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Credo religioso e diritto: due mondi separati?

Don Luciano Genovesi, Cancelliere Vescovile e Vicario giudiziale della Diocesi di Parma

 Il presente contributo si propone di analizzare quelle che sono da identificarsi, da un punto di vista teologico e filosofico, come le cause di quella situazione di indifferenza, se non di vera e propria ostilità, che le legislazioni statuali, anche in materia giuslavoristica, riservano alla manifestazione delle opinioni religiose dei cittadini, e dei lavoratori in particolare, nell’esercizio delle mansioni loro affidate dai contratti di lavoro.

Viviamo in un contesto sociale e culturale di una vera e propria irreligione naturale, che ha superato la stessa visione ateistica o agnostica della vita, della società e della storia, e che se, da un lato, non rifiuta apertamente, sicuramente, dall’altro, banalizza e marginalizza il credo religioso, in nome di un empirismo antropocentrico inserito in un orizzonte fideistico tutto incentrato sul predominio della tecnica, assurta a ruolo di vera e propria divinità.

Eppure religione e società sono e saranno sempre intrinsecamente legate.

Le istanze religiose rappresentano una provocazione ai Legislatori affinché si sforzino di integrare, in una visione pluralista e veramente democratica, tutte le sensibilità e le opinioni/convinzioni di tutti i componenti di una nazione, nel comune impegno della promozione di un vero progresso sociale.

Per uscire da questo contrasto tra un rispetto formale ma non sostanziale del credo religioso dei cittadini/lavoratori, ecco che il contributo propone di riprendere un discorso serio sulla laicità, e su ciò che questo implichi veramente. Questo rappresenterebbe la “soluzione” per giungere ad un effettivo riconoscimento delle istanze religiose che l’essere umano porta con sé a prescindere, anche in un ambito lavorativo.


PAROLE CHIAVE: religione - credo religioso - discriminazione - laicitÓ - laicismo - societÓ

Religious creed and law: two worlds apart?

The aim of the following paper is to analyze and identify, both from a theological and philosophical perspective, the causes of indifference and even outright hostility that statutory legislation, also in terms of labour laws, attributes to the expression of citizens’ religious beliefs, of workers in particular, when undertaking the roles in their employment contracts.

The socio-cultural context we live in is one of a natural irreligion which has surpassed the atheistic and agnostic vision of life, society and history, and if, on the one hand, it does not openly reject, it does, on the other, trivialize and emarginate religious beliefs for the sake of anthropocentric empiricism embedded in an ideological realm based entirely on the predominance of technology as the true divinity.

Yet religion and society are and will always remain intrinsically linked. Religious instances serve as a provocation for Lawmakers to integrate, through a pluralistic and truly democratic vision, awareness, opinions and convictions of representatives of the whole nation, in a common effort to promote true social progress. In order to find a solution to this conflict between a formal but insubstantial respect for religious beliefs of both citizens and workers, this paper proposes to raise the question of secularism and what it really implies. This would represent the “solution” for reaching an effective acknowledgement of religious instances that human beings bear within regardless, including in the workplace.

Keywords: religion – religious belief – discrimination – secularity – secularism – society.

I gladly accepted the proposal made to me by Professor Gragnoli, whom I thank, to speak at this important conference organized by the renowned University of Parma on an extremely pressing and vital issue: “Labour law and forms of manifestation of religious convictions.

No one can deny the obvious fact that our Western society has, over time, been detached from a “religious” view of life, of the world and of history, a detachment that in the end lead to tensions fuelled by an (alleged) impossibility to reconcile religious convictions and freedom of the individual coexist whenever the latter is freely expressed, including also the labour market.

An impossibility to reconcile that, as we will see, is also strongly influenced by a heavy ideological baggage that hampers also discussions on the aforementioned problems. I am participating in this debate first and foremost as a Priest, but also as a jurist, aware that a common ground on which to work together to build the civitas hominum is possible.

My contribution will not encroach in the various legal cases, which, as authoritatively demonstrated by the other distinguished speakers, have highlighted tensions concerning the mingling of various interests.

I will try to tread on a path of reflection that could restore and foster a proper, fruitful relationship between the need for the state to be secular and the respect for individual and collective religious freedom.


1. Today's social context: an overview that takes into account philosophy - 2. Religion and society - 3. Secularity: a chimera? - NOTE

1. Today's social context: an overview that takes into account philosophy

In this part of my reasoning I will make use of the reflections of a great Italian thinker of the 20th century, Augusto Del Noce, who, in my humble opinion, offered an admirable synthesis of the philosophical horizon that created the foundations of the social situation that we find ourselves to live in this “post-everything” 21st century, a social situation that is causing so many problems to the idea of Man we are promoting in the Western, First World countries [1], but also on the concept of life that we are handing over to the new generations. What characterizes our society today is “the diffusion of something entirely different from atheism, that is, the “natural irreligion” (the loss, the fading out of everything sacred, or whatever name we may give to it) [2]. Since the concept of Truth and, consequently, that of so-called “non-negotiable” principles have disappeared from the collective heart and soul of society and even the concept of natural law [3] has also been strongly questioned, a new (very attractive) way of thinking has become popular. This way of thinking is basically empiricism, which assumes that only what can be verified (mostly by science) can be true. By viewing the world through this (deforming) lens, followers of this way of thinking can structure knowledge, morals and politics without ever referring to transcendence. Starting therefore from a Gnostic point [continua ..]

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2. Religion and society

The social framework seems clear and obvious: the marginalisation of faith, or the persistent ideological attempt to eradicate it from the collective consciousness both inexorably advance in this overwhelming era of globalisation, and not only of the world of labour and economy. However, much of politics does not take into due consideration what History has established as an indisputable principle: religion and society are and will always be intrinsically linked [19]. Every attempt to separate them, carried out by the great totalitarian regimes has failed even if, the natural irreligion, if we want to use Del Noce’s words, has permeated wide layers of the social fabric, shaping the consciences, especially those of the new generations, with the result of making “plausible” the illusion of the irrelevance and futility of any question about God. Man always carries within himself questions about the meaning of life and therefore, no matter how bewildered, deluded and misguided man may be, he will never be able to suffocate that “religious” yearning which, like nostalgia, will always resound in the depths of his soul. “Martin Buber in Tales of the Hasidim [20] discusses Rabbi Mendel of Kozk, who “astonished some learned men who were his guests with this question: “Where does God live?” Those men laughed at him: “What are you saying? The whole world is full of His glory!” But then the Rabbi [continua ..]

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3. Secularity: a chimera?

I believe my reasoning highlighted how the ideological burden that weighs on the spiritual and transcendent dimension of man, and on everything that refers to them, is the main obstacle to overcome. Let me sum it up: we live in a social cultural context which either openly refuses or at the very least trivialises and marginalises religious beliefs, in the name of an anthropocentric empiricism in a fideistic horizon centred on the predominance of technology, which has become a true divinity. The origins of all this lie in the far past but, especially in these last centuries (XIX and XX), “a process is in progress, though most failed to notice it, involving loss of inner concentration and elevated feelings, generalised dispersion and perhaps irremediable eclipse of the spiritual values. [30]”. “However, the radical, organic reason for this decline in culture is the fact that it has lost its strength by evaporating in secularisation. For many centuries the enlightened minds of humanity have been increasingly attracted by the conception of the “anthropocentrism, more dignifiedly called humanitarianism, that humanitarianism which in the twentieth century has led to abstract, sometimes totalitarian ideologies. In any case, the fact remains that a self-sufficient anthropocentrism is not able to provide answers to many essential questions that life presents us with, and its incapacity increase as one tries to go deeper n answering [continua ..]

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