Conservative philosopher Phillip Blond is addressing the Catholic conference in Rimini today.
The author of Red Tory and head of the ResPublica think tank, whose ideas have hugely influenced David Cameron’s “Big Society” programme, will address 5,000 people at the conference in Italy organised by the Communion and Liberation movement.
The 31st “Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples”, which has been held since 1980, began last Sunday with a Mass in which the faithful were reminded that God wishes them to be happy.
The event is attended by half a million people and features the most important Catholic and Christian thinkers speaking on a variety of issues.
Mr Blond’s political philosophy mixes social conservatism with Distributist economic policy and is based on Catholic and Anglican social teaching. He argues that both Right and Left-wing politics have increased the monopolisation of capital and caused the erosion of civic society.
Earlier this week Ireland’s President Mary McAleese paid homage to Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin in a speech to the conference, describing him as “a wonderful archbishop who is doing an amazing job”.
In his own message at Rimini, the Pope said that the human spirit naturally longs for God. “Mankind,” the Pope said, “is often tempted to stop at the little things, those that give ‘cheap’ satisfaction and pleasure, those that satisfy for a passing moment, things that are as easy to obtain as they are illusory.” He said that Christians should “purify [their] desires” to seek the greater good.