An “Apostate” from Itself: The Lost Europe of Pope Benedict by Sandro Magister
Even before its separation from God, Joseph Ratzinger sees the old continent withdrawing from itself, from “its very identity.” Fifty years after the Treaty of Rome, the most critical assessment is that of the pope. ROMA, March 28, 2007
Fifty years after the signing of the Treaty of Rome, which in 1957 brought into life what today is the European Union, Benedict XVI has formulated a very severe diagnosis of the status of the continent. He has even come to the point of stating that Europe is falling into a “remarkable form of apostasy.”
John Paul II also spoke of “apostasy,” in the sense of the abandonment of the faith, in the 2003 apostolic exhortation “Ecclesia in Europa.” But Benedict XVI has gone even further. He has accused Europe of being ever more frequently an apostate “from itself, even before [being an apostate] from God”: to the point of “doubting its very identity.”
The pope formulated this diagnosis while receiving in the Vatican’s Sala Clementina on March 24 the cardinals, bishops, and politicians who were taking part in a conference organized in Rome by the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community, COMECE, dedicated to the theme of “Values and perspectives for the Europe of tomorrow.”
To renew its worldwide vocation – the pope warns – Europe must again rely not only on its Christian foundations, but also on those “universal and absolute values” in which it believes less and less: values that are fixed in “a stable and permanent human nature, the source of rights common to all individuals, including those who deny them.”
It is in the rejection of these universal and inviolable principles, inscribed in the heart of every man, that the pope sees the origin of, among other things, the laws that in many countries harm the dignity of life and the family.