Jacques Delors, Former President of the European Commission
Jacques Delors has been called the first fully European politician; one who has inaugurated a new kind of public man, a new way to fashion History
Values are developed in a precise context of place and time. They are neither pre-established, nor eternal. In abstraction they can disappear, but they are incarnated in actions and institutions. In other words, they are at one and the same time an expression of the world which gives birth to them and of a way of behaviour.
There is a running debate between attempts to give formal expression to these values and their translation into real life. The danger is that in the name of pragmatism or out of a certain cynicism, the actors in society struggle to kill the debate. It is a permanent risk, and especially at the beginning of this Twenty-First century, on account both of the way in which economics rule our lives and of a disenchantment with politics.
I should like to offer you, for our shared reflection, a framework presenting the principal parameters of contemporary development, as a basis for discerning, in the midst of the unchanging and the changing, what are in my opinion the dominant values. Taking a critical look at our contemporary world, I would have to mention finally what, I consider, might bring about progress in humanity and in ourselves as persons.
1.Limiting factors in the world’s evolution
The question of evil
If this question has always obsessed humanity, it has taken on new forms since the last World War, born of ideas proclaiming the death of God. In addition there has been the scandal, unparalleled in history, of the Shoah or Holocaust in the middle of the last century.
We can no longer say, as we have done, that if you suffer it is because you have sinned. A number of philosophers have tackled this immense problem, such as Karl Barth who speaks of "the left hand of God" and Paul Ricoeur who questions "the never-ending rebirth of evil". The breakdown of religious belief in the West is the source of these many questions.
If I mention the Shoah, it is because of its atrocity, of its extent and the terrifying pointlessness of the actions of those responsible for the preparation and execution of this attempt to destroy the Jewish people. It is still a live question made more complex by the problem of culpability. Let us simply call to mind, as we reflect today, the admirable response of Hannah Arendt pleading at one and the same time for forgiveness which is not forgetting, and for the fulfilment of the promise to the sons and daughters of those affected by this absolute evil, so that they may be allowed to find their place in the community.
The way in which information is communicated today, allows everyone on this Earth to know about the collective crimes committed in all four corners of the world. Why all this evil, if a God of goodness exists? To which Paul Ricoeur gives the answer, "there is evil, but I cannot say why".
From these preliminary observations, I draw two conclusions about values as lived realities. One is to do with the birth of a world conscience based on Human Rights, with all the resulting confusion, to quote Max Weber "the rationality of ends and the rationality of means".
The other conclusion is that at the very moment when evil is showing its face everywhere, people are seeking "a society at zero risk". What an incredible simplification this is on the part of those who campaign for, worry about, and demand the realisation of this unattainable objective. This constitutes a dangerous form of alienation for all those men and women who deny the tragic dimension of existence and any questioning of their personal responsibility in this evolution.
The domination of economics
This is an all too familiar question repeated over and over again by intellectuals and specialists in the human sciences. Over the last thirty years, the economy has stolen the march on politics, necessity and constraint being used as alibis. In a word, the revival of politics as focus and synthesis is required, taking into account all the components of the human person and of society.
Materialism is today’s version of the utilitarianism beloved of Stuart Mill. It is to be seen more and more, in the West, with the coming of the consumer society which has now gripped other continents. It justifies itself as an extension of economic liberalism. The key idea, according to Adam Smith and Friedrich von Hayek in particular, is that if each one pursues his own personal interest in a society which is centred on market, the result will be progress for everyone.
To this line of thought, backed by many people in positions of responsibility, there is ever increasing opposition from supporters of some control in both economics and social matters; they argue from failures in the market and its limitations in taking into account every dimension of human life.
It is not a clearly defined struggle since on occasion it turns into a battle between modernists and traditionalists. These latter adopt a popular position by an intransigent defence of established rights and the status quo, and of corporate self-interests taken to the extreme.
What results is tremendous frustration on the part of those who are left behind by this march towards material prosperity. Here also the supporters of control plead for a framework within which the market should function. Others become involved in revolt, sometimes marked by desperation.
Among those who, like Pope John Paul II, speak out, let us listen to a word from Latin America. These are the words of the Jesuit Provincial of the West Indies, Fr Benjamin Gonzales Buelta denouncing the evils of the modern world, after a forceful attack on the powerful culture of the media:
New forms of poverty are arising, in the form of displaced people from cities and ethnic groups, street children, women exploited in free market zones or by international prostitution rings, delinquency and crime where the battle against drugs is raging. In consequence, the poor South is sending wave upon wave of immigrants northwards to an imagined paradise... The poor of these rich countries also become victims of the situation.
Confronted by these miseries unmasked by the media, societies are caught between emotional shock and a feeling of powerlessness. The emotion is short lived, be it at the price of a small financial contribution given to appeals made by non-governmental organisations, or through television. This frees people, once a small offering has been made, from any lasting commitment to those who suffer and are excluded.
The result is that society is living on its emotions, is lacking depth in its points of reference and any permanent foundation.
The implications of globalisation
From a strictly economic point of view, liberalism and globalisation go hand in hand. The former in some way facilitates the second, thanks to the increasing freedom in exchange of goods and services.
It would be not an exaggeration to say that globalisation leaves many people today totally confused, so that some groups of militants make it the scape-goat for every difficulty encountered. This radical critique embraces, both economic liberalism and globalisation without, so far, offering any alternative model.
There is progress in what, for want of a better expression, I would call the value of rootedness; shown not only in the protection of a particular form of consumerism and of local produce, but in the struggle against certain aspects of scientific progress (such as genetically modified organisms). It tends to strengthen a sense of belonging to one’s own social grouping, to one’s region and to one’s nation. The State is seen by many as having the role of a protector from the excesses, sometimes even the benefits of globalisation. Under such conditions, a frustrated nationalism rears its head alongside healthy and justified reactions.
Should this be considered a manifestation of what Sigmund Freud calls "the narcissism of little differences". One is tempted to think so when one observes how some nations are in a process of breaking up and the demands for independence on the part of ethnic, linguistic and territorial groups. Tendencies towards globalisation and disintegration are thus two dialectical phenomena of our time.
From another point of view, the struggle for freedom and for democracy continues to influence our contemporary history. The mighty totalitarian regimes are crumbling but there still remain large areas of the world where people are deprived of freedom and democracy. In the ideological and real battles which are to come, we shall have to distinguish once again between formal freedom and the real capacity for freedom, to use Raymond Aron’s approach. This problem will not disappear and it raises the question of the practical means by which one moves from freedom as presented in foundational documents to its lived reality for the individual.
Person and nature
Here we touch upon the key question concerning freedom which finds its expression in the movement which has led to promotion of women’s rights, firstly in the West and now in other parts of the world. It concerns ways of behaviour already established as demonstrated in both professional and private life.
At the same time, going back to one of the traditions attributed to Christianity (man having - it was said - received the power to use nature for his own ends), the protection of the environment has gained much ground in the last twenty years. The United Nations Organisation devoted one of its summit meetings at Rio in 1992 to this question. The problems involved have not all been spelt out; there are numerous controversies, constant tensions between the protectors of the environment and industry. Public opinion is always very concerned in the name of "zero risk".
The paradox lies in the confrontation between these two movements: "the liberation of woman" and the protection of nature. The same people who are the most demanding with regard to the protection of the environment and the preservation of nature are the most outspoken when it comes to birth control and abortion which is so prevalent and commonplace in Western societies. Whilst overstepping the limit in pushing their claims in this latter domain, they bring into question not only the view defended by the Church but also a view held by the laity of the integrity of the human person.
In this too we must see a form of extreme liberalism. As Octavio Paz stresses: "the very character of this approach, which is essentially critical, prevents it from proposing a meta-history in the manner of other great philosophies - liberalism banishes religion to the private sphere."1
Hence the fascination which many leading politicians have for what they call modernity, man becoming in the end "a little God". In the name of this modernity, and because opinion polls show that the majority of people are in agreement, nothing can stop this "liberation" from all constraints. There is not much public debate of importance on these matters, since in many countries, religion is a purely private affair.
One therefore forgets that each individual human being is unique and that there must be an absolute respect for his or her integrity, including the consequences which must derive from it regarding the limits to be imposed on genetic engineering. In other words, we have to go in search of a comprehensive and unified view of person and nature based on the same ethical principles.
The question of modernity
I have already referred to this convenient use of the word "modernity" which is so fashionable as an idea with its ability to justify all forms of change. It forgets that all serious analysis must begin by asking the question: what is unchanging and what can change? For some it is a pointless question. But is not this precisely what is forgotten in societies which have no memory and where everything takes place in the present moment?
Mgr Martini, the Archbishop of Milan, denounces it in these terms:
They live on impressions: what they read in newspapers, what they hear as rumours, what they see on television. They go from one to the other of these realities caught up in the maelstrom of their imagination with its fantasies and desires. One point of view quickly gives place to another, constantly under the influence of some form of excitement.2
People are talking all the time about the crisis in meaning. But what can one expect of a world which lives only for the present moment, a world born of the decline of religions and of the power of the media? The challenge is dramatic in its simplicity: can one have a future without the benefit of a memory, or without having the space and time to look and reflect. Gaston Berger, in pleading for the necessity of a forward vision, prefaces a question on meaning by saying: "To look at an atom is to change it, to look at a man is to modify him, to look at the future is to turn it upside down."
Modernity as a pretext cannot be substituted for reflection on the meaning of human life and on the future of the World and of our society. That is why, in my opinion, Pope John Paul II wanted, in his encyclical Reason and Faith, to relaunch philosophical, ethical and spiritual dialogue. Intellectuals have thus been invited to take up their responsibilities by a discussion which has depth as well as being global. The quest for human rights, often bearing the marks of idealism and good conscience, cannot free us from the obligation to reflect on our duty as thinking beings in the face of reality and the political, economic, and social factors at work today.
II Lived values: immutable and changeable
How does one distinguish the changing from the unchangeable? To attempt to do this has always seemed to me to be a very risky affair both from the intellectual and the political points of view.
I propose, at the risk of being once again too much under the influence of a western approach, to choose as examples of lived and dominant values: an individualism which I see as having gone to excess, the general thrust of the ideology of human rights, the cult of the immediate and finally the yearning for roots and points of reference in the midst of all the surrounding confusion.
A. Western Individualism
Doubtless one of the essential traits of this modernity is the rise of individualism whose multiple roots, leaving the moorings of philosophy, dare I say it, go down into the Christian religion.
The industrial revolutions have of course, played a key role in evolution, as has been stressed by historians of the last two centuries. And this by way of contrast with a form of communitarianism arising from a predominantly agricultural and rural economy. Then followed a variety of reactions against capitalism with the birth of class consciousness in the industrial centres themselves. This sense of solidarity in a common destiny was to provide the binding force in trade unionism. It would then filter through social reforms into the creation of systems of social protection and social security: the welfare society which has had its moments of glory, especially in Europe, after the second world war. The trades’union movement has spread further afield, with varying degrees of success, to other countries in the world.
In the same line of thought, as an antidote to excessive individualism, we have seen a movement towards mutual co-operation. This has been the result of a communal effort on the part of those directly interested to undertake various measures for protecting society or for the expression of social solidarity.
We have, however, to recognise that both the trades’unions and other forms of mutual association are experiencing the greatest difficulty in maintaining their influence. The consumer society is now fully established with all the necessary social back-ups. Henceforth the mobilisation of members of these organisations and of persons of good will is going to prove difficult. Thus as work contracts gradually become the concern of the individual, as cities become more and more encumbered with traffic, as the culture of leisure spreads its tentacles, it becomes increasingly difficult to bring interested people together and to maintain a sense of corporate solidarity. Too often man is a solitary individual lost in the crowd.
The evolution in patterns of behaviour has accelerated since 1950 and increased the tendency towards individualism: sexual freedom, the break down of the family, abandoned children. Everything is directed towards this quest for a life without any constraints. Paul Bruckner in The Eternal Euphoria calls it the duty of happiness: "This ideology which forces one to evaluate everything from the point of view of pleasure and of inconvenience, and the condemnation which banishes in disgrace those who do not subscribe to it."
B. The campaign for human rights
The process of globalisation, even if it terrifies many of our contemporaries, not only entails the development of exchanges, the questioning of existing powers (particularly at the national level) or of new breakdowns in relations between peoples. It leads to the slow emergence, resulting from the spread of information, of reactions and reflex responses beyond territorial frontiers. Everyone can see, on their television screen, events which scandalise them or touch them emotionally: revolts, repressions, tyrants, peoples suffering from oppression or more dramatically still from famine and disease.
This gives rise to serious reflection and a whole series of actions:
The question of human rights which became the subject, after the Second World War, of solemn declarations, has been increasingly in the public forum. Victims are becoming aware of their rights and are making their claims, whilst others living under more favourable conditions echo their feelings and offer their support. The United Nations has been pressed to get to grips with the question and it must be acknowledged that its interventions are becoming more and more frequent, even if its efforts are not always successful. Furthermore human rights are becoming a reality at a world level, following the creation of International Court for Criminal Justice, decided upon in Rome, and the International Court at the Hague.
The desire for human rights and justice come from the heart of society. Volunteers commit themselves to giving the whole or part of their time to the service of causes linked with human rights. The man in the street is moved to the extent of making a financial contribution. Who can describe the vast amount of work that has been done, at the cost of thousands of difficulties and at great risk by all these "soldiers of humanitarian aid"?
Has the world’s conscience been smitten? We must hope so and in any case encourage this vast work in the defence of all humanity and of solidarity in action.
But we shall nevertheless have to expect chaos as a part of the outcome.
On the one hand, following the same line of thought, there is an anti-globalisation front wanting to give expression to worries which one can clearly see and share. There is no question of a counter-project which would sketch out the principles for the organisation of our global village.
On the other hand, in the name of human rights, political demands of such an idealistic nature are being made of governments that the result will be the opposite of what is wanted. And so we return to the tragic dimension of human history: how can evil be overcome without an unlivable chaos ensuing. I have to admit that this would call for a great many explanations which go far beyond this present paper.
C. The cult of the immediate
This question throws into very clear relief the differences between the East and the West. There is no doubt that in China or India, to take examples which involve almost a third of the world’s population, the sense of time, the weight of traditions, the impact of the culture, and religious practices constitute barriers to this cult of the immediate.
Strangely, this cult plays a more important part in the public domain than in private sphere. People are still living with the ties of a family history and can make their own plans, even if the daily programme of life is subject to the effects of what I call, for want of a better expression, the fragmentation of thought and of time. Meanwhile the time given to remunerated work is being reduced, which should allow for time to be given to meditation, personal renewal and development.
This concerns man as a member of society and a citizen. With radio and television, one is subject to an almost infernal deluge of information, with a mere thirty seconds, a minute or two given to a topic. There is no reference to past events which could be linked with what is happening at the present moment. You will be able to understand better my allusion to McDonald’s fast food: "quickly made, quickly eaten, quickly forgotten". The same thing is true of the information given our people, gradually deprived of their power of memory, and shocked - because that indeed is the intention of the media - by the brutality of events or scandal so that they become emotionally involved. But this emotion as experienced by many of our contemporaries, sitting in an armchair in the front of the television, is ephemeral.
My description is obviously too generalised and verges on injustice. It says nothing of the efforts of a minority of television producers who try to reconstitute history so as to explain recent happenings which are in the news and thus make people think and discuss. But these programmes are not the ones broadcast at peak viewing times. We still have to find a means of intervention by which the media can make people think more deeply.
Is a spectator caught up in his emotions still a citizen? Does he really play a part in the life of the social group to which he belongs, in the life of the city? With the increasing number of opinion polls and referendums, is he not led to think that there is no need for militant commitment except from time to time in the form of his vote? Such is the disenchantment with democracy that abstentionism is ever on the increase.
This crisis in politics is extremely serious and is a real threat to democracy despite the fact the latter is still gaining ground from authoritarian types of regime!
The ravages of this dull and passive type of modernism is even affecting educational systems where basic subjects are giving place to teaching of a purely utilitarian nature. The promoters of this latter always defend what they are doing by saying that it is absolutely necessary in order to provide equal opportunities. In fact it is often the opposite which results with increasing number of adolescents who are unable to master the basic subjects of reading, writing and arithmetic, not to mention their lack of any historical or literary culture. The battle for equal opportunities is not won by reducing educational standards. But here also the cult of the immediate has reared its head in schools in the form of discussions about some piece of information or television programme.
D. The need for roots and points of reference
The current process of globalisation is leading to confusion. The cult of immediacy causes a rupture with the past and blindness regarding the future. Geographical mobility takes many people away from their place of birth and their family. They are drawn to the big cities but there they feel like tightrope walkers.
As always, man has within himself enough resources, without the assistance of charismatic leaders or demagogues, to react against the excesses into which he might fall; so there is no reason for being totally pessimistic.
Contemporary man needs roots. He can go in search of them in places associated with his past life and through family encounters. But he can also recreate them by leaving behind his anonymous existence in the great metropolis to live in a place where he can build his life on his best memories of the past. On other hand, he will spend more time travelling to work, yet he will once again find an environment and social ties which had been so lacking to him.
Others who are unable to exercise their freedom will be relegated to places where unemployment is prevalent with the insecurity it brings. They too will create forms of community life in defiance of a society which takes no notice of them.
However this need for points of reference goes beyond just dealing with daily life. It calls for a sense of belonging to some social group with a sense of identity. This gives rise to new forms of nationalism which often go hand in hand with anti-Americanism or the rejection of the establishment of a united Europe. I see in this the effect of the confusion caused by globalisation; it does not stop there. Hence the demands of minor ethnic or national groups for more autonomy or even independence; or again the increased importance of regional movements laying claim to their history and their language. They have rediscovered, in order to gain acceptance, the principle of subsidiarity. This principle has now to be given some positive content marked by responsibility and solidarity.
This tension between the global and the local is a key factor which can become, in the language of Aesop, "the best or the worst of all things". It is a challenge to both political thought and praxis at a time when politics are undeniably in crisis under the ever increasing pressure of economics and of excessive individualism.
III The Values to be Promoted
In fact there is a link between lived values and values which should, in my view, be affirmed. Sometimes they both have the same roots or run up against the same fears expressed by our contemporaries. It is a matter, maybe, of fighting against insidious forms of alienation as obstacles to the true development of the human person.
Learning how to live with others
Here we are dealing with an eternal law. However it appears in new garb when the debate on social justice springs up and the world begins to shrink as it were under the impact of globalisation.
May I take as my point of departure the task which UNESCO has entrusted to an international commission: to reflect on education in the 21st century. This commission, made up of members drawn from every continent and over which I presided, submitted a report entitled: Education: a treasure is hidden within. It set out four fundamental principles governing the formation of the individual: to learn how to know, to learn to do, to learn to be and finally to learn to live together. The report explains its reason for this final choice in this way:
It is a matter of learning to live together, of getting to know others, their history, their traditions and their spirituality. >From there, to create a new spirit which, born of the awareness of our growing interdependence and of a common analysis of the risks and challenges of the future, leads to the realisation of shared projects and even to working out the inevitable conflicts in a peaceful and intelligent manner.
When it is not just a question of social exclusion in each of our countries and in the world, our duty is to develop a good understanding of the other, to accept him with his differences and from there to move on to fight against the most serious forms of inequality and to build up a true pluralism.
John Rawls stresses the link between relationship with the other and the search for justice, when he affirms that justice can only be achieved by people who are free and equal, "that is as persons endowed with a moral personality which enables them to share in the life of a society seen as a system of cooperation on equal terms to their mutual benefit."
We will now go beyond the discussion of the rights of each member in any given society. The prerequisite for a positive advance is the understanding of the others, of their difficulties and their defects which are an obstacle to their inclusion in a more just society. It is a clear invitation not to withdraw into oneself: to leave the common place, the statements which soothe our conscience.
The vast field of life-long education must be approached from the point of view of respect for the other, which cannot exist without a better knowledge of history in general and of the history of religions in particular.
Is this a blatant contradiction of the ideas of Bernard Mandeville and Adam Smith, according to which society as a whole benefits from each person pursuing their own interests? The answer is to certain extent "yes" because one must insist on the difference between two lines of liberal thought: either the better man wins and bad luck for those cannot defend themselves, which I find unacceptable; or, economic merit must be rewarded but without going so far as to make it the only scale of values.
In other words, really living with others means understanding, a rejection of all forms of discrimination from the outset and the reinstatement of democratic forms of encounter, rather than a brutal confrontation with economic and social forces, that is to say with power.
However, this is not the mood of our times where only the creation of value (inherited or monetary) is taken as a criterion for success or the well-being of a society. This is in fact to confuse values and material wealth.
In taking up this position, I have no wish to succumb to some form of angelism. One has to deal with existing forces and master them. One has to recognise the tragic dimension of history. Nonetheless empathy is not useless, it can be encouraged by cultural development and a better understanding of the other.
It is in this spirit that we should set about establishing the basis of a more livable world order, because it is more transparent and more just. But the defence of the weak must not mean that one ignores one’s own failings, as for example in bad government, despotism and corruption which are at work in many countries. There once again a better understanding and desire to live together are essential if one is to win through.
The creation of a sense of belonging in community
In broaching this subject, I am not forgetting the need for roots and points of reference, just mentioned, when facing the tension between the global and the local and the fact of the individual isolated in the surrounding crowd as in the vast mass of humanity.
We must be builders of communities where each person can be themselves and come to maturity. Our task is to construct and sometimes reconstruct.
The building sites are many and to discuss them would take us too far afield as the roads to success vary. There is the rebuilding of the family as a basic unit of life; there is the application of the principle of subsidiarity in communal affairs which can managed at a very personal level; there is the development of a clear sense of belonging to a nation or the creation of new supranational bodies.
The philosophical basis is the same throughout. Man is not fully human if he entirely refuses to be part of a community or if he is thrown out of it by others. So we need, as has already been stressed, a politics of education, but also the politics of family and of establishing social groups.
This is, undoubtedly, the only way of fighting the excesses of individualism and new forms of social exclusion.
In this regard, I should like to dwell briefly on the lessons to be learnt from fifty years of building up Europe. At the outset there was the deep-seated desire that "never again should there be war between us", which was recognised at least amongst the members of the European Union. This initial aspiration nurtured by many Christians, the many meetings and expressions of solidarity, led to a better understanding between the peoples concerned. Doubtless, one can now say that we have achieved a sense of belonging to this collective body which is wider than the nation: an apprenticeship in unity in diversity and by way of consequence, a concrete and open form of internationalism.
Other continents are following this example, even if they have only reached the economic stage: MERCOSUR in South America and ASEAN in Asia.
Going beyond modernity
Without returning to a philosophical debate, one can say that the reference to modernity, means in common language, the break with the past, and particularly with periods of history when a transcendental view of existence was upheld.
This affirmation of the transcendental causes a problem for us in the West. I will come back to it. It leads above all to a confrontation with Eastern civilisations and cultures. For it is indeed in the East that a current of thought has developed which maintains that the birth of a modern society is not compatible with the maintenance of values and customs of ancient traditions, and a particular view of man’s place in the universe.
Break and continuity: the synthesis of these two a priori opposites will come perhaps from China or India, rather than the United States or Europe, which are so embedded in their materialism and hedonism. This is the reason for increasing the dialogues between the East and the West.
We must be careful, however, not to confuse the two debates which need to take place. The one concerns the acceptance of the two parameters of modernity: science and democracy; the other concerns ultimate finalities and supreme values, the gulf that exists for example between Christianity and Confucianism.
The obsession with modernity hardly helps us to find a solution to our problems. It is no use protesting against a world ruled by technology, standardisation, the society of the masses, the decline of community life… We have to regain control in the name of values which transcend technical and material progress.
How can modern man, the victim of his achievements, and often alienated by them, make them his own once again by giving them a meaning, or more precisely, the meaning of the Good and of the Beautiful?
And so I return to memory, the history of Humanity, to its moments of optimism, and of decadence, to its periods of tragedy when Evil has seemed unconquerable. We must assert that we, as the Heirs of this history, are the ones to take it forward. Our concern is to find out and make known what humanity has learnt about itself, the lessons that it must draw for its own life adventure.
Modernity is neither a complete break with the past, nor a simple repetition under the new forms of scientific and material progress. This reconquest of our history in its entirety can be the principal value in leading us to progress as human beings, always fragile yet charged with meaning. A new humanism may emerge where the spiritual dimension implicit within it will find its true place.
The personalist philosopher Jean Lacroix said in this regard:
The value of belief is to be measured by its capacity to lead the individual and humanity to progress: it is growth in being. To believe means opening up time to eternity.
These few reflections on norms lead on, in fact, to very simple principles which are inter-linked: freedom, solidarity and responsibility. The first spreads progressively at the expense of forms of totalitarianism. The second has known its hours of glory in healthy societies, but today is under threat. Whereas the third is often lacking. However this principle of responsibility, individual or collective, is at the heart of all efforts for renewal.
The Christian’s responsibility, whatever his position in life, is as always enormous and demanding.
"Theology", as Hans Urs von Balthasar insists, "has no direct competence for questions concerning the structures of this world. It leaves the Christian free to make his own way, equipped with an image of what man is and on the basis of which he can do his best to structure human societies."
It is not for me to go further with these thoughts, especially in this gathering. It remains to be said that being present to the world is not to be confused with presence in the world. The gift of self, prayer, meditation and otherness are vital contributions to the emergence of a new type of citizenship and to the discovery of the meaning of all life.
1. The other voice -1992
2. Trial and Perseverance - 1993
Born in Paris in 1925, Jacques Delors joned the Popular Republican Movement (MRP) in France as a youth and later a Christian trades union. He became Minister of the Economy and Finance 1981-84. His name is linked in France to the "Delors plan" of 1983 which fought inflation following devaluation of the franc. He was a European deputy 1979-81, President of the Commission of European Communities 1985-1995 and has been President of the Council of Administration of the European College since 1996.
We have 175 guests and no members online