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NY ENCOUNTER/ It’s Christianity. Simple.

Antonio Quaglio comments on Father Julián Carrón’s speech at the New York Encounter and his emphasis on the simplicity of Christianity, summing up the entire NYE.

Father Carron   (Imagoeconomica) Father Carron (Imagoeconomica)

“Christianity is easy”, Father Julián Carrón pronounces clearly, defying all linguistic or cultural traps without fear. Easy is not synonymous with "light" or "relaxed" but it means that Christianity is "immediate", "direct", "reasonable", and "authentic". The audience at the New York Encounter, in any case, understood "easily". While the president of CL was speaking, sweeping quotations from At the Origin of the Christian Claim were projected on the screens in the Manhattan Congress Center. For his speech at the traditional winter meeting sponsored by Crossroads and the North American communities of the Fraternity, Carrón chose both tone and content that did not appear to differ from those of the School of Community. One opens a text, a pillar like At the Origin of the Christian Claim by Father Giussani: Just read it carefully, lovingly, with the ability to draw new experiences out of it. "It's easy."

Of course, the first "slide" reads: "A challenge for Us today”, but this too is not complicated to understand. Indeed, rereading Giussani in New York in January 2012 allows one to repeat the famous phrase written by Dostoyevsky in the second half of the nineteenth century and taken by Giussani a century later. "Can a European today believe in Jesus Christ?.” Can an American believe in Jesus Christ in the twenty-first century? How can one discover that Christianity is the “easiest” (most "rigorous", most "true") way to verify one’s humanity every day? This is and will remain the question (not who will win the presidential election in November, or if Europe and America are on the brink of a financial war). If faith loses the life-blood of its "religious sense", if Christianity ceases to be an event and an encounter, if the announcement does not touch the deepest part of the person, everything becomes "uneasy". It is then that man, Carron reminded the audience, quoting Mario Vittorino, wastes the “easiest” of opportunities: "to discover oneself as a man after one meets Christ."

The irreducibility of the Christian is another of the "simple" truths Carrón wanted to remind us of at the Encounter, now in its final stages, drawing together the threads of experience that had unraveled for three days under the insignia of intense simplicity. The fact that Kristof Zanussi, in order to say how his friend Pope John Paul II was truly a saint, told about what a great artist of the theater he was, or the simplicity of the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, who at the end of the Mass asked: "Pray for the next International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin. The Irish Church is facing great difficulties, but I bring home the greetings of CL". It is not difficult to bring the Meeting to America. It becomes easier and easier.

(translation by Maria Bond)

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