The social thought of the Church as a compass, the dialogue between different disciplines as a distinctive ingredient, the effort to reconcile depth and non-specialist language as a style, Ignatian discernment as a method: with this “recipe,” gradually adapted and perfected, Aggiornamenti Sociali - a magazine of the Italian Jesuits founded in 1950 - has accompanied 70 years of Italian history, without ever neglecting European and international dynamics.
From the very beginning, the magazine’s aim has been to help readers “orient themselves”: not only by providing information, but also by accompanying them in formulating their own judgements and committing themselves responsibly to the central issues of society, as well as taking into account the voices of those on the margins. Looking at the first issue (January 1950) as an example, we discover that the topics covered then are crucial even today: school reform, euthanasia, secularism... Obviously new perspectives and new themes have been added, as well as new ways of understanding the link between faith, justice and culture. Think of the paradigm of the integral ecology of Laudato Si', which urges us to link environmental and social issues, and to highlight the spiritual dimension of social commitment.
Another progressive change in these decades has taken place in the way we disseminate the contents of Aggiornamenti Sociali, facing the challenge of being present with our style also in the digital world. A website (completely revamped in 2019), social media channels, a newsletter, an e-book version, etc. have been added. The entire documentary heritage of these 70 years has also been digitized and indexed: almost 5,700 articles are now available to our readers in pdf format.
Aggiornamenti Sociali acts not only as a magazine, but also as a think tank that promotes study paths on social dynamics, training activities for social workers, politicians, entrepreneurs, and accompaniment in discernment for NGOs and organizations. It is part of the Magazine’s DNA to be a space for reflection, elaboration and training, enhancing the tools of Ignatian pedagogy and spirituality. This choice generates many opportunities for formation and collaboration at the national and international level with realities of the ecclesial world and beyond. One example among many is an international project that has involved us over the last 3-4 years: “The future of work after Laudato Si’.“ The project is part of the initiatives for the centenary of the ILO (International Labour Organization) and addresses developments in the world of labor, studied in the light of Pope Francis’ encyclical.
In this path networking is fundamental: our commitment draws strength from being inserted in networks, such as the Jesuit Social Research Centres in Europe, the Centres for Environmental Ethics, the Civil Ethics Forum, without overlooking precious collaborations with activities and networks of the Society of our Euro-Mediterranean Province such as the Arrupe Institute in Palermo, the CLCs of Italy, the Student Missionary League.
As we look to the present and to the future, we felt joy and enthusiasm hearing the words of Pope Francis, during the audience granted on 6 December to the editorial staff and collaborators of Aggiornamenti Sociali (click here for the full speech): “You carry out a valuable service, especially in a time of accelerated change, which leaves many people bewildered and confused. I thank you for having done this with fidelity and constancy for seventy years. It takes energy and commitment, and it certainly takes effort. But the work done also gives satisfaction.”