From Job to Holocaust, when man and history meet suffering

Press Meeting

Witnesses From Julián Carrón, Salvatore Natoli, Mario Melazzini

Rimini, Monday August 20th – Last Monday at Intesa San Paolo Hall a conference was held that fo-cused on Job’s life and the human suffering. The Meeting also dedicated an amazing exhibition to Job, a man who “endures adversities”. This lecture kept everyone at the edge of their seats for two young actors and musicians (Massimo, Paolo, but also Mirna and Yazan from Syria) also attended the meeting. They brought musical pieces, biblical verses and literary texts (from Montale to Luzi and Caproni, from Wiesel to Chesterton and Yossi Rakover), it all helped with achieving a summer miracle. Monica Maggioni, journalist in RAI, introduced the speakers: father Julián Carrón, president of the Communion and Liberation Fraternity and professor of Theology; Mario Melazzini, Director of AIFA (Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco); Salvatore Natoli, philosopher and professor of Theoretical Philosophy.

Monica Maggioni pulled the strings of human suffering, starting from the misfortunes of this man from the land of Uz, to the great tragedies of the twentieth century, especially the Holocaust. A Journey to find the reason for the pain evil in the world, or for the human soul and their responsibility. Speakers tried also to explain how the humankind dealt with the pain and the evil during centuries. Father Carrón and Melazzini spoke of the closeness of a God who exists and who can help in everything. «A God towards whom» – said Carrón – «Job like Jesus and like many other humans did not let doubt take over them but from an experience of love and life a bond was born».

Job had everything that a hard working Hebrew could wish for.

Then the evil challenged him in order to see if Job loved God only because he was generous to him. «Yet at the end – said Natoli – Job showed that God must be loved without expectations, for an experience of absolute love. Thus Job turns to God telling him: «In spite of everything, I do not want to lose you».

«Until the eighteenth century, mankind used to talk to God whose love continued to have experience and memory – Carrón explained – . «Then something changed and the modern mentality uses pain and grief to prove the existence of God. The interlocutor is missing and there is no longer a question». «We return – as professor Natoli pointed out – to the sorrow of the ancient Greeks, interpreted as a fact of nature and not in terms of justice, in the manner of the Jews, who always consulted God».

But couldn’t God do anything in front of the Shoah ? «No – Natoli replied – to intervene on the pain inflicted by man on another man, God should take away the freedom of the man himself. We are responsible for our bad actions». «The scandal of evil is the scandal of freedom – added Carrón – . We would like a world without freedom, but God does not prefer mechanical obedience, he wants people to have individual freedom. Pain challenges our reason, freedom, and ability to stand before all reality».

To doctor Melazzini, who’s sixty years old, and suffering from ASL, shares his story as example of “Job of the XXI century”. Like Job he had everything initially, but when he was diagnosed with ALS, he felt lost and he thought to the assisted-suicide as an option (he was already in contact with a Swiss clinic to make it happen). However, then he understood that illness is part of life, and that is not a punishment but «an added value». «Because before I knew You by hearsay, now I met You» he immediately added speaking directly to God. Then he concluded saying that there is a Job in everyone. Then, Maggioni closed the meeting saying that the purpose of this conference was not to make a rhetorical speech, but to give a different prospective of life.