Austrians, Spanish – Catalan, French, Poles, Ukrainians : SIIAEC met in Warsaw from 20 to 22 April for its statutory meeting on the theme “Solidarity in Europe”.

Lectures from Members of European Parliament, University Professors and from the Representative of Pax Romana at the Council of Europe, allowed participants exchanging and reflecting on “fraternity” and “populism”.  A series of points have thus emerged to help each of us to better understand and progress, personally and together on such important subjects.

Populisms insidiously influence judgments under the “appearance of good” and by manipulating the “fears”, which are so sensitive to the human heart. In a world whose complexity is increasing and unpredictability is accelerating, it becomes reassuring to provide “simplistic” answers. Their validity seems based on an indisputable and universal clarity… while recent studies show that political lies progress all the faster as the level of education and critical thinking diminish.

When the “globalized common good” becomes too big for my heart, I am easily tempted to shrink it to the size of my “personal well-being” that my hands can grip. The retreat into the perimeter of familiar selfishness (“my” money, « my » identity, « my » culture, « my » beliefs,…) is more natural than daring the call of the one who is a “foreigner” to me.

And yet, Pope Francis’ questions about our way of living in the “Common House” have been listened all around the world. A wake-up call on the fact that “everything is linked”: from the deepest of our hearts to the universality of our planet’s future; from our today’s decisions to the future of the coming generations; from the insatiable greed of our richnesses to the living brotherhood of our human fragilities.

As Christians, this call revives Jesus’ one: to release all the nets that are our prisons. Instead of accepting our limits which make it so easy to say “too great… I can do nothing about it” or “a simple drop of water… it is useless”, let us advance together into deep water, following Him with confidence.

On this daily path of truth and life, let me dare to humbly act for a “common house”, which is built through proximity, neighbourhoods, and caring of all those who are “poorer than me” (food, education, health, comfort, resources, friendship,…). Resisting to the temptation of « making charity with money of the others”, let me select areas of personnal engagement where I can truly give my heart, my hands and my skills to the service of those who await me. Living with my « head… on the heaven », but « feet… on the ground », far from simple injunctions or pious wishes…. that put me “above” realities. Guided by this gentle duty of listening, understanding, and making courageous choices, let me help building a fraternal solidarity that will, then, be truly human and borderless.

Finally, let me accept, that the more I put my Christian values at the heart of the debate, as bearers of this human brotherhood, the more I will have to welcome the wisdom of other spiritualities, in a dialogue in which “there are many abodes in the Father’s House”…