Cardinal Parolin explains how to unite societies in the face of polarization

The speech of the Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Parolin, at the International Conference on Cohesive Societies (ICCS) offers several clues to avoid polarization.

Antonino Piccione-September 8, 2022-Reading time: 2 minutes

Photo: cardinal Parolin speaking at the UN in 2019. ©CNS/Brendan McDermid, Reuters

Translation of the article into Italian

"Solidarity means overcoming the harmful consequences of selfishness to give way to the value of listening gestures. In this sense, solidarity is a means of creating history." This is one of the key passages of the address that Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See, delivered from a distance at the International Conference on Cohesive Societies (ICCS), which opened today in Singapore.

A cohesive society is so, he said, if it pursues the goal of forming individuals capable of relating to one another and transcending the individualism of the self to embrace the diversity of the we. According to Parolin, to achieve the goal of a cohesive and caring society we must be promoters and co-responsible for solidarity; build solidarity by focusing on the talent, commitment and leadership of young people; solidarity to create welcoming cities, that is, "rich in humanity and hospitable, to the extent that we are able to care for and listen to those in need; and if we are able to engage constructively and cooperatively for the good of all."

The cardinal also insisted on the need to take on the problems of others and the importance of closeness and generosity in getting involved in caring for others. In this way solidarity will leave its mark on history.

From polarization to cohesion

These are the keys to addressing the risk factors of a cohesive society, where cohesion goes beyond racial and religious harmony, and also encompasses migration and multiculturalism, social and economic inequality, the digital divide and intergenerational relations. These issues affect resilience and solidarity among individuals and communities, according to Professor Lily Kong, Chair of the Singapore Management University.

The Conference is organized at the Raffles City Convention Center by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth of the country. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth of the Asian country. Under the theme "Secure Identities, Connected Communities," the three-day event, opened by Singapore President Halimah Yacob, brings together more than 800 delegates from over 40 countries around three key pillars: faith, identity and cohesion.

Planned sessions

Three plenary sessions have been scheduled: the first one is dedicated to "How faith can bridge divides", with the aim of investigating the reasons for the increase and persistence of the "faith-based social polarization due to ideological beliefs or nuns. Promoting peace and interreligious dialogue. The second plenary session focuses on "Harnessing Diversity for the Common Good". The idea is to focus on tools and concepts for understanding a world marked by "superdiversity", i.e. the existence of highly complex and heterogeneous societies, in the hope of fostering authentic links, albeit from different positions and readings, for the common good.

Finally, the session "How technology can be harnessed to promote mutual trust": digital platforms can create echo chambers for divisive purposes, to the detriment of social cohesion. The aim is to show how online platforms can be beacons of cohesion and hope, rather than vectors of division and hatred.

The authorAntonino Piccione

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