Friday 28 November 2014

Unity in Diversity

Pope Francis speaks to the European Parliament of unity in diversity, of the need to allow persons to express their individuality and creativity, both as individuals and as peoples:
The motto of the European Union is United in Diversity. Unity, however, does not mean uniformity of political, economic and cultural life, or ways of thinking. Indeed, all authentic unity draws from the rich diversities which make it up: in this sense it is like a family, which is all the more united when each of its members is free to be fully himself or herself. I consider Europe as a family of peoples who will sense the closeness of the institutions of the Union when these latter are able wisely to combine the desired ideal of unity with the diversity proper to each people, cherishing particular traditions, acknowledging its past history and its roots, liberated from so many manipulations and phobias. Affirming the centrality of the human person means, above all, allowing all to express freely their individuality and their creativity, both as individuals and as peoples.
What does this imply for interculturality? 

In the case of our young missionaries from Vietnam, and India, and Africa and elsewhere, to Europe: it means a healthy respect for the culture into which they are entering.

On the part of our confreres who receive them, it equally implies a deep respect for the culture of this Other. 

In our larger formation communities, I think it would imply a certain mutuality. Coming from another country, I am certainly called to appreciate the culture that is receiving me. But on the other hand, that culture and the confreres of that culture are called to open themselves - pur con fatica - to this Other, these Others... 

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