Father Enzo Fortunato


What is a rebel? The Story of Francis of Assisi

On 23 May at 6:30 P.M. Fabrica will host a conference with Father Enzo Fortunato, journalist and press office director of the Sacred Convent of Assisi, entitled “What is a rebel? The Story of Francis of Assisi”.

The conference will focus on themes in the book “Francesco il ribelle” (“Francis the Rebel”; Mondadori, 2018), in which Enzo Fortunato starts with the Albert Camus quote “What is a rebel? A man who says no!” to describe the identity of Francis rather than that of Saint Francis. In this manner, the discussion stays anchored to the concrete reality of a person who lived an exemplary life and pays less attention to the traditional and more widely treated hagiographic dimension.

For Francis of Assisi, “saying no” meant refusing the logic of the world and the valuesof the century he lived in. The actions through which he expressed his devotion were typical of a model of Christianity that goes beyond time and space and reaches out to the men and women of the past, present and future. As Fortunato writes, “The only way for all those who dream of a different life – in the Franciscan fraternity, in civil society, in politics as in work – remains the path trodden and indicated by the saint from Assisi through his own example and his own testimony.”

At this point, it is necessary to ask whether the model set by Francis of Assisi eight centuries ago is still alive and replicable today. In order to answer this, it is necessary to recall that – on the theological level, and as is the case with the present and the future – the past belongs to the historia salutis, the “history of salvation”, which renders it “contemporary” as it is rediscovered in the experience of Christians (of all times) and their “churches”. To retrace moments and situations from the life of Francis of Assisi is to identify with the divine plan, that is, in the historical and meta-historical sense of our existence.

Father Enzo Fortunato is a journalist and press office director of the Sacred Convent of Assisi. A Friar Minor Conventual, he has been a professor at the Pontifical University Antonianum, the Istituto Teologico di Assisi (the Theological Institute of Assisi) and the Pontifical Theological Faculty of San Bonaventura. Spiritual Father of the young postulants from 1995 to 2004, he created the book series “Orientamenti formativi francescani” (in English, roughly, “Franciscan Formative Principles”) published by “Messaggero”. He contributes to various print and online publications, including “Avvenire”, the Italian edition of “Huffington Post”, “Corriere della Sera” and “Panorama”. He has hosted a show on Italian television channel Rai1 entitled “Tg1 Dialogo” since 2011, and he also presents “In viaggio con Francesco” (“Traveling with Francis”), an overview of the international press, on Radio Rai1. He wrote “Vado da Francesco” (“Going to Francis”), published by Mondadori in 2014.