into a procedural vision of society, and its concept of democracy is that of an empty container. Differences will therefore be formally respected, but this respect is so aloof that in practice it is little more than ignorance.
This is why it has become necessary to re-think the idea of democracy: "the current multi-culturalism in Europe, largely due to the mixing of peoples through migration, calls for a re-thinking of some of the key ideas of democracy"9. The Christian perspective affirms the substantive profile of democracy, as a belief and as a duty10. In this framework the first responsibility is the "protection of the identity of persons and of groups together with freedom and equality"11, so that society should not be reduced to a mere market and ethnic-local communities should not build themselves up as an absolute.
Interculturality as a pastoral and pedagogical responsibility
There is an urgent need for a non-empirical re-thinking. The epoch-making mutation that is underway in our social-cultural context calls for a profound pastoral conversion. From the self-referential and repetitive paradigm of "caring for souls" (a pattern of concentric circles) and that of belonging, there is need to shift to a new paradigm: an evangelization that is missionary and creative (a network pattern): "the mobility of the modern world must be matched by the pastoral mobility of the Church12.
1. The unease of diversity
The pastoral neutralization of migration and all that it entails often takes a shortcut - that of truisms and rhetorical devices: from the (theological) romanticism that tends to see only the interesting and positive aspects of cultures, to the euphoria of abstract multi-culturalism, in which an appreciation of difference somewhat clumsily makes up for a void of content and a shallow identity. Those who subscribe to this naive cultural pluralism have magical expectations for some positive contribution from a reality that is in itself highly ambivalent. The risk is papering over the complex dynamics of modern society.
2. Pastoral approach
Having rejected cultural homogeneity, which globalizes consumption patterns, while it ghetto-izes human relations and fuels cultural parochialism, pastoral work is rediscovering the dynamics of evangelization in its daily practice.
The general approach is necessarily that of an open and frank dialogue, which is neither antagonistic nor camouflaged. Dialogue is neither an alternative nor a complement to announcing the Gospel. It is a specific method, a form of authentic evangelizing testimony.
It would be very sad, as well as being ephemeral, if the Western world were to close ranks behind an identity that has been re-discovered antagonistically to face the tragic recklessness of blood-shedding aggression.
9A. PEROTTI, Seminario CEI, Rome, Nov. 7-8, 2003.
10Cf. JOHN PAUL II, Evangelium vitae, 70; discorso ai partecipanti all'incontro mondiale dei docenti universitari, Sept. 9, 2000, n. 6.
11A. PEROTTI, Seminario CEI, Rome, Nov. 7-8, 2003.
12PAUL VI, Discorso al convegno europeo sulla pastorale dei migranti, AAS 65 (1965) 591.