Hope. Manifesto for the revival of Christianity
by Christine Pedotti and Anne Soupa
Albin Michel, 210 pages, €15.90
Who will open happiness to us?
by Stanislas Lalanne, Francois Bousquet
Salvator 140 p., 15 €
Starting from the observation of the depressing effects of the Covid crisis, the war in Ukraine, environmental issues, in short, a severe crisis of confidence in the future, here are two works which seek to return to the “fundamentals” of faith to rekindle the flame of hope. With slightly different perspectives.
Christine Pedotti and Anne Soupa, founders of the Conférence des baptized-es francophones and of the Committee of the skirt, seek to “to rediscover the wellspring of Christianity” to propose, rather than a “catechism”a “compass” to their readers. Displaying from the start a posture of “believers”they share in turn what is for them the heart of the Christian faith, “source of the intimate and profound joy that is ours”. The relationship to Christ, the dignity of the human being, freedom and responsibility, the absolute otherness of God…
Bringing to light attitudes and convictions of faith
Through nine themes “significant and specific” of the Christian faith, they highlight attitudes and convictions of faith that are rooted in the fundamental promise of Christianity: “the assured, final and definitive victory over evil”. In ” Annex “the authors have seen fit to list a few “hot spots” they bring to the attention of the churches (abortion, end of life, power, wealth and poverty), whose rapid treatment and relevance to the subject of this book leave the reader slightly perplexed…
Fathers Stanislas Lalanne and François Bousquet, respectively bishop and priest of the diocese of Pontoise, also note the deleterious effects of the current crisis and want to return ” vigorously “ to essential questions: the meaning of life, the mystery of evil and death, the importance of spiritual life and combat… The tone is more catechetical, firmer, it places greater emphasis on ecclesial life and sacramental. But he does not sin for all that by abstraction or by “language of boxwood”. Above all, it is illustrated by many words from catechumens and confirmands, who bring to this work “the freshness of their living faith, of their budding faith”with also their questions, their struggles, their feelings.
Hope “is not a utopia”
These two books want to show what an incredible future opens up for Christianity, so eschatological questions are very present in them. The Passion and Resurrection of Christ which gives everyone access to life in God by going through and assuming the inevitable tragedy of earthly life, the promise of the Kingdom and victory over evil… The story of each of between us and all of humanity takes on a literally staggering meaning: “Baptized, we no longer go from life to death but from death to Life” (Stanislas Lalanne and François Bousquet).
However, it is a promise which does not clear us of anything, but which on the contrary requires the highest commitment of our freedom and our responsibility. “Hope offers a meaning that infects daily life in advance (…). The promise of Christianity does not justify any passivity or resignation, quite the contrary., says Christine Pedotti. And, echoing Stanislas Lalanne and François Bousquet: “All grace is a redoubling of demand. It does not act in our place but raises our freedom. » hope “is not a utopia”nor a reassurance, even less an escape from reality, it calls for a lucid but benevolent, intelligent and active analysis of the realities, sometimes very complex, in which we are immersed.
Does Christianity still have something to say in our time? Here are two works which, resolutely, answer in the affirmative, by giving their believing readers the tools to “account” for their hope (1 Peter 3), as well as for the beautiful coherence of the Christian faith.