Dr Michael Shortall attend a FUCE (Federation of Catholic Universities in Europe) on 26th October 2018 in Lyon, France, entitled ‘European Humanism in the Making’.
Inspired by the appeal made by Pope Francis, on accepting the Charlemagne Prize in May 2016, for the recovery of a lost - or maybe never fully recognised - ‘soul’ of Europe, based on the agenda for a new humanism resulting from historical knowledge and the ethical recollection that it can foster collectively, the European Federation of Catholic Universities has ten the initiative to develop an interdisciplinary study programme. In doing so, it wants to address the Pope’s question “What happened to humanist Europe, the defender of human rights, democracy and freedom?’ and take it further to tap into historical roots as bearers of future prospects for the European project.
Dr Shortall’s contribution concerns European Social Humanism. The expression ‘European Social Humanism’ refers to the field of the values which have and continues to foster European society: the values which have contributed to progress in building a people. In this perspective, European humanism can be understood as a coherent set of values and ideals which have shaped not only a specific vision of the world, but also a civilization characterized by peculiar social and institutional forms.
Everything that treats the human person, treats also the human society, as far as the human being is naturally social being. The European social order in its historical development has been shaped by a number of key normative ideas. The course is designed to be an intellectual endeavour to arouse students’ curiosity and interests in such values. Such ideas are not abstract. Rather they have had and continue to bear upon the political and social decisions in Europe.