Milan (AsiaNews) - In the course of the past few months Expo 2015 has been making headlines. The event runs 1 May to 31 October 2015 and will bring about 20 million foreign visitors to Milan and Italy. It should also mark a turning point in the socio-economic life of our country. It seems to me that, with the many concerns and sufferings that are our daily bread, the public does not yet realize the unique importance of the Expo, which has as its theme "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life" . Little is said of the event itself beyond the media focus on scandals of bribery and corruption. There has been virtually no mention of the effort going into the Expo throughout Italy and especially in Milan and Lombardy. In an area of about 100 hectares in the Rho-Pero zone on the western outskirts of Milan (not far from the PIME community on Via Monterosa and Via Mosè Bianchi) people are working day and night in three or four continuous shifts. Milan and Italy cannot miss this opportunity; but it is not as easy to garner interest and enthusiasm of the people of Milan and the Italians on the issues that are at the base of the Expo 2015, which are fundamental to the future of humanity.
In the traditional "Address to the City" that the archbishops of Milan hold each year on the eve of the Feast of St. Ambrose, on 6 December last, 2013, the archbishop and cardinal Angelo Scola spoke on the topic "What feeds life ?". The full text was published by the Ambrosiano Center, in a volume of 94 pages. An interesting and profound reading of the Expo, because the words of the title: food, energy, life and the planet have a fifth word at their center: man. Everything relates to man, man's life, everything is created for man and man is entrusted with the task of using the goodness of creation, avoiding the two extremes: ecocentrism (nature before man) and the destruction of creation.
We need to re-read the first pages of the Bible, the story of Creation and the stories of the Book of Genesis, wrote the archbishop, to realize that God has created an "imperfect" world, which requires the responsibility of man to bring it to fruition. Angelo Scola then asks: "What feeds human life?". Not only food and of course the Church proposes its answer to that question with the Holy See Pavilion of, "Not by bread alone," which refers to God the Creator and Father, without Whom human life has no meaning.
The booklet "What feed life?" gives a secular reading of Expo, pointing out the many topics that the title refers to, which always have man at the center: the myth of technocracy, the tragedy of hunger, food aid, "food sovereignty", "OGM", markets and finance; and recalls the urgency for an education, in schools, in the media and in all other educational institutions and associations (including the Church), on "our responsibility for what has been bestowed on us" (the protection of creation) and "The communion between the generations": "Everything that we receive bears the imprint of the other (the Other), is available to the present generation who, with its daily decisions, will leave a transformed world to future generations. The motivations mentioned here are most powerful. Money is a necessary, but all our actions should be motivated by these most cogent reasons. Without the desire for beauty and meaning, in fact, money is sterile and even counterproductive".
is a philosopher and theologian, and developing this concept he says: "One
cannot, therefore, answer the question "What feeds life?" effectively
without first taking on the task of educating to a renewed conception of man".
It is impossible to summarize a volume of nearly 100 pages in to a few words, which develops the following point: "educating to a renewed conception of man" through the discussion of these topics: A new outlook on man - New lifestyles - A New Humanism - The culture of encounter - The resources of Milan - Milan in Europe.
Scola almost summarizes his thoughts when he writes: "Without rethinking our concept of man, without reconsidering the question of the grammar of the human, the only knowledge and know-how of which modern man feels certain is the technical-scientific. On a large scale managerial level this means the primacy of the economics and finance ... In it the criteria of technical power affects all the others (political, social, ethical, cultural, religious) depriving them of the primary and indispensable resource of a human subject capable of questioning, first of all himself".
The Archbishop reaffirms that "the 2015 Expo is an excellent opportunity to find new synergies between capacity, resources, plans for a civil society like the Lombard society, that is suffering from a frustrating disproportion between its great potential and its real possibilities". And that frustration does not depend on structural and institutional conditions or external situations, but on "an inherent difficulty of the time in which we live, in which neither the spiritual or moral energy to unify existence, nor the ideal or affective ability to plan the future are readily available". He recalls the last war, when our people were capable of great energies, hopes and hard work, which lifted Milan and Italy from the rubble, welcoming immigrant communities "that are increasingly collaborating to put a face to the Milan of the future" . But then in Milan there was a "great capacity for work and solidarity" and "a faithful belonging to their roots." Well, today, the values of "dialogue on the common good" and "building a society that values the intermediate realities and their freedom".
Concluding Card. Scola writes: "For centuries, the Church has humbly sought to guard the essential features of a grammar of the human being, not for its ability and merit, but for the event of the supreme revelation of man, which is Jesus Christ ... For this The Church carries a permanent resource for renewal and restoration of the unity of man in all cultures and in all historical circumstances ... Here, in the right light, we can see the contribution that the religions can make today to a good life, which generates virtuous practices, in a pluralistic society like ours. This shows the inadequacy of a conception and practice of secularism that claims to neutralize the religions".
I have read and meditated on our Archbishop's words with gusto and joy. There is exactly one year to go to the opening of Expo 2015. Entities and educational institutions in Milan, Lombardy and Italy, still have time to transmit and deliver the values of "What feeds life?" to the Italian people.