Fr. Luigi Giussani (Sergio Assandri/Archivio Fraternità CL)

"Christianity as an event today"

On the 19th anniversary of his death, the full version of the unpublished text from the February issue of Traces: notes from a lesson given by Fr. Luigi Giussani in 1992.

Moderator. Fr. Giussani will speak to us this evening on “Christianity as an Event Today,” which is the inspiration for the experience he generated and today lives in and for the Church, one that has touched all of us. There will be time at the end for a few questions as well.

Luigi Giussani. Objectively, it seems that the meaning of the topic (“Christianity as an Event Today”) is shaped by the fact that today the word Christianity is more easily identified with a series of moral values or the preaching of moral values, with a concern for moral values. I am not saying that Christianity does not care about moral values, but I do want to say simply that Christianity does not coincide with the preaching of moral values. If we were at Mass last Sunday, we heard the beautiful parable of the Pharisee and the publican (cf. Lk 18:9–14), which once again surprised us. It always surprises us, in the end, when He says that the publican left the temple forgiven, “justified,” set right, at peace, while the Pharisee, who had boasted about all the good things he had done (and he was not lying–Christ did not say “the Pharisee lied,” not at all), left the temple condemned. It is not immediately necessary to elucidate the ultimate reason for this contrast. Maybe it came as the conclusion to other thoughts. But I would like to say that for someone who has to speak about Christianity, to think about it or live it, the main thing, the important thing is that you cannot reduce what you want to be concerned with, or what you want to live, to some moral values that you manage to translate into action through the force of your own willpower. Christianity is a fact, an event, an objective fact, and even if the whole world did not believe, it would no longer be able to blot it out. There is no line of reasoning that can hold. “Contra factum non valet illatio”: it is useless to oppose a fact with a line of reasoning, with the power of a line of reasoning [...]

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