(Beverly Hall Photography)
In the period after the encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis until the Second Vatican Council, an asymmetry occurred between some individual paths of faith and the established forms of Catholic affiliation. It is undoubtedly a long-term phenomenon in the religious history of the second Christian millennium, which nevertheless played a role of unusual significance in the course of the 20th century. In the heart of this century, as a matter of fact, the rise of mass societies interfered with that dialectics, due both to an uncommon dynamism of emancipation and to growing apparatuses for control and conditioning. Along with these phenomena, a decline of the humanistic civilization, as well as of the corresponding human subject, became more and more clearly perceivable. The experiencing and pondering of these processes, frequently at a very high level of awareness, closely questioned the churches, no matter if these latters thought of themselves as the antagonists of that humanistic civilization, as its tutors, its heirs, or as a discrete set of all that.
The generation of those who were trained in the interwar period, and therefore between Pian Catholicism and the first totalitarian regimes, engendered some relevant intellectual and spiritual personalities, who tried to reconsider the meaning of religious experience, community life and collective destiny, having noteworthy effects on the history of the church as well as of the contemporary culture. The trajectory of these existences is now concluded, at times in the latest years; and although a general survey is still untimely, some first accounts seem to be possible and even necessary. Beside some already advanced projects, about Giuseppe Dossetti (1913-1926) for instance or Lorenzo Milani (1923-1967), other researches have been started, namely about John Courtney Murray (1904-1967), Felice Balbo (1913-1964), David Maria Turoldo (1916-1992), Ivan Illich (1926-2002); moreover, and within a slightly different system of coordinates, about personalities as those of Giacomo Lercaro (1891-1976) and Giorgio Perlasca (1910-1992).
Scholars concerned: Buonasorte, Cadeddu, Dissegna, Maraviglia, Milana, Ruozzi, Turbanti