The new academic year 2021-2022 has finally begun. We have returned to the face-to-face teaching – as indicated by the Congregation for Catholic Education – and we have the hope of leaving the Covid-19 pandemic behind us. The invitation to participate in Welcome Day and resume communication via our blog are signs of this new beginning and return to normality. Of course, there are still signs that, like scars, remind us of the need to keep our guard up (masks, distance, Green Pass, etc.) and keep in mind the variety of situations and problems that characterise the different peoples and continents. In fact, in addition to the standard in-presence mode, the possibility of taking distance courses will remain active because there are students who cannot get to Rome but have the right to study and conclude their theological research.
However, beyond the necessary prudence, we are all called to live the present with hope and project ourselves towards a more just and fraternal future. After all, if there is a lesson to be learned from what we tragically experienced because of Covid-19, only solidarity and bonds allow us to face difficulties. If human relationships break down, we are humanly impoverished, and isolation produces loneliness, distress and additional suffering. On the contrary, if relational networks are activated, it is possible to take charge of each other’s fragilities and find concrete and good ways to resist actively and successfully overcome the inevitable difficulties that history presents us with. The daily commitment and personal dedication to their work of so many brothers and sisters, even in the darkest days of the lock-down, have shown us the way forward to make our humanity flourish: a moral lesson not drawn up at a desk but in contact with the real drama of humanity.
It is a lesson that we moralists cannot let go of because it calls into question our specific ecclesial ministry, as Pope Francis has reminded us on various occasions and as the happy 150th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Alphonsus as Doctor of the Church suggests (watch the videos). We should elaborate on a moral theology that stems from and responds to real problems experienced by people. We need to work on a concrete proposal that allows us to experience the superabundant salvation that Jesus Christ came to bring. That can and must always be announced, even in the most complicated situations of human existence.
I wish all of you readers of the blog a good new beginning: a fresh start full of enthusiasm; an academic year full of positive news; a commitment to study and research that will bear delicious fruit for the world’s life.
Let us continue to walk together without letting hope be stolen!!!
Fr. Alfonso V. Amarante, C.Ss.R.