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ENCUENTRO/ Meeting in Madrid

Encuentromadrid is an event in Madrid that attempts to answer the question, what has become of living Christianity? FERNANDO DE HARO comments on the inspiration behind the event. 

Detail of Icarus, by Matisse Detail of Icarus, by Matisse

"The fundamental problem facing Christianity with secularization to be alive and not to be simply ritualistic, made up of external ceremonies". These clear words were used a few days ago by Victor Pérez Díaz. The great Spanish sociologist also added a question: "What has become of living Christianity, even if it presents itself not in explicit and formal religious terms?". It is an acute question, like the affirmation before it.

Encuentromadrid, the event which starts on Thursday March 22, and that Communion and Liberation has been organizing for almost a decade, is conceived as an answer to this question. It is not a "formally religious" answer, as religiosity is understood in the beginning of the XXI century. It does not refer to an optional and subjective dimension, which is back in fashion, and in which some people are taking refuge in order to suffer less in the hard times we are experiencing. Nor is it the moral agenda with which many are obsessed. The program of this strange event, which will feature discussions of politics, education, social economy and many other issues is made up of everyday things.

This year, Encuentromadrid chose a phrase by Don Giussani as its theme: "The forces that change history are the same ones that change the heart of man". Spain is without doubt at a historical crossroads. The crisis has raised many hard questions about meaning and how to work, on the model of production and of social life, on the origins of failure at school.

It becomes urgent to find out where to get the energy to break down all the unnecessary things and build new ones. The present and the future of the welfare society are at stake. In this confusing situation, the temptation to conceive of oneself as a product of causality, like a leaf blown by the anonymous winds of history, is growing. The crisis feeds the impression that whatever we do, we lonely and poor men, is perfectly useless.

Some people resort to the old ideological schemas to explain everything. Some say that we have suffered an excess of the market, others a lack thereof. One must take into account all the data from a clear analysis, but this analysis will not be sufficient to generate a change. The origin of the change is in the heart of man. Is this a naïve idea? We open it up to debate at least.

Encuentromadrid has as its historical example of cordiality, the strength that comes from the heart, what happened during the transition from dictatorship to democracy (which, according to Stanley Payne, is the "great contribution that Spain has given the world"). He also proposes it as a response to the crisis. In the center of the building hosting Encuentromadrid will be an exhibition entitled "The Transition, a story of reconciliation". College students, together with important historians and people from the time, have prepared an exhibition showing how the people were the protagonists of that change.