What is UCCR?
UCCR is just a web site: it has no statutes, headquarters or professional staff; it neither issues membership cards nor ask for money. The site was started on February 2nd, 2011, after on initiative of a group of college students, rapidly joined by other on-line friends. It in no way claims to represent the voice of the Church; rather, it wants merely to be a place where views on a wide range of issues can be expressed by some young Catholics.
Why is it named UCCR?
In Italian language the acronym U.C.C.R. stands for Unione Cristiani Cattolici Razionali (Rational Catholic Christians’ League), but to maintain the correct acronym we chose to modify the “rational” to “rationalists”: Union of Catholic Christian Rationalists. An important caveat: calling ourselves rationalists, we wish to suggest the reasonableness of the Christian faith: reason as a good guide to faith and faith as the fulfillment of reason. Certainly we do not want to argue that human reason is the only source of knowledge or that it should be preferred to religion, personal experience or spiritual revelation. Here a follow-up on our English name.
We know that there is the human being, gifted with rationality and whose choices are based on logical reasoning, on factual motivations, on experiences made and subsequently adopted as standards; and this is not invalidated by the fact that sometimes these choices prove to be the product of irrationality, influenced and guided by sets of emotions. Confessing the faith is one of the most common strategies that humans do as a way of relating use to reality of our senses, thereby gaining moral certainties about this reality and about interpersonal relations. All of the greatest beliefs in human life (love, friendship, religious faith or even lack of it, etc.) are shaped beyond, and apart from, any purely “scientific” evidence; nonetheless they enjoy full “rational” dignity since they are the foundations on which entire lives are built. Religious faith, as an example, would not be rational if it were to proceed simply from fear of death or from a perception of the impermanence of the human condition. Quite the contrary, our Christian Catholic faith is based on three facts: the historical truth of an event; the reliability of the witness, namely Peter and the Catholic Church as a human and divine institution grounded on the apostolic succession (Mt. 16,18); and finally our own personal experience linked to factual reality. It is through this last link that we can see every day the truth of the Church’s interpretation, i.e. the claim to witness the uninterrupted presence of Jesus Christ in human history. Therefore it is on this threefold foundation (further developed in the pages of this site) that we firmly believe that our faith in God proceeds from reasonable and rational motivations.
1) Our first goal is to implement an information strategy for the promotion of news, ideas, books, newspaper articles through which the rational basis of our faith can be communicate. It should be noted that the theme of the rationality of the faith has always been at the centre of the Magisterium of the now Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI: a subject elaborated during the famous lecture delivered at Regensburg University on September 2006. On our side we will adopt neither a pessimistic nor a moralistic perspective: the first would not be consistent with the novelty of the Christian message, while the second might lead to undue criticism of our current situation compared with some idealized past (whose superiority is far from being proved).
2) The second goal we set is to reply calmly to the continuous attacks that come from the militant atheists, a sort of secularism that has nothing in common with a “healthy” position of state neutrality in religious matters. We reserve therefore a large space for detailed analyseis which may be of secondary importance to believers (and who, because of their number, are sometimes sparsely represented on the many Catholic blogs), but that the anti-theist culture considers as crucial, proposing a different and often opposite point of view.
3) The third goal is to create one (more) virtual space where anyone far from any fundamentalisms (religious or not) may discuss, confront, express doubts and rediscover motivations, whatever his or her existential beliefs are. We will gladly work together with believers, atheists and agnostics, ultimately exploring the viability of a peaceful cohabitation out there, in the real world.
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