Is the world the result of chance? As a scientist, I can easily view it as the extraordinary development of a blind principle, a winner-take-all contest among the various beings for light and resources. This is a reading of things which, on the basis of purely immanent and material principles, I cannot deny.
Not satisfied with this “explanation,” some speak of an anthropic principle, which focuses on the earth’s unity and the extraordinary coincidence of factors which make possible human life. Among these factors are the material constants, which, had they differed by even the slightest degree, would not have been able to generate the stability of temperature and the abundance of atomic connections which produce carbon, necessary for all forms of life that we know. Certainly one can pile up evidence that the earth is a special place. But here too, this evidence does not require the conclusion that the earth is the work of a good creator.
There are experiences, too, which suggest that everything is not just matter and energy: complex experiences, such as love, or conscience, or freedom. If everything were matter, where would freedom reside? In the brain or in the heart? In the liver? No one has been able to say. Even the question itself seems a contradiction, since to speak of freedom is to speak of something immaterial which nonetheless acts on matter, such as my fingers which are now typing. Some say that freedom or conscience are “emergent” phenomena: if you put together enough neurons, at a certain point they become capable of watching themselves in action. This seems a bit like sweeping the dust under the rug: you no longer see the problem, but it’s still there all the same.
Once a scientist said to me that freedom is an illusion. I responded by dousing him with my glass of water – to which he replied that this too was an action determined by my culture and my genes, and that I had not done it freely…
This example brings me to my point. In the final analysis there are only a few basic paths for interpreting reality. My act of faith is to believe in the unity of the real. One could also believe in the ultimate irrationality of everything, or that all is a projection of one’s own mind. These seem inelegant paths, however, which lack seriousness, especially when we observe the extraordinary rationality of the world. Nonetheless, all of these are acts of faith.
It is curious that reality can be interpreted in various ways and that, if one confines himself to particulars, many things can be explained in a purely materialistic manner. Indeed it is characteristic of God not to interfere with our interpretation. The creator does not force himself on our understanding, nor does he oblige us to acknowledge him – a style we also notice in the parables. Jesus offered himself to each person’s freedom, without compelling them with ironclad reasons. And even to the explicit question, “Are you the Christ?,” he responded mysteriously. He wants us to cling to him with our whole selves, neither as slaves obligated by His will, nor as intellectual slaves, constrained by a syllogism which leaves out the heart.
foto Juan Fco. Marrero
The Holy Father has named .
Below is the letter sent by Msgr. Camisasca to the members of the Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo.
To all of the members of the Fraternity of St. Charles
This morning the Holy See announced that the Holy Father Benedict XVI wished to appoint me bishop of Reggio Emilia – Guastalla, thereby joining me to the College of the successors of the Apostles.
It is a decision that honors me, but especially one that honors our Fraternity.
The close bonds of affection and vocation which exist between me and all of you require that I say something more to you. I would have desired to remain with you always, occupied wholly and only with all of you. Not only have I done nothing to pursue other tasks, but I have done everything I could to avoid them – to the point of expressing to my highest Superiors my wish to continue to serve the Church by serving your lives. In the end, I have placed myself under the will of the Holy Father.
Certainly, the practical forms of our relationship will now change, but nothing can remove my fatherhood towards you. And this will remain so, while taking nothing away from the new people that is now entrusted to me. We know from our experience that love can, by the Spirit’s gift, spread itself without diminishing.
Speaking with the confidence which I can allow myself with you, I do not hide from you that, as the day of my episcopal consecration draws near, I have experienced moments of dismay. To leave those who have lived with me for many years in an intense bond of shared responsibility, to leave each of you, to leave the daily rapport with the seminarians, to live in a new city, to face new responsibilities… all of this has been a source of great pain for me. In the end I have abandoned myself to the will of God and have regained peace, placing myself in the arms of the mother of God, Mary most holy.
I thank each of you for the witness of obedience that you have given me during these twenty-seven years. Above all for the intense communion that we have lived, both in the many happy hours, and in the times of trial. I would like to mention many names, indeed the names of all of you.
Allow me here to simply mention Gianluca Attanasio and Paolo Sottopietra, who have been my two closest friends and invaluable collaborators during these last twenty years. With them I also remember Msgr. Paolo Pezzi, now archbishop of Moscow, the first bishop from the ranks of our Fraternity.
I am certain that your prayers for me will not be wanting, nor the help from heaven of our holy patrons and that of Fr. Giussani. I will have much need of them.
I hope to see you soon, both at my episcopal consecration and at my entrance into the Diocese – and then to receive you personally when, passing through what will by then be my new city, you wish to visit me.
I know already that I have your promise, indeed your desire, to love and obey my successor and his collaborators, just as you have done with me.
God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus (Phil 1,8).
One by one, I embrace you in the Lord, who is our peace.
don Massimo Camisasca
Rome, 29 September 2012
Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels