The intense priestly and intellectual life of Dr. Cantó Rubio, who died yesterday in Alicante, can be summarized in two aspirations: to spread the idea of Europe from schools to governments and to evangelize through art.
His date of birth on November 11, 1924 marked his dedication to European integration. Only six years had passed since the signing of the Armistice that ended the First World War between the German Empire and the allied countries. Although officially the agreement signed in the French city of Compiègne did not signify German surrender, the conditions imposed on the defeated Reich were so harsh that the discontent and economic difficulties of the German population were the breeding ground for Hitler’s nationalism. The Nazi invasion of Poland in September 1939, triggered World War II, the Jewish Holocaust and more than fifty million deaths until 1945. Only the signing of the Treaty of the European Coal and Steel Community, in 1950 in Paris, between the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, it allowed to start the process of European integration. Countries that have been in conflict for centuries were committed to cooperating in two fundamental sectors for their respective economies and the manufacture of weapons. In 2012, the European Union, which had grown from six countries to 28, received the Nobel Peace Prize.
Juan Cantó understood from the first moment the need for reconciliation and reconstruction of Europe through dialogue, solidarity and respect for the rule of law of its members. As of the Spanish accession to the European Communities in 1986, Father Cantó carried out an intense campaign to disseminate community integration in schools and institutes, in collaboration with the Office of the European Parliament in Spain. At the end of the nineties, the two-time doctor launched the European Diplomatic Forum with the support of the Alicante City Council, chaired by Luis Díez Alperi. Don Juan moved through European embassies and institutions like a fish in water. For two decades, five hundred young people from the diplomatic career of the five continents have passed through Alicante to promote understanding and friendship between nations.
Doctor in Philosophy and Letters from the University of Valencia with the thesis “Secularization in Giotto’s painting” and doctor in Theology from the Pontifical University of Salamanca with the thesis “Public opinion in Pius XII”, discovered through these works of academic research two of his great vocations: explaining history through Art, and journalism. His friendship with the prestigious painter from Onil, Eusebio Sempere, led him to create the Chair of Kinetic Art and to collaborate with the artistic collections of the Savings Bank, which, through its evolution, became the CAM. His great illusion in recent years was that engineers and architects create buildings and urban projects that transmit the values of the European Union: respect for democracy, economic and social cohesion and transparency. Juan Cantó was convinced that aesthetic education is part of the basis of any socio-political community that aspires to function normally, as he reflected in his numerous books, including “Evangelize with Art” or “The Europe of Tomorrow. ”
Another means of transmitting his messages was through his collaborations in the INFORMACIÓN of Alicante, the city that welcomed him since 1952, and in the FARO DE MELILLA, where he was born. He believed in the social function, in the capacity to train and in the multiplying power of journalism. And to try to shape an educated and mature public opinion, he contributed his accurate articles until the last years of his life. Likewise, until his health allowed, Father Cantó celebrated Mass on Sundays at the Monastery of the Holy Face.
Two days before his death, the priest and professor received one of the most beautiful tributes of his life: a student of the Chair of Kinetic Art, the painter Antonio Ballesta dedicated the catalog of his latest exhibition at the University of Alicante to him. Juan has left with many projects in mind, but happy and serene, with the affection of his brothers Pedro and Teresa, who has taken care of him and has been “his guardian angel.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.