(From the Alphonsian Academy blog)
This is not just an image but a metaphor that contains – with all its clamour – a resounding invitation not to continue walking by the mere advance of a simple calendar. It is an invitation to save the present, pregnant with the future, but at the same time threatened in its most neuralgic fragility. It is an invitation to be more than ever aware that our history demands authenticity, truthfulness and above all, the capacity for wise and prophetic responses. In the school of St. Alphonsus, this is where our formative service can have its place, indeed, its natural home.
Not letting go and releasing is the urgent task, that is, to rescue from threats and to give at least some chance to go beyond all the human atrocities present on all sides, with more or fewer responsibilities. No one is oblivious to the saying, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. The study cannot be an abstract place or far from the real cries of history; it must know how to insert itself into the fabrics of history to find the best alternatives that make human and ecosystemic existence as dignified and free as possible. It is hoped that the study of moral theology will not be reduced to curiosities or to more or less plausible prescriptions, but rather that it will be that place where the “today” of “plentiful redemption” becomes present in that lacerating “today” that cannot be evaded, as the even more sharp image of the child at the Kabul airport reminds us. It is hoped that as an academic community, we will know how to take their side, on the side of fragility and on the side of real human and ecosystemic possibilities, that we will know how to break down walls and build bridges, overcome dualisms and unhealthy dichotomies, discerning ambiguities, unmasking the various ideologies, for the sake of more integral and liberating paths.
The “child of Kabul” is a sapiential and prophetic call to review our theoretical assumptions and our praxis, to rethink our axiologies and scientific constructions to venture into a process that allows us to give multiple and interdisciplinary concretisations to the Samaritan paradigm, the one that within the process of a Church always “going out”, as Pope Francis inspires us, must be committed to the integral care of our common home (cf. Laudato si’) and the realisation of a more fraternal/sororal/solidary humanity (cf. Fratelli tutti). This can be a stimulating and possible way to carry out our research in the different fields of study, from Laudato si’ to Fratelli tutti, to establish new horizons of understanding and possible alternatives of realisation. To assume that “everything is related” to be able to “relate everything” in a different, more dignified and free way, that is the task. For, “it is essential to seek holistic solutions that consider the interactions of natural systems with each other and with social systems. There are not two separate crises, one environmental and one social, but a single, complex socio-environmental crisis. The lines for the solution require an integral approach to combat poverty, to restore dignity to the excluded and simultaneously to care for nature” (LS, n. 139) and further that “religious convictions about the sacredness of human life enable us to recognise the fundamental values of our common humanity, the values by virtue of which we can and must collaborate, build and dialogue, forgive and grow, allowing all voices to form a noble and harmonious song, instead of the fanatical shouting of hatred” (FT, 283).
The invitation, once again, is that we may walk together from and towards a morality shaped from the Samaritan paradigm as a morality of integral, sapiential and prophetic care for human and ecosystemic life.
Fr. Antonio Gerardo Fidalgo, CSsR