Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here
Subscribe to Aleteia's free newsletter: Goodness. Beauty. Truth. No yelling.
Sign me up!

Not Prepared to Donate?

Here are 5 ways you can still help Aleteia:

  1. Pray for our team and the success of our mission
  2. Talk about Aleteia in your parish
  3. Share Aleteia content with friends and family
  4. Turn off your ad blockers when you visit
  5. Subscribe to our free newsletter and read us daily
Thank you!
Team Aleteia

Subscribe

Aleteia

Pope says Christians’ greatest contribution to Europe must be re-focus on people, community

© Antoine Mekary / ALETEIA


November 12 2016 : Procession, led by Card. Philippe Barbarin, and passage up to the Holy Door on the occasion of the jubilee of the homeless and disadvantaged people ending with a Vigil of Merc

Share

Positive role of religion has to play a part in this, he says

Pope Francis on Saturday closed the “(Re)thinking Europe” conference organized by the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), calling the assembly of high-ranking prelates and European politicians to “revitalize Europe.”

In Europe, everything is often reduced to a debate about numbers, the pope observed. There are no citizens; there are “votes,” he lamented. There are no migrants, but “quotas”; no workers, but “economic indicators.”

“The greatest contribution that Christians can make to today’s Europe is to remind her that she is not a mass of statistics or institutions, but is made up of people,” the pope declared.

Christians, Francis said, are therefore called to “revitalize Europe” and reawaken its conscience. To that end, they must help the “Old Continent” to rediscover the value of its own past, he said, in order to enrich the present and build a future of hope.

Read more: The one teaching of John Paul II that will change your life

“Positive role” of religion

This requires taking into account “the positive and constructive role” of religion in society. As an example, the pontiff spoke of the contribution of interreligious dialogue in promoting mutual understanding between Christians and Muslims in Europe.

“Regrettably, a certain secularist prejudice, still in vogue, is incapable of seeing the positive value of religion’s public and objective role in society,” the pope said, “preferring to relegate it to the realm of the merely private and sentimental.”

Europe is suffering from a kind of “memory deficit,” after the 1960s when Europe rejected the ideals that had made it great, he suggested.

A period of “dramatic sterility”

The pope described Europe’s denial of those ideals as a kind of “betrayal.” The European continent then entered a period of “dramatic sterility,” he said, firstly, because “Europe has fewer children, and all too many were denied the right to be born.”

Also, he continued, “there has been a failure to pass on the material and cultural tools that young people need to face the future.” Consequently, many young people are helpless in the face of an absence of “roots or prospects.” It would be particularly opportune, the pontiff continued, for new generations to rediscover the practical value of work and manual labor.

He also encouraged Europeans to rediscover a sense of community, which is an antidote against individualism, characteristic of a rootless society. In a community, the family—a place where diversity and unity are celebrated—is fundamental.

Before the meeting, Francis met with Franz Timmermans, vice-president of the European Commission, and Antonio Tajani, president of the European Parliament.

Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.
Aleteia offers you this space to comment on articles. This space should always reflect Aleteia values.
[See Comment Policy]
Readers like you contribute to Aleteia's Mission.

Since our inception in 2012, Aleteia’s readership has grown rapidly worldwide. Our team is committed to a mission of providing articles that enrich, inspire and inform a Catholic life. That's why we want our articles to be freely accessible to everyone, but we need your help to do that. Quality journalism has a cost (more than selling ads on Aleteia can cover). That's why readers like you make a major difference by donating as little as $3 a month.