What is UCCR?
UCCR is just a web site: it has no statute, headquarter or professional staff; neither does it issue membership cards or beg for money. The site was created on February 2nd, 2011, on the initiative of a bunch of college students, rapidly joined by other on-line friends. It claims in no way to embody the voice of the Church; rather, it wants to be merely a place where the views on a wide range of issues by some young Catholics are expressed.
Why is it named UCCR?
In the Italian language the acronym U.C.C.R. stands for Unione Cristiani Cattolici Razionali (Rational Catholic Christians’ League), but to maintain the correct acrononimo we chose to modify the “rational” in “rationalists”: Union of Catholic Christian Rationalists. An important caveat: calling ourselves rationalists aims to suggest the reasonableness of the Christian faith: reason as a good guide of faith and faith as the fulfillment of reason. Certainly we do not want to argue reason is the only source of knowledge or that it should be preferred to religion, personal experience or spiritual revelation.
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 falsified by the fact that sometimes these choices prove to be the product of irrationality, as a result of being influenced and guided by sets of emotions. The act of faith is one of the most adopted strategies that the human being uses to infer the factual reality, therefore gaining moral certainties about the latter and about interpersonal relationships. All the greatest beliefs of human life (love, friendship, religious faith or even lack of it, etc.) are formed independently of any “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 simply derived from the fear of death or from the perception of the impermanence of human condition. Quite the contrary, our Catholic Christian faith moves from three facts: the historical truth of an event; the reliability of its witnesses, 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 up to the factual reality. It is through the latter that we check every day the truth of the ecclesial 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 through the pages of this site) that we firmly believe that our faith in God stems 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 are disclosed. It must be noticed that the issue 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 with the famous lecture delivered at the Regensburg University on September 2006. On our part, 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 criticize the contemporary situation until shrinking into an 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 militant atheism, a sort of laicism that has nothing to do with a “healthy” laity. We dedicate therefore large room to detailed analyses which are of secondary importance for a believer (and which, for their lesser importance, are sometimes scarcely represented on the many and appreciated Catholic blogs), but which the anti-theist culture considers as crucial, suggesting 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 life.
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