Prospective on the Person: An Essential Initiative in the Struggle to Save the West

Robert Royal celebrates the 100th edition of the personalist journal Prospettiva Persona, an essential initiative in the struggle to save the West.

People sometimes write me to complain that much online commentary is too negative. That TCT and other sites do not pay enough attention to the many good things happening and to Christian joy.

You can’t be against “joy,” of course, assuming (a large assumption) that you know what authentic joy is. The way the phrase is often used, I admit, strikes me as a somewhat less than fully Christian effort to tell a hedonistic world: Look, we’re having fun too. In my judgment, that hasn’t worked out so well. It may be just me, but like Paul writing to the Thessalonians, I think it safer – and better – on the whole, these days, to keep faith and work quietly.

There are many groups and individuals who do so and never get any notice. I was with one such group last week and hope to help many people hear much more about them. Twenty-five years ago, in the immediate afterglow of the fall of Communism and of John Paul II’s encyclical Centesimus Annus – which reviewed the disasters of the previous century and tentatively sought a way forward – a remarkable married couple decided that the work necessary to the reconstruction of civilization had not ended with the Cold War. Indeed, it had just barely begun.

This month they published the 100th number of their quarterly magazine, Prospettiva Persona (“Perspective on the Human Person”), and also announced – not their retirement, but their new roles as contributors and counselors to the new editor Flavio Felice (a sometime contributor to The Catholic Thing and old friend to many of us).  Flavio, a man of many talents, is the youngest person ever to receive tenure at the Lateran University in Rome, where he teaches Catholic Social Thought.

Giulia Paula di Nicola and Attilio Danese met and married as undergraduates, went to study philosophy – Hegel of all things – in Germany, but like other earnest seekers of wisdom in the twentieth century, decided that much modern philosophy was too stretto, i.e., narrow. They found their way – like Jacques Maritain, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Gabriel Marcel, Edith Stein, Emmauel Mounier, Karol Wojtyla (later JPII), and many others – into the “personalist” currents of modern philosophy. And founded Prospettiva Persona, significantly not in Rome, but on the opposite coast of Italy, in the city of Teramo.

Click here to read the rest of Bob Royal’s column . . .

Robert Royal

Robert Royal

Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century, published by Ignatius Press. The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the West, is now available in paperback from Encounter Books.

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