It is often asked: Is Europe anti-Christian?
Correct would be to say: Unfortunately, there are many anti-Christian tendencies in Europe. How do we respond to these trends? Mgr Gergely Kovács is from Transylvania and lives in Rome. Below, some of his thoughts: A threefold obligation for a Christian Europe.
Thank you for your commitment and your prayers for a Christian Europe!
Your Europe for Christ - Team
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A triple duty for a Christian Europe
Please, have a look at the statement by M.A. Gergely Kovács, head office of the Pontifical Council for Culture- an extract from a speech delivered at the Congress of the Pan European Union on 2 May 2009 in Passau, Germany.
... At first glance, Europe presents itself as a mosaic of cultures: there are the Latin, but also the Baltic and Germanic, Slavic, and the Celtic areas and just today we may not forgot about migration flows coming from outside Europe. Although Europe was almost never a civic, political or historical entity, it had basically acquired its own cultural and spiritual unity over the centuries.
Testimonies for this plurality we find when we consider and think about the importance of Greek philosophy or the impact of Roman law, but also about the influence of liberal education or the labour movement, that means the intellectual mind and the struggle for a social justice. Christianity was undoubtedly the golden bonds which maintain this diversity together. The great Goethe summarized this in his famous phrase, "The mother tongue of Europe is Christianity”.
The Christian soul may be quite often wounded or covered with various sediments, but it was never extinguished. And I would now propose a threefold commitment, and a three-fold call to all of us.
1. Above all, we must necessarily start fighting AGAINST THE FORGETFULNESS - in the same way as it would be about our own roots and the fundamental values of the true identity of Europe. Otherwise the glorious cathedrals and monuments will become, as the German poet Wilhelm Willms said, "Empty snail shells", full of heartless, absent-minded tourist crowds going through only, without life, singing, voice, or having any faith. Then the noble character of our culture would look like shells in which sounds of the past are silent.
2. Together with this first battle, a second battle against superficiality, banality, emptiness, vulgarity and ugliness has to be undertaken. These battles should be connected and mutually supporting each other.
A RETURN TO THE ETHICS AND BEAUTY – shining stars fixed in the sky of European civilization must succeed through the proclamation of the Christian message – of justice and beauty, truth and love.
It is common to quote the following words of Danish philosopher Soeren Kierkegaard, found in his diary; "It is as if the ship is controlled by the board cooking which does not announce the route for sailing through the commander’s speakers, but tells what we will be eating tomorrow ". Please, consider with critical eyes, that for example the television communicates now only what we eat and how we dress and what types of fashion and lifestyle is trendy at the moment. On the other hand, often we lack the voice with the clear directions defining the meaning of life and appealing to us in order to distinguish the good and evil, the right and wrong, the truth and untruth, the life and death.
3. Finally, I would like to mention a third commitment necessary for us to become real Europeans – to fight against extremism of ANY KIND. On the one side the danger of syncretism and relativism is still present in reality and that may cause that our identity extinguishes. Dostoyevsky said bitterly; "Europe has denied Christ and therefore and only for this reason, it is now dying." On the other hand, there is the danger of fundamentalism, which is transforming into exclusiveness, which in turn extinguishes any human respect and as a result all of the values of fellow human beings are ignored, because people fear, first of all, these things which are different.
However, it is imperative that we should come back to the great tradition of dialogue, confrontation of cultures and religions in a spirit of true Christianity.
Thomas S. Eliot writes; "If Christianity disappears, our whole culture disappears with it, even our face".
To encourage your desire and encouragement in the formation of the "new Europe", I would like to conclude by quoting the words of the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, said in Rome during the audience on the eve of the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome on 24th March 2007. He spoke about a "unique form of (Europe´s) apostasy from itself, before it is apostasy from God". Then the Holy Father said; "Do not be tired, and do not lose the courage! (...). Be active in the public debate at the European level, in the sense that Europe is now an integral part of international debate, and do support this effort with an effective cultural action. "