Philosophical Aspects of "Il Senso Religioso"

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Alexandria— A seminar, marking the launch of the Arabic translation of the "Il Senso Religioso" by Monsignor Luigi Giussani ,was held at the BA on Friday, 15 June 2007. The Speakers were Prof. Mario Mauro, Vice President of the European Parliament; Mr. Robert Fontolan, Director of the International Center of Communion and Liberation, Rome; Prof. Wael Farouk, American University in Cairo; Prof. Ambrogio Pisoni, Professor of Theology, Catholic University of Sacred Heart, Milan; and Father Christian, Paris University. The seminar was co-organized by the BA Alexandria and Mediterranean Research Center (Alex-Med) and Tawasul Center in Cairo, and moderated by Dr. Hecham Sadek, Professor of Law at the Alexandria University.

At the onset of the seminar, Dr. Mohamed Awad, Director, Alex-Med, welcomed the guests and gave the floor to Prof. Mario Mauro, who started his talk by analyzing the root of the word "dialogue" into two syllables "dia" meaning "real" and logus" meaning "word" or "meaning" or "logic". Thus, dialogue is the process of conveying the meaning between two persons or more and is a natural pattern of communication that should be our target when discussing "understanding among religions". Mauro emphasized the importance of dialogue among religions, as one of the most important notions of Monsignor Luigi Giussani in his book "Religious Sense" published for the first time in the fifties.

Mr. Robert Fontolan discussed "Il Senso Religioso" by Monsignor Luigi Giussani, one of the best sellers, read by thousands of men and women of all ages and religions. Fontolan spoke on the impact left on himself and his colleagues when reading the book, as Giussani raised several questions; "on which human level lies the religious sense?", "what are the things to which we should devout our lives?", and "what is the truth of our existence?". For Fontolan, the book is a way to the mercy of Our Creator away from a certain belief.

Father Christian emphasized the role which the book can play in conciliation between religions, despite the fact that religious differences is the direct cause of many conflicts and wars nowadays. But the methodology of Giussani in linking religious sense to the human state treats the notion of rejecting the other. Belief, to Giussani, is the achievement of human freedom, as late Monsignor emphasizes the relationship between religious spirit and thought, religion does not clash with mind. Belief does not close the door for questioning and research, it is some sort of criticism allowing research, rather than imposing a certain ideology on others.

Prof. Wael Farouk focused in his talk on identity and the other and how these two notions were presented in "Il Senso Religioso". Farouk sees the concept that we acquire our identity through rejecting the other as unrealistic. The crisis of the Arab identity is a result of "imitation and lack of effectiveness". He added that the question of identity and the other is what really attracted him to the book. Giussani classifies the other as: "the nature, realism, and rationality", while identity is "a matter and creation"; human heritage and traditions are not someone's identity, they are the raw material that formulates the identity through a certain life style.

A session of questions and answers followed Dr. Farouk's talk, in which speakers answered the questions of attendants on the concept of dialogue among religions.


© Bibliotheca Alexandrina