Sins On December 4, when you were awarded your honorary degree in 'Communication and social enterprise', you said that there is a sort of standard list of light sins, usually confessed among the faithful (for example, not going to Mass on Sundays), but added that no one, or almost no one, admitted to not paying taxes. What are the real immoral actions of every day and which, in your opinion, are the ones that go unnoticed?
For a Christian, the most critical sins are the ones that usually no one confesses, related to Jesus’ call to care for others. Others are not just strangers, foreigners, the sick, the poor, to whom we should always offer our help, but also our "nearest and dearest": our wife, our husband, children, our girlfriend, or boyfriend, our friends, our neighbors. Certainly it is commendable to tackle marginalization somewhere else, but we must also be able to get along with the people we live next door to. We must look at sins not just as actions, but also as a way of following Jesus’ words. He asks us to pursue justice, not to amass wealth but to distribute it as far as possible, and to take care of the weak: if you don’t do these things, then you're entering into sin, and a serious one. It goes without saying that even those who have no faith, have principles that guide their lives, values that they claim to respect and seek to achieve. And living in the name of good means to act for the best, and to do your best; but it is not enough to admire it. Abstaining from evil is not the same thing as committing to good.
Ignorance in love On that same occasion, you said that the worst ignorance of our time is our ''ignorance in love" and that to feel good we must find a way to "liberate" our ability to talk about what we feel inside. What do you think are the best practices that lead to well-being with ourselves and with others?
I start from the belief that learning to get along with others, to have good relationships, is not as a gift or a "fact" that happens or not, even in love. Falling in love exists, but it is only the beginning: we then have to continue on our way, together. We can all learn to improve and maintain healthy lives and loving relationships, but because a relationship is a constantly moving process, we must take care of it and commit to it daily.
Our daily practices are always linked to an honest and warm relationship with others: to love someone – in the broadest sense, because this also happens with friends and those closest to us – means that we have to know who it is that we love and what we are like. It asks of us to always act for the good each other, in reciprocity. In a relationship, there are always two sides. An excellent practice is to see the best in others around us, to see their good qualities. It's always easy to pick holes, but less so if we look and make a list of at least three good qualities of those around us. We must practice and learn to look at the good side of the people we live with. And even our good side. This is what I call well-being.
Gentle rehabilitation At Villa Paradiso (your therapeutic community for people with addiction problems), you have created a pastry and catering laboratory where participants learn a profession that will allow them to find a job and economic independence. What is the relationship between the care that is put into the preparation of a food and the rehabilitation of a person?
The answer is in the question: when we prepare food, we need to take care, in our lives, of ourselves and of others. To prepare a dish we have to plan, to think about the effects of our actions, to achieve a result, one step at a time, offering the fruit of our labor to others, for their feedback, agreeing to put ourselves to the test. Rehabilitation is very much linked to experience, making us feel good, helping us discover our qualities and deciding to bet on them; ready to accept also the difficult moments along the way when doubts can leaving us shaken. Preparing ourselves in the kitchen is a good analogy: there are difficulties, but we learn that we are not alone, that there is a group where we can share our thoughts and ideas.
Food quality Cakes and pastries made at Villa Paradiso are created using only natural ingredients of the highest quality such as butter, eggs, flour, fruit and milk at km zero. How important is the ethical aspect for those who create and promote these products?
Shortcuts in life – which, in this case, do not refer to the mileage between ourselves and our sources of raw materials – usually lead us to a dead end: to live in an ethical way and in the name of honesty and quality, applies to every aspect of our lives. Commitment is therefore to do things well, and is not limited just to that: a laboratory, despite being small, in part of a neighborhood and it is good to build our relationships with those who live around us.
D’O and Friends On Sunday, December 14, for the sixth year, you organized a special lunch with Ambassador Davide Oldani to support the residential community of the Comunità Nuova charity. Proceeds will go towards funding activities in Villa Paradiso. How did the partnership with Oldani come about? Why did he choose to raise money through culinary events?
I knew Davide Oldani
and then became friends with him a long time ago. He was the first to show us at Comunità Nuova his thoughtfulness and care for others. He was the one who offered to prepare Christmas dinner at Villa Paradiso which we used to organize under our own steam. But the most wonderful thing is the spirit with which, for six years now, he brings together his friends: he really involves the girls and boys staying at the community, explaining and talking things through. It is an experience that involves us all. The idea of organizing culinary occasions is closely linked to the spirit with which our association was born: being together is important. Even more so is enjoying being together. Conviviality, helped along by good food, is key to deciding that "together is better."
Expo Milano 2015 You are an Ambassador of Expo Milano 2015. What is the most important message that the next Universal Exposition should bring to the world?
That food is an integral part of our right to life. Like air, like water, like home and being able to maintain our dignity and our family through work. If food is a source of life, it is necessary to preserve its quality. Not only its intrinsic quality, but also the quality of the work required to produce it. But there's more: if we want to recognize food as the right of every human being, we must reconsider the actions of international bodies that govern food commodities. I am thinking, for example, of the Chicago Stock Exchange, where people decide and often speculate on grain prices, with disastrous effects sometimes on entire populations. A universal right should not hinge on economic and financial interests.