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JK Benoît XVI Benoît XVI Julia Kristeva à Assise 2011

Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi, 27 october 2011


The intervention made by Julia Kristeva at the Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world, that Benedict XVI convoked in Assisi.




Some principles for the humanism of the twenty-first century




What is humanism? A great question mark on the most serious of issues? This reality is a product of the European, Greco- Judeo-Christian tradition, and the same time it continues to promise, to disappoint, to re-constitute itself.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

The words of John Paul II, "Be not afraid!" are not directed solely toward believers, because they may take heart in their resistance to totalitarianism. The appeal of that Pope, an apostle of human rights, also drives us not to fear European culture, but on the contrary, to dare humanism: the construct complicity between the Christian humanism and that which emerged from the Renaissance and Enlightenment, and which has the ambition of opening the dangerous ways of freedom. Thanks today to Pope Benedict XVI, for having invited, for the first time in these places, humanists among you.


1. The humanism of the twenty-first century is not a theomorphism. Neither "value" or ulterior "end", Man with a capital M does not exist. After the Shoah and the Gulags, humanism has a duty to remind men and women that if, on the one hand, we retain ourselves to be the only legislators, it is uniquely through the continuing questioning of our personal, historical and social situation that we can decide for society and history. Today, far from deglobalization, it is necessary to invent new international rules to regulate and control the finance and the global economy and finally to create a world authority based on universal ethics and solidarity.


2. Humanism is a process of permanent refoundation, that develops through the ruptures that are innovations. Memory does not regard the past: the Bible, the Gospels, the Koran, the Rig Veda, the Tao, live in the present. In order for humanism might develop and re-found itself, the moment has come to take up again the moral codes built throughout history: without weakening them, in order to problematize them, to renew them in the face of new singularities.


3. Humanism is a feminism. The liberation of desires could only lead to the emancipation of women. The battle for economic, legal and political parity, necessitate a new reflection on the choice and responsibility of motherhood. Secularization is until today the only civilization that lacks a discourse on motherhood. This passionate bond between mother and child, through which biology becomes meaning, alterity, and word, is a "reliance" that, different from the paternal function and from religiosity, completes the participation in full in the humanist ethic.


4. In order that the desires of men and women be rekindled, Humanism teaches us to take care of them. The loving care for each other, the care of the earth, the young, the sick, the disabled, the elderly dependents, constitute inner experiences that create new proximities and surprising solidarity. We have no other way to experience the anthropological revolution, already announced by the leaps of the sciences, from uncontrollable processes of technology and finance, and the inability of the democratic model to channel the new pyramid.


5. Man does not make history, we are history. For the first time, homo sapiens is capable of destroying the earth and himself in the name of his beliefs, religions or ideologies. Similarly, for the first time men and women are able to reassess in total transparency the constituent religiosity of the human being. The diversity of our meeting here in Assisi, shows that this hypothesis of destruction is not the only possible one. No one knows what human beings will follow us, we who are engaged in this unprecedented anthropological and cosmic transvaluation. The re-founding of humanism is not a providential dogma or a spirited game, it is a wager.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

the age of suspicion is no longer enough. Faced with increasingly grave crisis and threats, the time has come to wager. We must dare to bet on the continuous renewal of the capacity of men and women to listen and learn together. So that, in the "multiverse" surrounded by a void, mankind can continue to pursue his creative destiny for a long time to come.


Julia Kristeva, Assisi, 27 october 2011





Julia Kristeva Benedetto XVI Benoit XVI Benedict XVI


Julia Kristeva et Benoît XVI à Assise 27 octobre 2011