms of cohabitation, different from marriage conceived of as the definitive and fertile relationship between a man and a woman, has sparked heated debate, bringing a process begun many years ago...

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14. With the Audacity of Realism

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pp. 188-196

I hear from many people that these times are characterized by great difficulty for those who do social work and have businesses. It seems like an earthquake, with everything crashing down. Today we find ourselves navigating “against the wind.” In this context, can we find...

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15. Crisis: A Challenge to Change

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pp. 197-206

“And God saw that it was good . . . very good.”1 This affirmation, repeated six times in the first chapter of Genesis, expresses the fundamental conviction of the people of Israel about reality—it is good, very good. It is not a naive affirmation, made by some inexperienced...

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16. In Politics, Too, the Other Is a Good

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pp. 207-209

In trying to live Easter in the context of the most recent events in the Church, from Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation to the dramatic entrance of Pope Francis, I could not help but think about Italy’s dramatic situation, and the difficulty of escaping from the paralysis that...

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Conclusion: How Does a Presence Come to Be?

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pp. 210-227

For the feast of Saint Mary Magdalene the liturgy offers two texts that clearly reveal how the Church wants to introduce us to looking at this woman, according to all her expectant waiting and all her yearning. The first is a passage from the Song of Songs, which describes...

Notes

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pp. 228-257

Sources

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pp. 258-261

Index

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pp. 262-282