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Touch

· ​The editorial ·

Pope Francis’ General Audience (2 January 2019)

In the common perception abuses have transformed what used to be the most delicate expression of love, the caress – maternal, comforting, or as a farewell to the dying – into an expression in itself suspect and virtually obscene, thereby creating scandal, in addition to violence and pain. In this issue we analyse certain moments of this transformation of feeling, this loss of the innocence of the most delicate of affective expressions, with the intention not only of giving a voice to the weak and to victims but also of healing the wound inflicted on our way of feeling, perceiving and acting. Men can do this too of course, both within and outside the Church. But women can do it better, because in order to understand they have a double gaze, directed both internally and externally: on the one hand the gaze of those who have never had a voice or recognition, and, on the other, of those who, having won a voice at great cost, are able to look at, see and understand the gaze of those who do not have one.

For this reason in this issue which addresses the subject of touch, in addition to reviewing the many Gospel episodes linked to touch and to deepening the role of touch in our experience from the psychoanalytical point of view, we have wished to reflect on the subject of abuse, namely the perverted use of touch. Let us recall that in preparation for the summit on abuse, Pope Francis recently “praised those journalists who have honestly and objectively uncovered priest predators and have made the voices of victims heard”. As the editorial staff of a newspaper that is concerned with women, especially in their relationship with the Church and with the world, we cannot but appreciate the Supreme Pontiff’s voice in support of victims and as far as possible follow his suggestions.

This issue dedicated to touch is the third in a series on the five senses and the various ways in which they are perceived in the different religions. We have thus wished to deepen our understanding of touch in Islam by analysing a series of devotions linked to the footprints left in stone by Muhammad. (anna foa)

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