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Brotherhoods help us look at our roots

by Michele Pennisi


The brotherhoods had great development starting from the Middle Ages and spread throughout Europe, contributing to the increase of popular piety, the practice of works of mercy and the social, artistic and economic development of the communities in which they found themselves. inserted. The presence of brotherhoods throughout Europe is documented: Ireland, Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Malta, Germany, Poland, Hungary, both in cities and in rural areas. Following the French Revolution and as a result of the secularist orientation of many European states that wanted to reduce religion to a private affair, their presence in the social and religious fabric underwent a weakening. The secularization of their activities, very appreciable for their social commitment, has not prevented in many cases the aggregations of the laity not only around the liturgy and popular piety, but also around the exercise of charity and mutual solidarity.

Today in a period in which we are witnessing in the Old Continent the spread of the viruses of individualism, of the fragmentation of existence, of loneliness, of indifference, of divisions and oppositions, of the fading of interpersonal solidarity, brotherhoods can carry out an important task by injecting the vaccine of fraternity and solidarity and can help nourish the Christian roots of Europe through a process of new evangelization.


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