Presentation to the European Parliament in Brussels (Belgium) of a document aimed at expressing a common social ethic, which contains the shared positions of Christians and Marxists. It is the result of an eight-year journey or we could even say one which has been going on for two centuries.
“A project of transversal dialogue” is how Dialop defines itself. Christians and Marxists in Europe have been working on it for some years. After a meeting in the Vatican of some representatives of the European Left with Pope Francis, it took a decisive step forward (see Dialop: Christians and Marxists working together).
The event took place on 8th November in the Altiero Spinelli building with the presence of 40 people from 9 countries of the Union and others who followed the streaming. The presentation of the position paper, “In search of a common future in solidarity” was supported by the Left Group of the European Parliament, in collaboration with the Movement for Politics for Unity Movement and New Humanity, The document, on common positions in Socialist Christian dialogue, was written by Prof. Michael Brie, President of the Scientific Committee of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and by the Belgian sociologist, Prof. Bennie Callebaut of the Sophia University Institute. It analyses how, as antagonists in the past, Christianity and Marxism are faced with another wall to break down, that of wild capitalism and how they find surprising affinities in the present. In the message and in the person of Pope Francis they also find a figure who unites, a leader and a traveling companion. The paper states, “We are working on projects guided by shared visions in common struggles“. The document declines what these projects are, indicating some topics being explored: “an economy of life; a caring community; a policy of transformation in solidarity; a world in which there is room for many worlds; the dignity of every individual in a world rich in common goods; and together for peace”. The inevitable question of how, when it comes to discussion, these are expressed in practice, was formulated by Prof. Léonce Bekemans (Jean Monnet Chair, University of Padua). Walter Baier, from Transform!Europe, one of the initiators and coordinators of Dialop responded: “We work on three levels: dialogue as a cultural initiative in order to become a think tank; involving people in the work for solidarity, as happened with initiatives for migrants and refugees; arousing political involvement especially for building peace”.
Marisa Matjas, Portuguese MEP of the Bloco de Esquerda, vice-president of the Party of the European Left in the European Parliament, was the hostess. She vividly remembered the words of Pope Francis to the members of the European Parliament in 2014, which were “said when we needed to hear them most”. “He spoke to us about keeping democracy alive in Europe, about employment and workers’ rights, about education, about migration, at a time when the EU was ignoring the massive movements of people coming from Syria; he also spoke about the dignity of human rights, we have many things in common that we need to work on together.”
In his opening remarks on “Common paths towards a global, just and fraternal society”, the theologian Piero Coda said, “Today we need, like the food we live on, vision, spirit and covenant. It is time to hope and give hope ‘in the plural’. This is what Dialop invites us to do”. A plurality that requires wider alliances, not only the Catholic world, but the whole Christian world, with an ecumenical dimension; not only Christianity, but all religions; not only the left, but the various political ideologies that are committed to the common good and the defence of the environment. Citing the document, he said that there must be an initial effort to put aside any claim of “having the monopoly of the truth”.
“Together with Marxists and Christians, a transformative and transversal social ethic must count on the contribution of other actors and traditions who are present in our continent and have different world views”, reiterated Fr Manuel Barrios Prieto, Secretary General of COMECE, recalling the concept of human fraternity, starting with the signing of the Abu Dhabi document of 2019 and the encyclical “All Brothers”.
A renewed commitment to dialogue resumed in Brussels, with a momentum of inclusiveness, aware that dialogue is a ‘ work in permanent progress’.
Maria Chiara De Lorenzo