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Giussani Series 2020 – From Utopia to Presence

Saturday, September 19, 2020 @ 3PM (EST)

The 2020 Giussani Series on Faith and Modernity

An online conversation on Fr. Giussani’s distinctive proposal on faith and social commitment, put to the test in the current social unrest.

With Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law, Duke Divinity School.

John Zucchi, Professor of History, McGill University.

Moderated by Paolo Carozza, Professor of Law and Director, Kellogg Institute for International Studies, University of Notre Dame.


Christians in the US are facing the dramatic question of how to engage with major social issues like racism. Some feel that they have a duty to “do something,” while others fear the ideological and destructive mindset of some of the protest movements. Holding an original and creative Christian position is hard, and the temptation to align with one of the two major political sides is strong.

European Catholics faced a very similar dilemma in the wake of the historic student protests of 1968, and their experience still has something to teach us. The question of the engagement of Catholics in a society torn by civil strife was the subject of a deep reflection by Monsignor Luigi Giussani, the founder of the movement of Communion and Liberation. The very name of the movement he started reflected a conscious decision to try to bring what is most specific to Christianity (Communion) to bear on the aspirations for justice that shape our society (Liberation).

In an online conversation moderated by Prof. Paolo Carozza, renowned theologian Stanley Hauerwas, and history professor John Zucchi will revisit a classic text by Fr. Giussani from 1976, “From Utopia to Presence.” In this text, Fr. Giussani addressed precisely the question of how Christians should participate in social life and respond constructively to the challenges posed by social justice movements like those active today in America.

About the Giussani Series on Faith and Modernity
Fr. Luigi Giussani is well-known as the founder of the Catholic movement Communion and Liberation. He is less known for being an original and innovative thinker and educator, who was able to break through the conventional opposition between liberalism and traditionalism, and to propose Christianity in a way that answers the challenges of our time. To make his thought known to a wider public, Crossroads, in collaboration with New York Encounter, has established the “Giussani Series on Faith and Modernity” to annually present a specific aspect of Fr. Giussani’s rich theological and pedagogical thought.

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