- Europe english
What should be done with Europe?
Catholics and the difficult time of the common home
"The Europe that I dream of is not a Europe of the markets. It is not confined to States, regions or municipalities. It’s a Europe consisting of people, citizens, men and women alike. A reconciled Europe that is capable of reconciliation. A Europe of the spirit, erected on solid moral principles, and thus capable of providing authentic areas of freedom, solidarity, justice and peace for everyone; a Europe that fulfils with generosity and joy her mission to the service of world, indicating those paths leading to a truly evolved and human civilization".
This earlier - albeit ever topical - reflection belongs to Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini.
It is a "dream" that perfectly mirrors the dream that was to represent the cornerstone of the European common home. Notably, the story began owing to the thought and action of three Catholics, three politicians whose dream was not an escape from reality; it was a great vision that was to be accomplished day after day and passed on to the next generations.
Today, that historical unfolding - which as Jacques Delors recalled, "never was a peaceful river" - risks being interrupted, and the "dream" seems to be waning.
No reiterated evaluations are needed, nor is it necessary to underline the crudeness of reality around the euro currency.
The new construction, whose pillars were placed by a few visionary leaders, is being jeopardized by the absence and/or scepticism of many.
The ensuing drift interrogates Catholics in Europe, more than anyone else. "European thought" within ecclesial bodies and Catholic environment needs momentum to prevent Europe from appearing too distant, incapable of meeting people’s expectations.
It is widely believed, by far too many people, that now it’s the time to leave an often divided and inconclusive Europe to itself.
In the light of the efforts and faith of the fathers a different path should be undertaken, by Catholics at least.
If not, Institutions will fail to be renewed, the gap separating institutions from EU citizens won’t be bridged, nor will the dialogue involving the different sensitivities of Eastern and Western Europe undergo significant progress. It will be like playing right into the hands of those whose aim is a weak and insignificant Europe.
What do Catholics of Europe want to do?
What do they intend to do about it at the time of the new evangelization?
What to they intend to do as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Council?
What to they intend to about it in the faith?
What do they intend to do about it twenty years after the Treaty of Maastricht, which marked the creation of the EU, a milestone for the establishment of the economic and monetary union and for future enlargement to the East?
What do they intend to do about it in the year of preparations for the Social European Weeks due to be held in Granada in 2013?
Europe needs answers and new faces to overcome a tiredness that risks delaying its appointment with history.
It would represent not only the dissolution of a dream caused by the hurdle of scepticism, fear and egoism.
It would entail missing a historical responsibility towards the rest of the world, betraying the expectations of Europe’s young and poor population.
A major opportunity unveils today for Catholic laity in European countries, reflecting and deciding over their presence in the political realm.
In this exercise of laicity, from which a new generation of politicians is expected to spring, also Europe can stop being breathless and start breathing with full lungs also at national level.
The first step is to learn about the European reality, and stop being contented with front page headlines and party slogans. Serious information always underlies fruitful participation in those processes aimed at the establishment of the common good. From this perspective it’s important to be informed on the specific contribution offered by the Church for the construction of Europe united in truth, justice and peace. Last in order of time, the European bishops’ meeting on social market economy presented in Brussels last week.
An act of hope is needed in Europe today to address the strain of political thought and action; in the light of a faith that is never accompanied by mediocrity.
20/01/2012 - Paolo Bustaffa - ediitor-in-chief SIR Europe