Rethinking the future is a necessary, albeit difficult task. The future is usually unknown by anyone, but one can still learn from the past. In order to embark on this arduous endeavour we should not look at what and where we failed but on what we should have done in order not to fail again. Crying over spilt milk does not serve much. It might only cause us to remain stuck in a post mortem reflection. We should, however, help each other to free ourselves from uncertainties about the immediate future. We should also avoid the risk of hurried decisions, resulting from present anxieties. Ideally, we should pursue a calm global consideration by all stakeholders.
In order to lay solid foundations for a better future, the strategy to be adopted, should be, in my opinion, based on the art of dialogue, where ideas are shared, imbued with humility and honesty, fostering an environment where the parties involved are reciprocally enriched. To begin a dialogue with the firm intention to enforce one’s opinion would not be a dialogue at all but only two people engaged in monologue. Similar dialogues would not produce solutions but create additional problems.
Several pacts, throughout recent history, were not honoured. This not only resulted, in the arrest of the developmental flow of human progress, but also in its reversal. In fact, many senseless conflicts are still raging everywhere. This excludes the many conflicts not reported on mainstream media.
This argument was highlighted recently by both the Secretary-General of the United Nations and that of the European Union. They expressed their sadness in seeing that the “WE” has been diluted by the “I” and where some countries which were expected to pull together in this particular moment, pulled away.
The crux of the issue lies in what should be discussed and promoted for the benefit of our society, for a true and endurable human progress, where the common good is achieved, where justice is rightly enacted, and people live together in peace.
We should seek to establish the respect for life, from its initial heartbeat to the last thought, the protection of our health in all its aspects, the care for the environment, considered as the common heritage of humanity, education and culture for a more humane and civil society, a new way of conceiving the global economy, guidelines for social media so that truth is guaranteed, love of one’s nation…the list is endless.
The Pastoral Constitution on “The Church in the modern world”, the last document of the Second Vatican Council, is still valid although promulgated over 50 years ago. Already in the Preface, the Council states: “For the human person deserves to be preserved; human society deserves to be renewed” (n. 3). The message holds for State and Church alike.
Considering the mission which is proper to the Church, interestingly enough, the Council proposes dialogue as a way forward, as factually we are doing in our reflection on rethinking the future. Hence, mutual esteem, reverence and harmony within the Church herself, dialogue with brothers and communities not yet living in full communion with the Church, dialogue with all those who acknowledge God, and who preserve in their traditions precious elements of religion and humanity, dialogue with those who cultivate outstanding qualities of the human spirit, but do not yet acknowledge the Source of these qualities (cf. n. 92).
Returning to our present claustrophobic experience, we can still feel disoriented and scared. However, it is encouraging to observe that the darker the night, the farther the view into the open skies. And for us Christians, who are celebrating the Resurrection of the Living Lord, doubt gives way to certainty, death gives way to life, the past gives way to a new future.
Rev. Dr Joseph Zammit JUD, Ecclesiastical Judge