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Justice: An uncomfortable virtue

Giovanni Cucci, SJ - La Civiltà Cattolica - Mon, Feb 13th 2023

Justice: An uncomfortable virtue
A mirror to our complex society

Among the cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance), the only one currently under philosophical investigation is justice, thanks mainly to its being proposed by a new contractualism. This is an attempt to present it without using a metaphysical and religious perspective, but identifying evaluation criteria that allow each person to decide as “a free and equal rational being.”[1] It is a proposal for our complex society, where a shared vision of life is lacking.

According to the philosophy of new contractualism, justice can be established by means of a precise type of agreement, a contract, in which individuals who differ considerably in their sensibilities, habits, cultural and religious affiliations can agree on the criteria for the allocation of available resources.

It is an interesting proposal that seeks to be useful in today’s secularized societies, whose characteristics seem destined to become increasingly relevant politically and socially.

John Rawls is one of the most lucid popularizers of philosophical new contractualism. In his main work, A Theory of Justice, engaging with the problem of dialogue between followers of different positions, he coined the term “overlapping consensus” as a possible meeting place between different currents of thought.[2] For the American philosopher, consensus should be limited to social justice. In other words, it should establish the fair distribution of goods essential for a dignified life, such as the recognition of the rights to assistance, education, freedom of expression, and political, cultural or religious belief. The fact of individuals having different positions does not prevent them from finding agreement, as long as they reach shared conclusions, what Rawls calls “considered judgments in reflective equilibrium.”[3] To this end, it is necessary for the different parties to prescind from their own convictions, which can only find full expression in the private sphere.


In order to allow the fair exercise of distribution, Rawls introduces the famous expedient of the “veil of ignorance”: no one will actually know to whom the goods subject to negotiation will go.[4] Rawls’ approach is an updated version of the liberal model, according to which the more general conception of life concerns only the sphere of personal conscience, without interfering in any way with the social and political dimension. However, the philosopher does not consider these assumptions to be irrelevant. On the contrary, a commitment to justice presupposes a fundamental ethical attitude of trust and cooperation with other parties, and can find inspiration in the different starting positions of the contracting parties. Commitment to the common good is an ethically indispensable value for the civil community which can be shared. In this sense, differences in approach remain invisible on the level of agreements, but can reveal different aspects of the problem, thus respecting its complexity.[5]

Rawls wants to clarify how putting in brackets the starting points of those who adhere to the contract does not mean encouraging a form of philosophical skepticism or religious indifference,[6] although the role and importance of these realities with regard to the moral life remain to be specified. What is at the heart of the American philosopher’s goal is the protection of individual freedom, even if in fact it remains difficult to understand precisely how it should be exercised in a contractualist society: “The ideal would be to live as a just person in a just society where the rights of all are respected. In such a situation, the person would have ‘the maximum fundamental freedom compatible with a similar freedom for others.’ What the person could or should do with that freedom seems to be a private, somewhat subjective matter, as long as the demands of justice are met […], assuming that we cannot know in detail what is good for individual persons, nor demand substantial consent in this regard.”[7]

Is a contractual approach to justice possible?

Rawls’ book had great success with the public and considerable resonance in debates concerning political philosophy. Subsequent commentators have mostly appreciated the high speculative profile of his proposal, but have also noted its abstractness, despite the attempts to correct this made by the philosopher himself subsequently This is a risk not uncommon in philosophical reflection.

Above all, such an approach, even if it appears as formal and limited to making explicit the procedural dimension of justice, nevertheless highlights an essential ethical element, which cannot be left to the private sphere of conscience: the proposal of the social contract ultimately disregards those goods that the theory of justice should guarantee. This is evident from the notion of maximin (an abbreviation of maximum minimorum: those who are the worst off should be valued to the maximum) which plays such a decisive role in this field. It is not reducible simply to an  economic procedure of resource management, but gives the whole procedure a clear moral dimension. But it then finds itself powerless when it comes to making a concrete choice. Amartya Sen gives the example of three children who want to have the only flute at their disposal, bringing three different reasons for obtaining it: ability, ownership, indigence. These reasons are all equally correct from the procedural perspective: “For theorists of different schools – utilitarianism, economic egalitarianism, practical liberalism – the right solution is likely to be there, ready-made and easy to identify. But, almost certainly, the solution that each of them will present as obviously right will be quite different from that of the others.”[8]  This impasse is typical of an approach to the problem of justice elaborated at the drawing board, based on strict rules and definitions, but incapable of resolving conflict about the assignment of goods in a situation much more complex than the assignment of a flute.

The ethical assumptions of such an approach are not stated, but at the same time unavoidable: they are clearly revealed by the structure of the work itself. The two fundamental principles of justice[9] are in fact exposed before the fundamental contractual moment, the veil of ignorance, without providing an adequate justification for them.[10] In other words, they are not “contractible” at all. In this perspective, the decisive point remains vague: who decides through what moments and modalities, and by virtue of what do the parties involved reach consensus. In the end, the discussion on the goods to be assigned is closed off and settled by a pre-established model: “The list is a constructed list […], and is the product of a certain history of doctrines; but the closing of the list is an effect of construction.”[11] In this way it  claims to regulate the lives of citizens without allowing them to make any of the choices proposed in A Theory of Justice.

This approach ultimately closes the dilemma prior to deliberation by the decision of a higher authority. In practice, the focus is on institutions that are just, without anything being said about the conditions that make a society “just,” i.e., the real lives of people and the difficulties they encounter. What is missing is any mention of the education of citizens, which would make them capable of making just choices: a principle well known to the ancients, who insisted rather on the complexity of the moral life. Justice cannot be separated from the other cardinal virtues: only a righteous person can act justly, to the point of sacrificing himself or herself for the common good.[12] When it becomes a virtue in its own right, justice is reduced to a reflection on the correctness of formal procedures, an aspect that is certainly important, but which empties it of its essential characteristics and makes it an artificial construction.

In fact, the very fiction of the veil of ignorance raises many problems; it is surprising that such an imaginary and hypothetical notion should constitute the central thesis of the entire work. This expedient, which makes one think more of drama than of political science, in the form of a deus ex machina, shows how the treatment of a more general conception of the person and of life is unavoidable in order to deal with the thorny issue of diversity, a central issue in today’s complex societies.

The contradictions of the liberal conception of justice

It is precisely this exclusion that is the most problematic aspect of Rawls’ proposal, even if animated by admirable motivations. The question of what to do with one’s freedom, that is, its positive exercise, requires the notion of finality and an ethics of a teleological nature, entering into a much broader and more complex arena than what is involved in contractual consensus.

In the absence of a transcendent perspective, the very foundations of liberal society become problematic and, in order to be adequately addressed, require that we go beyond the abstract conception of a reason capable of founding itself and of acting impartially with regard to the participants. Reason involved in this kind of contractualism runs the risk of remaining mute on the decisive issues of civil coexistence: think of the themes of immigration, new forms of poverty, health care, volunteer work, housing, listening center, mediation at the level of international politics, and the like.

The values that are the basis of justice (freedom, equality, dignity of every human being, protection of the weakest, human rights) deprived of justification, become difficult to sustain and end up being misunderstood or arbitrarily imposed by the will of the legislator.

The legal philosopher Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, a former member of the German Federal Constitutional Court, expressed this contradiction in profound terms: “The secularized liberal state lives on assumptions it cannot guarantee. This is the great risk it has taken for the sake of freedom. On the one hand, it can exist as a liberal state only if the freedom it guarantees its citizens is regulated from within, that is, from the moral status of the individual and the homogeneity of society. On the other hand, however, if the state tries to guarantee these internal regulating forces by itself, that is, by means of juridical coercion and authoritative command, it renounces its own liberalism and falls back – on a secularized level – into that same instance of totality from which it had removed itself after the confessional civil wars.”[13]

This is what is called “Böckenförde’s Dilemma”: a state, in order to be liberal, must justify the rights it proclaims at the juridical level; however, in order to do this, it must renounce a technical-instrumental use of reason and leave room for a type of knowledge seen as “wisdom” and, in the final analysis, for a transcendent perspective that the positivist conception of law has excluded on principle.

This paradox, formulated during a conference held in Ebrach in 1964, captures the serious impasse that afflicts today’s liberal societies; the centrality of his observations is manifest given the fact that this assumption was taken up and widely debated in the following decades by the most diverse authors.[14]

If it does not escape this dilemma, the liberal state risks failing as a democracy, giving rise to dangerous tendencies, such as populism and authoritarian solutions that truncate debate by mere imposition of force.[15] Above all, the state, in order to overcome this impasse, ends up taking on those confessional tones from which it would like to distance itself. A state that justifies itself becomes totalitarian and denies the main achievements acquired during the modern era.

A possible application: human rights

Another example of the difficulty that paralyzes today’s reflection on justice is the question of human dignity and human rights. At first glance, these issues seem obvious and indisputable, but they pose serious difficulties when their philosophical premises are made explicit. Their justification would require above all the abandonment of a materialist anthropology.

If human beings are no different from any other living organism, the very idea of rights falls apart. What empirical research could in fact detect them? It can only ascertain that the human person is a compound of organic matter, like any other living being. The revelation of our status as “free and equal rational beings,” far from resolving the question, poses further difficulties. It is significant that Rawls does not consider the mentally retarded as subjects of law for whom justice must be done. As they lack rational capacity, they have no contractual voice and must be put on the same level as animals. The disadvantaged, the object of the second principle of justice, are to be understood only in the social and economic sense.[16]

Brad Gregory notes in this regard: “Rights and dignity can only have a status of reality if human beings are more than biological matter. Modern secular discourse on human rights depends on somehow preserving (but not acknowledging) the belief that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God […]. The intellectual foundations of modernity are failing because the metaphysical assumptions that govern them, combined with the discoveries of the natural sciences, offer no reason to believe in its most basic moral, political and normative assertions.” [17]

The proponents of the “new atheism,” faced with such issues, do not hide their discomfort in admitting that there can be no rational answer: “Ronald Dworkin, despite his intellectual finesse, responds to the question of the truth of the objective existence of natural rights like a priest confused by an impertinent layman: ‘You’d better believe it.’”[18]

Norberto Bobbio can be considered the most honest and lucid representative of this difficulty. He speaks of the search for an ultimate foundation as an “illusion.” Rights do not have a foundation; they are not to be “justified,” they are to be “protected” by political institutions with an act of imposition that truncates discussion. Philosophy is unable to say anything else about this: “When, having arrived at the norm of norms, this refers back to the power of powers (in the sense that a legal system is such only if it is more effective than the band of brigands or the armed party that tries to seize power and fails), we must also recognize that what closes the system is not the norm but the power.”[19] Bobbio, however, cannot help but be confronted with these issues when he tries to protect rights from violent and totalitarian tendencies: “The ultimate values […] are not justified, they are assumed: what is ultimate, precisely because it is ultimate, has no foundation.”[20]

However, speaking of “ultimate values” requires justifying their legitimacy and validity, since they entail an obligation for the people to assume and respect them. The mere procedural framework is not enough to make them do this: it is not the majority that establishes that people are free and equal, it is not the majority therefore that can establish the contrary. One must recognize a horizon greater than human, capable of guaranteeing the value in itself: “The ultimate, in the sense indicated by Bobbio, is precisely the ultimate foundation: that which, not referring to anything else, is self-founding: the unconditional, the Absolute, which grounds everything. The definitive answer to the question on the foundation of equality, as of other human rights, must therefore be sought on the level of the Absolute.”[21] This is a “politically incorrect” position, which makes those advocating the liberal perspective uncomfortable, but which is indispensable for modern thought: “Once the metaphysical basis of an ethics of good has been rejected, in principle nothing remains except the human will and its desires, protected by the state.”[22] But in this way, as Bobbio affirmed, the debate is truncated by authoritarian imposition, confirming the anti-democratic tendencies noted by Böckenförde.

Why be just in an unjust world?

It is difficult, however, to consider this perspective sufficient in the face of the tragedies and injustices that life presents. The problem with a contractualist justice arises precisely when others do not honor the agreements: What to do then? “Why be just, in a largely unjust universe?” asked Louis Kohlberg. Consistency in one’s values does not seem to pay, at least in this life. The great moral examples are all of historically failed people. Situations of this kind – the so-called “asymmetric situations,” unjust because they are disproportionate – require another level of consideration, linked to a transcendent perspective: “In the morality of the Gospels, asymmetric situations constitute the central paradigm: ‘love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return’” (Luke 6:35). The problem of knowing how to deal with asymmetry, of making decisions that involve personal harm, is an anticipation of one’s own death and raises other corresponding questions.”[23]

Secular natural law, born in opposition to the classical-medieval tradition, has recognized this difficulty since its inception. Without the guarantee of a superior order, the power of the sovereign can be extended to the point of caprice, becoming tyranny. Jeremy Bentham, criticizing the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of the French Constituent Assembly, observed, in line with his utilitarian approach: “It is nonsense to affirm the rights of man. There is no universal legislation: if the law is nothing but the command of the sovereign, then there will be as many rights as there are sovereigns.”[24]

With insight, the representatives of this school had ascertained how indispensable it was to establish an absolute principle capable of giving rational endorsement and legitimacy to modern law, so as to guarantee it from arbitrary and violent judgments. Hence the considerable interest in theology shown by the most authoritative representatives of “secular” natural law (Grotius, Pufendorf, Hobbes and Spinoza). It is precisely the theological premises that confer the guarantee of the secularity of their proposal, such as the justification of the absolute power of the sovereign as conferred by God.[25]

Justice and truth: the lesson of Pilate

The complexity of the theme becomes even more evident when compared with that of truth. Benedict XVI identifies in the trial of Jesus, narrated in John’s gospel, the consequences of a procedural justice that avoids addressing the question of truth. This episode has offered numerous points for reflection even in today’s debates in the philosophy of law: we can recall, for example, the contribution of Hans Kelsen, an important exponent of legal positivism.

For him, Pilate’s attitude – revealed by the famous question “what is truth?” – is one which allows the only possibility of implementing a rigorous procedure, avoiding insoluble metaphysical problems. The Roman prefect does not expect an answer from Jesus, but he turns to the people, the real protagonist of democracy. Only the majority can decide on each occasion what is “the truth.” The government official must simply establish the formal correctness of the procedures; the result, whatever it is, has no importance. The Austrian philosopher has no doubts about this; he definitely approves Pilate’s attitude: “We must be so sure of our political truth as to impose it, if necessary, with blood and tears, to be so sure of our political truth, as the Son of God was, of his.”[26]

This statement recalls what Bobbio maintained. It is striking how authors belonging to very different currents of thought come to the same result: the rigor of the procedure seems to require the renunciation of the investigation of truth.

Benedict XVI contrasts this reading with that of the biblical scholar Heinrich Schlier, according to whom the decisive point is instead Jesus’ response: Pilate’s power is legitimate insofar as “it had been given you from above” (John 19:11). The moment he forgets this, Pilate loses legitimacy, reducing himself to a manager of his own interests. And in so doing, he makes himself the  agent of a blatant injustice, since he condemns to death a man who, as he himself acknowledges, has done nothing wrong (cf. John 19:6). In this way anyone can be arbitrarily condemned, even himself. By distorting the truth, Pilate condemns himself.[27]

The gospel exchange captures some of the central points of the current debate about the legitimacy of power. It is what may be described as a “formal” process, devoid of ethical content. This emptiness is the main obstacle to the exercise of justice, which is reduced to the management of partisan interest, which is what is really at stake between Pilate and the Jews. In order to proceed, both parties must trample on the truth, embracing a fiction.[28]

There is another important clarification in this episode. Jesus specifies three times that he is king of a kingdom that is not of this world. The kingdom of which he speaks is not absent from this world, but it has a different origin; it has another scale of values that the world cannot understand. This diversity disturbs both Pilate and the Jews: Pilate is afraid and the Jews are scandalized. Jesus manifests his kingship not for personal advantage, but for the truth (a term that in John has multiple nuances: justice, freedom, love, trust in God). It is a truth that descends from above, from God, and that cannot be ignored, because it is the foundation of all legitimate power: “The course of the trial reveals a sharp contrast between Jesus and Pilate: for Jesus there is nothing above the truth; for Pilate, on the other hand, reasons of state come before the truth.”[29]

In the end, reasons of State seem to prevail, which leads to the shedding of innocent blood. The Jews are appeased and Pilate sleeps soundly. However, as Benedict XVI notes, the fact that justice cannot be achieved without truth would emerge a few days later. Without such a follow-up, which refers to an otherworldly dimension, even the protest against injustice, admirable though it is, is reduced to a sterile flatus vocis.

The contractual approach to justice thus highlights a series of problems that risk dangerously eroding today’s democratic institutions. These are certainly complex issues with no hard and fast solutions, but they cannot be ignored.[30]

DOI: La Civiltà Cattolica, En. Ed. Vol. 5, no.11 art. 8, 1121: 10.32009/22072446.1121.8

[1].    J. Rawls, A Theory of Justice, Cambridge MA, Harvard University Press, 1971, 252.

[2].    See Id., “The Idea of an Overlapping Consensus,” in Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 7 (1987/1) 1-25: cf.

[3].    Id., A Theory of Justice, op. cit., 51; cf. Id., “Un riesame dell’idea di ragione pubblica”, in Id., Il diritto dei popoli, Milan, Edizioni di Comunità, 2001, 175-238.

[4].    “Somehow we must nullify the effects of specific contingencies which put men at odds and tempt them to exploit social and natural circumstances to their own advantage. Now in order to do this I assume that the parties are situated behind a veil of ignorance. They do not know how the various alternatives will affect their own particular case and they are obliged to evaluate principles solely on the basis of general considerations” (J. Rawls, A Theory of Justice, op. cit., 136-137).

[5].    Cf. Id., Political Liberalism, New York, Columbia University Press, 1993, 134-149; Id., Giustizia come equità. Una riformulazione, Milan, Feltrinelli, 2008, 206.

[6].    Ibid., 186.

[7].    B. Kiely, “Maturità del ragionamento morale e maturità della vocazione cristiana”, in L. M. Rulla (ed), Antropologia della vocazione cristiana. III. Aspetti interpersonali, Bologna, EDB, 1997, 167.

[8]  .   A. Sen, L’idea di giustizia, Milan, Mondadori, 2010, 29.

[9]  .   “The first statement of the two principles reads as follows. First: each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive scheme of equal basic liberties compatible with a similar scheme of liberties for others. Second: social and economic inequalities are to be arranged so that they are both (a) reasonably expected to be to everyone’s advantage, and (b) attached to positions and offices open to all” (J. Rawls, A Theory of Justice, op. cit., 60).

[10].   The justification of the two principles appears after the formulation of the veil of ignorance. Hence Ricœur’s perplexity: “How can principles be formulated and interpreted, precisely as principles, before the criteria with which to recognize them as such, that is, as first propositions, have been formulated? […] The very idea of an original agreement can only be formulated by virtue of such principles” (P. Ricœur, “Politique, langage et théorie de la justice”, in Id., Lectures. Autour du politique, Paris, Seuil, 1991, 220-222.)

[11].   P. Ricœur, “Politique, langage et théorie de la justice”, op. cit., 226. The “list” proposed by Rawls, with possible alternatives, can be found in A Theory of Justice. Rawls himself will downgrade his earlier unanimous ideal in later writings, arguing that it can never be achieved in these terms (cf. J. Rawls, Political Liberalism, op. cit., 10).

[12].   Cf. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, II, 4, 1105b, 5; II, 6, 1106a, 22. St. Thomas takes this up, reporting the remark of Valerius Maximus about the civil virtues of the ancient Romans, who “preferred to be poor in a rich empire, than rich in a poor empire” (Sum. Theol. II-II, q. 47, a. 10, ad 2.)

[13].   E. W. Böckenförde, La formazione dello Stato come processo di secolarizzazione, Brescia, Morcelliana, 2006, 68f; cf. also 66: “What does the state live on and where does it find the force that governs it and guarantees it homogeneity, after the binding force coming from religion is no longer and cannot be essential for it?”

[14].   Cf. Id. Diritto e secolarizzazione. Dallo Stato moderno all’Europa unita, Rome – Bari, Laterza, 2007, 33-54; P. Prodi – L. Sartori (eds), Cristianesimo e potere, Bologna, EDB, 1986, 101-122; P. Prodi, Una storia della giustizia. Dal pluralismo dei fori al moderno dualismo tra coscienza e diritto, Bologna, il Mulino, 2000; G. E. Rusconi (ed), Lo Stato secolarizzato nell’età post-secolare, ibid., 2008.

[15].   “What would happen if the powers of a Parliament were frozen and the population was called on to make decisions directly on sensitive issues such as bioethics, vaccines, end-of-life care, taxation and education., i.e. on issues that require political mediation? The actions of a few entrenched powerful forces and a few slogans would be enough to condition the vote. […]. For the populists, the thinking political elites are always corrupt; virtue and purity are found only in the people” (F. Occhetta, “Populism”, in Civ. Catt English Edition, September 2017, in

[16].   “While I have not maintained that the capacity for a sense of justice is necessary in order to be owed the duties of justice, it does seem that we are not required to give strict justice anyway to creatures lacking this capacity”; rather, this question should be “one of the tasks of metaphysics” (J. Rawls, A Theory of Justice, op. cit., 512; this position was also reiterated later by the author). Cf. Id., “Giustizia come reciprocità”, in M. Ricciardi (ed), L’ideale di giustizia. Da John Rawls a oggi, Milan, Università Bocconi, 2010, 33; M. Nussbaum, Le nuove frontiere della giustizia. Disabilità, nazionalità, appartenenza di specie, Bologna, il Mulino, 2007, 133-138.

[17].   B. S. Gregory, Gli imprevisti della Riforma. Come una rivoluzione religiosa ha secolarizzato la società, Milan, Vita e Pensiero, 2014, 434; cf. V. Ferrone, Storia dei diritti dell’uomo, Rome-Bari, Laterza, 2014.

[18].   B. S. Gregory, Gli imprevisti della Riforma…, op. cit., 411; cf. R. Dworkin, “Objectivity and Truth: You’d Better Believe It”, in Philosophy and Public Affairs 25 (1996/2) 118.

[19].   N. Bobbio, “Kelsen e il problema del potere”, in Rivista internazionale di filosofia del diritto 58 (1981/4) 569. Cf. Id., L’età dei diritti, Turin, Einaudi, 1997, 6 f; 16.

[20].   Id., L’età dei diritti, op. cit., 8f. See F. Todescan, Il ‘caso serio’ del diritto naturale. Il problema del fondamento ultimo del diritto nel pensiero giuridico del sec. XX, Padua, Cedam, 2011, 1-15.

[21].   A. Andreatta, “Riflessioni intorno al significato e al fondamento del concetto di uguaglianza nella cultura moderna”, in La società criticata. Revisioni fra due culture, Naples, Morano, 1974, 111.

[22].   B. S. Gregory, Gli imprevisti della Riforma…, op. cit., 124.

[23].   B. Kiely, Psicologia e teologia morale. Linee di convergenza, Casale Monferrato (Al), Marietti, 1982, 260.

[24].   J. Bentham, Il libro dei sofismi, Rome, Editori Riuniti, 1993, 124. This contradiction was also noted by Rawls regarding the foundations of democracy (cf. J. Rawls, Lezioni di storia della filosofia politica, Milan, Feltrinelli, 2009, 312-315).

[25].   Cf. F. Todescan, Le radici teologiche del giusnaturalismo laico. Il problema della secolarizzazione nel pensiero giuridico del sec. XVII, Padua, Cedam, 2014, 11f.

[26].   H. Kelsen, I fondamenti della democrazia, Bologna, il Mulino, 1966, 331.

[27].   “The evangelist is very skillful in bringing out the truth of Jesus from his adversaries, unbeknownst to them, even making them say materially the truth that they ignore or, even fight against” (B. Maggioni, La brocca dimenticato, Milan, Vita e Pensiero, 1999, 132; cf. 131). Cf. H. Schlier, “Gesù e Pilato”, in Id., Il tempo della Chiesa, Bologna, EDB, 1965, 89-117; Benedict XVI, L’elogio della coscienza. La Verità interroga il cuore, Siena, Cantagalli, 2009, 55f; G. Zagrebelsky, Il “Crucifige!” e la democrazia, Turin, Einaudi, 1995.

[28].   “[The Jews] do not take Jesus to Pilate to demand a judgment. They don’t want a real trial […]. ‘If he were not an evildoer…’ In reality they know very well that Jesus is not an evildoer, but this is the only accusation – together with the claim to be king of the Jews – that could interest Pilate […]. The hypocrisy of Pilate himself is clearly visible. He opens the trial with an intention of objectivity, but only because he believes that the matter does not concern him personally. As soon as he realizes it, he will show the limits of his own objectivity” (B. Maggioni, La brocca dimenticato, op. cit., 131f.)

[29].   Ibid., 134.

[30].   For further study, cf. G. Cucci, Esperienza religiosa e psicologia, Leumann (To), Elledici, 2017, 169-187; Id., Religione e secolarizzazione. La fine della fede?, Assisi (Pg), Cittadella, 2019, 191-210.

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