Let’s Set Reason Free

Press Meeting

Final Press Release
of the 27th Rimini Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples

Of the over 120 meetings at the 2006 Rimini Meeting, one was dedicated to the presentation of the first Arabic edition of The Religious Sense by Father Giussani. This book summarizes his thought, his proposal, and the main aspects of our western tradition. Professor Wa’il Farouq, of the University of Cairo, and Said Shoaib, a journalist from Cairo, spoke at this meeting.
Prof. Wa’il said, “reason and realism are two fundamental concepts in Father Giussani’s book, which presents a new definition of these concepts.” He explained that the Arabic root of the word “realism” is “falling from the sky.” “Since events fall from the sky, man has no alternative other than resigning oneself. This results in the absence of man’s freedom in his relationship with reality, a relationship lacking in the structure of Arab conscience”. As a consequence, the concept of realism is “amputated”. Regarding reasonableness, Wa’il said that “in Arabic the main meaning of the word reason is ‘to bind, to imprison, to lock up.’ Mind and reason have always been in eternal conflict with religion, to such an extent that Islamic fundamentalists have even accused intellectuals of apostasy.” He concluded, “This book not only opens new horizons to the Arab world, but also paves the way to a true dialogue among cultures. By recovering this elementary experience, humanity will be able to find this common language with which to dialogue. Through your presence you have made the first step towards the other.”
Reason is “imprisoned” in the West, too. Reduced to the measure of all things, it culminates in relativism—as Benedict XVI always reminds us—and in nihilism. Thus it seems there is nothing worth living for. However, this year’s Meeting showed—in following Father Giussani’s charism—that man’s reason is a “window opened wide on reality.” The Meeting contributed to “setting reason free” by means of its presentations and discussions on science, culture, economics and politics, its exhibits and shows. By the testimony of those who participated in them, the Meeting began to set this culture free from a position that, in rejecting an adequate use of reason, becomes fatalism, fideism, and inevitably war. Thus the Meeting was a place of encounter, friendship, and dialogue. In other words, peace.The title of the 2007 Meeting, which will take place in Rimini from August 19th to 25th and deepen this experience, is “Truth is the Destiny for which We Have Been Made.”
Rimini, Italy, 8/26/2006