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European Churches (CCEE) at a time of crisis and uncertainties for Europe
We don’t need many more analyses to conclude that Europe is still experiencing a difficult moment and that the “common home” is still subjected to bolts – which aren’t only of economic and financial nature.
The foundations resist. The resilience of a political thought that thrived for six decades without suffering serious wounds, enables mature reactions to pessimistic thoughts of surrender.
National and European responsibility realms while not renouncing critical evaluations, refrain from announcing a defeat. All considered, there remain ideas and choices that nourish a project and keep the work in progress going.
Preventing the European thread from breaking marks a historical development, which, however brief, is rich with thought, facts, and results.
There is the hope that far from being an escape from reality and refuge in utopian scenarios, it’s still possible to rely on the capacity of reading and interpreting the signs of the times; it was and it remains an industrious preoccupation for a future to be built with the next generations and for the next generations.
The Catholic Church in Europe has been on this track, which she continues to pursue, marked by the annual meeting in Edinburgh (Scotland) from June 29 to July 2 of the General Secretaries of European Bishops’ Conferences. It was the 40th meeting promoted by CCEE, the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences. Forty years characterized by memory, commitments and projects. In proclaiming the new evangelisation and the Year of Faith, the Church highlighted that being with love in European history today has a surplus of motivations and a renewed proximity, while on the background there is the risk of impoverishment and uncertainties. Such proximity has always been rooted in the primacy of God whence the primacy of man derives, but which today should be communicated with greater force.
The voice of this Church reaches out to European Countries and Institutions. It raises questions, and notably, it indicates to societies and to the political realm the directions leading to the joint establishment of the common good, in the full respect of the various responsibilities. This goal can be achieved only by undertaking the path of the truth on man, on the family, on religious freedom, and on the freedom of education. The dialogue of faith with reason lies within this thought and within a laborious proximity so that also arid political terrain may become fertile: even desert can bloom.
It is thus possible to understand the trust reposed in Catholic laity, that it may motivate the creation of a new political presence within European realms recovering at the same time the highest meaning of political commitment, which stems from the Council, namely, a prominent, demanding form of charity also for Europe. Disappointment and fatigue thus are not Christians’ answer to an undeniably complex situation.
This difficult time, owing also to repeated and subtle attempts to confine religion to the margins of public arena, is yet a time to live with responsibility. The response to the design of removing God from history and from our contemporariness cannot be limited to a denouncement and a defense. Christians are called to live the “excellence of religious life” in order to bring about a “cultural and political excellence”.
It is the message of the European Catholic Churches gathered for the 40th CCEE meeting, accompanied by an appeal to renew Christian witness, whose fountainhead is to be found in a young, fifty-year old Council, and in the yearning for a vision which is clearly felt on the eve of the opening of the Year of Faith.
04/07/2012 - Paolo Bustaffa - Edinburgh