Asian democracy is invariably uneven, ranging from the regressive democracy of Myanmar, Philippines and Vietnam to the more authoritarian in China, South Korea, and finally the more robust democracy of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. Democracy is a phase in the political theory of Barbara Geddes who explains how the different kind of totalitarian regimes, from military, single-party, personalist, or amalgams of pure types, morph into different post less-totalitarian and more democratized regimes. In other words, democratization leads to the downfall of dictatorship which is facilitated by poor short-term economic performance. On the other hand, greater economic development leads the citizens to demand for greater democratic governance.

Some people broke my office window in the middle of the night and came in to search for evidences against them, they give me death threat” said a Jesuit priest from Gujarat who is a human rights activist. I was in his office to learn about his works and it was the time of national 2014 elections. During this time, when many citizens were buying the pro-development agenda of a promising political party; there were some who were constantly ensuring the safeguard of democracy. This tug of war among the citizens got the nation a ruling government which is no less than a nightmare.

On February 8th, 2018 the Neue Zürcher Zeitung gave an article dealing critically with the coalition treaty negotiated the day before between CDU/CSU and SPD the title “More state – less freedom”. Neither the coalition treaty not the criticism is of interest here. I would rather like to direct your attention and your interest towards the connection between state and freedom insinuated in that title. If that title is based on a quasi-physical model of communicating tubes, then the inversion “Less state – more freedom” is valid, too, and the comparative formula “The more state – the less freedom” and its inversion are valid as well. That those formulas express the political creed of a lot of contemporaries doesn’t need closer explanation. Hence I want to turn to the question which understanding of freedom on the one hand and state on the other is manifested in those formulas supplementing one another.

The MEIC, Italian member of Icmica Pax Romana, meeting in the monastery of Camaldoli in Tuscany for its annual session, asked itself, by listening and dialogue, how to imagine and implement forms of participation in society and within the Christian community.

Democracy

   

                We look with great concern at this historic moment, which is characterised by a crisis of democratic forms of participation and governance and, more deeply, of the very principles of democracy. The idea prevails that governing means opposing interests, thus exasperating rather than healing the social divisions: between Italians and foreigners, between north and south, between poor and rich, between young and old, between those who have guarantees and those who have not, between national needs and European responsibilities ...

We are aware, as men and women who care about civil and democratic life, that we have responsibilities in not having always grasped the extent of this process of degradation of democracy. As Christians and citizens we therefore consider it urgent:
- to rediscover those values and that civil passion that inspired the moment of the country's democratic construction when it was possible to combine a political vision of the common good with skills;
- to actively participate again in the social and political debate, convinced that, in the confrontation between different instances and in the search for adequate mediation, a cohesive civil community is built which is open to the future;
- to commit ourselves to building itineraries of political culture, relaunching the European project on a popular and institutional level for an inclusive coexistence, based on solidarity, in the context of a social market economy;
- collaborate with other associations and lauch study initiatives to meet the global challenges of our time, such as the divorce between truth and communication and the separation between finance and the real economy, seeking possible solutions and promoting good practices at the local level (as also suggested by Pope Francis in Laudato Si');
- promote the introduction of new forms of participation in the system of representative democracy in order to inform, discuss and deliberate on key issues.

Synodality

Synodality is a constitutive dimension of the Church, a dimension yet to be realized in the ordinary experience of our communities. As Christians we therefore consider it urgent:
- to create networks of relationships, contributing to the development of a model of the Synodal Church that recognizes and values the charisms of each individual;
- to initiate a reflection on the role of the laity in the decision-making processes of the Church, starting from the parish level, valuing the skills of each person in a style of co-responsibility with equal dignity;
- to contribute to fraternal dialogue among the Christian Churches, promoting an exchange of good practices and experimenting with forms of synodality;
- to have formative paths to common synodality for lay people and priests;
- to promote community discernment on ecclesial and civil matters, and to exercise co-responsibility in the decision, execution and verification of the choices made.

Translated from Italian by Philippe Ledouble

    The collapse of the Morandi bridge in Genova and the story of the ship Diciotti waiting for disembarkment of refugees in Sicily: as often happens, many Italians suddenly discovered themselves experts in great infrastructural works and migratory flows and used above all the social medias to convey opinions, invectives, often grudges.

Ethical foundations of the State's authority

1 From anthropology of indigence to justice and from justice to love: the ethical foundation of authority and participation.

   Human life is enclosed within two parentheses that open and close it and that are expressed emblematically in the crying of the newborn and in the rale of the dying. These gestures, whose immediate explanation is in the biological field, can be assumed as a sort of metaphysical parable of the person. They are the sign of a need, not a need focused on a particular good, but, much more radically, they express "the need to be". The person is able to respond to many of his or her needs, but can never eliminate the need for his or her life. The perspective of which we speak is not that of Marx or Freud, for whom man is rich in needs; in these authors the needs are grasped at the moment of their historical expression. In the argumentative line of reflection that is instead presented here, one does not want to deny the existence of needs in the plural, but to emphasize the fact that they find their hermeneutic root in the person as "being of need". 

   The SIIAEC (*) Pax Romana Assembly held from 20th to 22nd April 2018 reflected on the question of Solidarity in Europe. The European Union was supposed to set good example of democracy, human rights and rules of law, but nationalists and populists have come to power in several EU countries, although in a democratic way. The situation in such countries, earlier belonging to the Soviet Bloc, requires special attention. Their ruling parties believe that political will is above law. We know of this attitude and its consequences from recent history. The aim of this statement is to invite our members to take part in the renewal of the EU project. 

 On June 28, 2018, Duterte gave a speech at his hometown, Davao City, where he slammed the “God” From the book of Genesis as “Stupid”. “What He did was, Eve eats the apple, then she wakes up Adam... So Adam eats the apple. Then malice was born. Who is this stupid God ? That [expletives] is really stupid if that’s the case,” Duterte said.

This “God” that he was referring to is “the Alpha and the Omega”. God is omnipotent. God is bigger than anything, everything, and anyone. God does not need defending nor proving.  Any speeches against our God are irrelevant including that of Duterte’s. Such blasphemous speech was  a blessing in disguise that paved the way to a sudden national awakening. Filipinos have realized that the popular President, who was then against our Pope, is really against our  God, the Father, and against our Christ.

As a result, the President's popularity and approval ratings went downhill from 72% in December 2016 to 45% in June  2018, according to the country’s Social Weather System (S.W.S.). The way to enlightenment has been hard and excruciating. The majority of the population have become disoriented.  There  has  been  no  clear  leadership  to  oppose  the  populist.  They  do  not  know  where  to stand and whom to trust.