The organizers of Communion and Liberation’s 2012 Rimini Meeting believe the week long international gathering could give new hope to young people across Europe.
“Many intellectual and opinion makers call these young people ‘the lost generation,’ but we don’t believe in such a judgment,” said Roberto Fontolan of Communion and Liberation’s International Centre in an Aug. 24 interview with EWTN News.
“We believe,” Fontolan stated, “that even if you are in a difficult situation in terms of a social economic crisis, in any situation, God gives young people the opportunity to build something useful for themselves and for the others.”
Youth unemployment across the 17 countries that constitute the European Union’s single currency “Eurozone” is currently running at above 20 percent. Meanwhile, in Italy that figure stands at approximately 35 percent, while in Greece and Spain it is now over 45 percent.
Fontolan believes that the current economic crisis presents society not only with an economic challenge but with a cultural one, too. Any changes that are made must involve young people “taking seriously the fundamental questions you have in your heart,” such as “happiness, freedom, trust and liberty,” he explained.
“This is what we try to communicate to all the people who come to Rimini,” he said.
Under the overarching theme “By nature, man is in relation to the Infinite,” more than 800,000 visitors descended upon the Rimini Fiera Conference Center Aug. 19-25 to enjoy seminars, guest speakers, exhibitions, cinema, theatre, music and sporting events.
“Some newspapers call it the most important cultural Christian event in Europe,” commented Fontolan.
Among this year’s guest speakers were various senior politicians from the European Union and Italy, including the country’s Prime Minister Mario Monti. In his opening message to the meeting, Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano stated that in reaction to “such troubling events” and in the face of the “serious crisis,” everyone, particularly young people, has to learn to “speak the language of truth.”
Fontolan said that the success of the Rimini Meeting can only be judged after the event. If it has helped to open up new cultural horizons for those who were engaged in exploring man’s relation to the infinite, then it will have been successful.
“So the real success is if we learn something more about this path, this human experience,” he said. “What does it mean in terms of anthropology, what does it mean in terms of economics, human engagement?”