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Culture Cardinal lays down challenge facing a "collapsing" society

The President of the Pontifical Council for Culture is quoted in a Zenit news agency report today with the provocative comment "Given a society that is collapsing, it is urgent to find the spiritual as opposed to spiritualism, tradition as opposed to traditionalism, faith as opposed to fideism, morality as opposed to moralism in a word, the genuine order as opposed to the established disorder!"

Cardinal Paul Poupard was speaking to over 500 delegates at an international congress held at Rome's Salesian University to honour the French philosopher Emmanuel Mounier (1905-1950).

Unfortunately the Zenit report does not provide significant context to this particular remark but does give quite extensive coverage to the honour being accorded to Mounier and a call from the conference for his beatification.

The news agency reports:In 1932, Mounier, a professor of philosophy, founded the review Esprit, bringing together some of the most brilliant Christian intellectuals of his age.

Mounier's philosophy is based on the greatness of and respect due to the human person, the reason why his philosophy was called "personalism." For him, there cannot be a Christian conscience without engagement in the "battle" of ideas and challenges that affect people and society.

Esprit was banned in France by the Vichy government during the Nazi occupation in World War II, and Mounier was taken prisoner. After the war, the review resumed its course and grew in influence. Mounier died prematurely at 45.Emmanuel Mounier is credited as being one of the founders of the Catholic Worker Movement.

Philosophers Back Beatification of Emmanuel Mounier (Zenit 16/1/05)

Mounier: A short bibliography of primary works by Emmanuel Mounier (1905-50), a French personalist philosopher
Roots of the Catholic Worker Movement: Emmanuel Mounier and Personalism

"Christianity and the Challenges of Secularism, Unbelief and Religious Indifference" - Address given by Cardinal Paul Poupard last December to the Saints Cyril and Methodius Theological Institute (Zenit 18/12/04)

18 Jan 2005