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#30EoC - Tommaso Sorgi and the origin of the name "EoC".

The sociologist Tommaso Sorgi had a fundamental role in 1991: to give the name "Economy of Communion" to the reality that Chiara Lubich had made "explode" on 29 May at Mariapolis Araceli. For our 30th anniversary we republish the interview we did in 2011, in which he explained the reasons for that choice.

by Antonella Ferrucci

Tommaso Sorgi*, sociologist, was the head of the New Humanity Movement of the Focolare Movement in 1991.

You were in Rome when Chiara Lubich launched the “EoC bomb” in 1991 in Mariapoli Araceli. It was you who gave it the name “Economy of Communion.” In a certain sense, “giving a name” means “creating” a reality. Do you remember how it went?

Igino Giordani in “Two Cities” wrote “Not communism but communion.” When I thought about the name, this is the concept which I had in mind. I realized that this concept was in fact applied in this new way of doing economy that Chiara was elaborating on. It was all about putting economic resources, working capacity and ideas in common, but done so freely, not out of political constriction. We were gathered in Castelgandolfo for a New Humanity convention some days after May 29. It was then that I communicated the name “Economy of Communion.” Chiara had returned to Italy and had entrusted to me the first initiatives that were borne so that I could keep a record of them. We understood immediately that this was about a “new economic action.” There were people in Brazil who until that moment, did not do anything and just waited to be helped. There and then, these people were coming up with ideas to do something themselves, even simple initiatives but in autonomy. It was indeed something new.

During one of the first EoC conventions following its launch, I was struck by a statement you made. You mentioned that until that time, our businesses Tommaso Sorgi rid 350had this sign turned upwards which read, “Access is denied to unauthorized personnel.” You said that if we wanted to practice the EoC, we had to remove this sign. This implied a revolution. What can you tell us about it?

I remember talking to an economist who was scandalized by the idea and said, “How does one practice economy with people who are not experts in the field?” I remember I replied, “Experience is certainly important but in communion, ideas are borne even out of people who are not experts.” People normally tend to be closed and address this sign “Access is denied to unauthorized personnel” to whoever is considered an outsider. Instead, here we are talking about opening our own mentality and enjoining even simple people, thereby allowing them to acquire new experiences and to put our ideas in common with theirs.

In my case, I interpreted this “closure” in terms of not allowing God to be part of our businesses, not only people of simple backgrounds and non-experts. If I turned this sign upwards then it would say that God should not intervene. Is this true?

Yes, the “super experts”, those who would turn the sign upwards claim that religion and therefore God, should not be part of business. Instead, with the new concept of the economy of “communion”, God is always present because He is no longer an “unauthorized personnel” but becomes part of the daily operation of the business.

* Tommaso Sorgi left us on 24 April 2018



Language: ENGLISH

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