I seem to be blogging an awful lot at the moment about the communal dilemma
(Page 4)! The reason is simply that it is just where history has landed us at this point in time. What is the communal dilemma?
Well by all means look at the page just mentioned – but here it is in practice in a quote from Natalie Nougayrède in The Guardian today –
‘It (what squares with the priorities and anxieties that currently animate most Europeans) all boils down to one question: what can truly bind people together? Pro-EU liberals think it’s best to set aside a staunch attachment to one’s nation if we want to have any hope of living in harmony. ” Sovereignists”, on the other hand, see the EU as a wrecker, a diluter of and antithesis of what people genuinely identify with first and foremost, which is their cultural or ethnic belonging, defined geographically.’
This is one crucial manifestation of the communal dilemma to-day – how to enhance the EU as a community without destroying the nation state as a community – and vice versa.
Nougayrède believes that people can affirm both the wider and narrower forms of community – I am with her. She notes that last month, hundreds and thousands of Romanians met one evening and, using the lights on their smartphones, formed the national flag. But then, with equal enthusiasm, they used the lights to form the star-studded blue and gold of the EU flag. She adds – ‘National populists… including those in Britain, must have gaped.’
We address the communal dilemma not by dogmatically opting for a smaller or larger form of community but by affirming, with all the power we can muster, the importance of both, of a global community as a series of concentric circles with each circle enhancing the others. That’s the vision – for world – and church! But it’s a long and demanding journey that makes visions a reality – as we know only too well.