US Nuncio: Authentic Christianity Changes Culture

Many have forgotten that authentic Christianity brings about human fulfillment, Archbishop Christophe Pierre said Sunday.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, speaks at the Rimini Meeting Aug. 19.
Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, speaks at the Rimini Meeting Aug. 19. (photo: via CNA)

RIMINI, Italy — Many have forgotten that authentic Christianity has a positive influence on history and brings about greater human fulfillment, Archbishop Christophe Pierre said Sunday at a cultural event organized by the lay movement Communion and Liberation.

“When faced with change, conflict, relativism and bleak prospects for the future, people are beginning to despair under the burden of daily life and have forgotten how to be protagonists in history,” the apostolic nuncio to the United States said Aug. 19 at the Rimini Meeting.

“Meeting Christ and being changed by him — the revolution of the heart — this is what turns the wheel of history! This is the true revolution!”

This year’s Rimini Meeting, being held through Aug. 25, explores the theme “The Forces That Move History Are the Same That Make Man Happy.”

Archbishop Pierre addressed the encounter beginning with a discussion of the meeting of the Samaritan woman with Christ at the well.

He emphasized that the woman experienced an event that offered happiness, and this experience caused her to evangelize her community.

He said the woman at the well, who eased her suffering with unsatisfactory desires, is a person who is similar to many people in the culture. Some people, he said, attempt to cope with pain and weakness with drugs, pornography, wealth or power. 

“We will take anything we can to help us feel better, but in the end, it doesn’t satisfy. Just as when Jesus was approached by the disciples of John and asked, ‘What do you seek?’ Jesus is now asking the woman to identify her real thirst.”

Archbishop Pierre said Christ encounters the woman with the truth that he is fulfilling, and her previous idolatry lacked the ability to accomplish her hopes and dreams. Rather, he said the encounter with this truth and the presence of Christ leads “her to discover her own humanity and the possibilities for her future.”

Similarly, he said Christ gives people the ability to make proper judgments of the world, distinguishing between temporary pleasures and lasting happiness, as well as good and evil.

“A humanity reawakened by Christ can generate new protagonists in the history of the world, new witnesses able to make judgments, able to discern right from wrong, good from evil, true good from passing pleasure.”

This new ability is a powerful event, he said, which verifies the faith to others. However, he said this must extend beyond a knowledge of doctrine and become an example of a joyful Christian witness.

“A reawakened humanity has an ability to see, not only with the eye, but also with the heart, and can verify the truth of the faith and propose in this time of epochal change. A joyful Christian witness shows forth the attractiveness of Christ that makes others say, ‘What makes that person tick? What moves that person to act?’”