Angelo Cardinal Scola Angelo Cardinal Scola
Patriarch of Milano, Italy
Cardinal Priest of Seven Most Holy Apostles
Nov 07, 1941
Oct 21, 2003
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English The Patriarch of Venice Has a Dream: A "Mestizaje" of Civilizations
Apr 13, 2009
And his philosopher friend has written about how to get there. But the road between the religions is strewn with obstacles, especially between Christianity and Islam. Archbishop Teissier tells about what happened in his Algeria, divided between repression and respect for religious freedom

by Sandro Magiste

> ROME, April 1, 2009 – On the cover of the book are a question and a photo. The photo shows the confluence of the Amazon River and the Rio Negro: waters of different colors run next to each other, and then mix together. The question is in the title: "Mestizaje: coexistence, or confusion?".
> In effect, the word "mestizaje" does not enjoy a good reputation in contemporary language. Born from the interbreeding between Spanish and Indians after the discovery of the Americas, it brings to mind conquest and subjection. Or, if it is associated with modern multiculturalism, it evokes confusion, a mishmash of persons and civilizations, juxtaposed without any comprehension.
> And yet, a wager has been made on a "mestizaje of civilizations" by one of the churchmen most closely engaged in interpreting and directing relationships among peoples, religions, and cultures: Cardinal Angelo Scola, the patriarch of Venice.
> The book is an important phase in this program. It is published by Marcianum Press, the publishing house of the patriarchate of Venice. The author is Paolo Gomarasca, a professor of philosophy and anthropology at the Catholic University of Milan.
> ***
> Cardinal Scola was the first to launch the idea of the "mestizaje" in 2004, when he created an international foundation in Venice aimed at mutual understanding and encounter between the West and Islam. The foundation is called "Oasis," and publishes a magazine by the same name in four distinct versions: in Italian, in French and Arabic, in English and Arabic, and in English and Urdu.
> For the patriarch of Venice, the "mestizaje of civilizations" is a process taking place before the eyes of all, extended all over the world and in constant acceleration, as never before. It is a process that "does not ask for permission to happen," it simply is. There is no point in imagining that one can stop it. What is needed, instead, is to judge it critically and "orient it toward ways of life that are good, personal, and social." This is especially important "for us, men of religion, convinced that all peoples are part of a single human family, and that God guides history."
> From this emerged the idea of organizing this process, and conceptually first of all. The book by Professor Gomarasca reconstructs the history of the "mestizaje" of civilizations, from the discovery of the Americas until today, a history that is also the history of its more or less faulty interpretations, from that of colonialism to that of multiculturalism.
> But Gomarasca does not merely observe and describe. He points out a path to follow. The key category that he brings into play is that of filiation:
> "The 'mestizaje' is something new that emerges from the relationship of one with another, but cannot be reduced either to the one or to the other, it is an effect that transcends both. Let us take for example what happens in the New World: who are the 'mestizos' if not children whose mixed identity calls upon the consciences of their white fathers, who suddenly realize that they cannot be the only ones? Filiation, as an acknowledgment of a common origin, is a necessary condition for the good life."
> The family and free civil society are the natural "places of acknowledgment" and of the implementation of this mingling of persons, peoples, cultures. And so are the religions:
> "Granted that the religions are capable of giving public reasons for their faith, it is essential to evaluate the contribution of truth that they can provide to the thought about the essential relationality of that which is human."

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