Glossa Editrice
copertina 9788871054193

Giulio Osto

La testimonianza del dialogo, Piero Rossano tra bibbia, religioni e cultura


  • Recensione di Card. Michael L. Fitzgerald

    02 giugno 2020

    Piero Rossano (1923-1991), spent almost twenty years of his life, from 1964 to 1983, at the service of interreligious dialogue within the Secretariat for Non-Christians (SNC). This exhaustive study of his thought is therefore of interest to all those who are concerned with the theology that grounds this important dimension of the Church’s mission.

    This doctoral thesis, directed by Fr Felix Körner, S.J. of the Pontifical Gregorian University, is divided into three parts: I. Biographical, with insistence on the intellectual formation of Rossano (henceforth R); II The writings, a close analysis of R’s thought as it developed in his publications on the Bible, especially St Paul; the development of his philosophical and theological thinking, marked by his seminary professor, Natale Bussi, the influence of the German philosopher, Ferdinand Ebner, and the stimulating contacts with the professor of the philosophy of education, Edda Ducci; the development of R’s thought on the theology of religion, on interreligious dialogue and on inter-cultural dialogue, influenced by his experience in the SNC and later as the Rector of the Lateran University and the bishop for culture of the diocese of Rome; III The heritage, an attempt to provide a systematic and critical presentation of R’s theology. The difficulty with this way of proceeding is that none of the three parts really stands on its own, and therefore the reader is subject to much cross-referencing.

    A further methodological gripe concerns the bibliography. This is certainly extensive (pp. 631-685). It is divided into three sections: the publications of R; writings on R; supplementary bibliography. The disadvantage is that the chronological order of publication is followed. This is justified when presenting R’s own writings. It is not helpful, however, when writings on R or other works are concerned. For instance,  if I want to know what Fr Maurice Borrmans has written about R, I have to go through all the years of the second section to find two items, and I might miss a further publication which appears in the supplementary bibliography. Of course I can always look up the references under Borrmans in the excellent index of names, but this is a rather tedious process. R. was a biblical scholar by training, though he also had a degree in classics. He gained a good knowledge of other religions by translating into Italian the Dictionary of Religions of Cardinal Franz König. Through his visits to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as to Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, he had some contact with Muslims, but generally he was happy to leave matters concerned with Islam to experts in this field. In this large volume there is in fact little on Islam, just under 20 pages (pp. 415-434) on dialogue with Muslims from 1969 to 1989, ending with a reflection on Jews, Christians and Muslims as spiritual descendants of Abraham. In referring briefly to the dialogue with Muslims in Tripoli, Libya (February 1976) the A. quotes a letter of R. to his missionary correspondent, Fr Paolo Tablino: “All would have been fine if we had not been betrayed by our four representatives for [the preparation of] the final statement”. It could be pointed out that R, as Secretary of the SNC, was responsible, but since the discussion of the final conclusions was carried out in Arabic he was unable to exercise the necessary supervision. Despite the little attention given to Islam, this volume will be of interest to readers of Islamochristiana. It illustrates the role played by R. in transmitting the theology of Vatican II which is at the basis of the Church’s dialogue with Muslims and the followers of other religions. It would be true to say that after a period of foundation-laying under Cardinal Marella, when the time came for the SNC, under the presidency of Cardinal Pignedoli, to establish contacts, R. was able to provide the necessary theological backing. Perhaps what is needed is a straightforward biography of Piero Rossano which would provide the full context for his contribution to the progress of interreligious dialogue. For this the study of Giulio Osto would be an invaluable source. This is just a suggestion for anyone who would have the talent and the time for such an undertaking.

    fonte da: Rivista Islamochristiana 45 (2019)