Pope Benedict Is Right: Europe Needs to Appreciate Its Christian Roots
By Michael J. Gaynor
Pope Benedict XVI, previously known as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, should be heeded: he knows what of he speaks. In the first general audience of his pontificate he stressed Europe's "inalienable" Christian roots. The wisdom of his choice of the his papal name Benedict (the name of Pope Benedict XV, "a courageous and authentic prophet of peace" who led the Catholic Church during the dark years of World War I, and Saint Benedict, founder of the Benedictine order and one of the patron saints of Europe) is being confirmed by the current rioting in Europe by an Islamic extremist criminal element that hoots at Europe's Christian roots. What Pope Benedict called "the inalienable Christian roots of its culture and civilisation."
Pope Benedict's predecessor, the late Pope John Paul II, campaigned for specific mention of Europe's Christian roots in the preamble of the European Union's new constitution. He was unsuccessfully, but right. The sooner Europe returns respectfully to its Christian roots, the better Europe will be.
Like Pope John Paul, Pope Benedict, as Cardinal Ratzinger, considered it both his right and duty to intervene in European politics, to inject Christianity into public life because of Europe's religious past. In an interview in Le Figaro magazine published in the summer of 2004, he deemed it a "mistake" to omit Europe's Christian roots in the European Union constitution, calling Europe a "cultural continent, not a geographical one" whose roots are Christian. And used the same argument to explain why Turkey, with its mostly Muslim population, should not be a member of the European Union, warning that Turkey could "try to set up a cultural continent with neighboring Arab countries and become the protagonist of a culture with its own identity."
Pope Benedict views the rebuilding of Europe after World War II as made possible "thanks to political leaders who had strong Christian roots," and the failure to recognize Europe's Christian identity as a reflection of "a hatred of Europe against itself and against its great history." As Cardinal Ratzinger, he sharply criticized what he called the "ideological secularism" of Europe--France, for example, upholds a strict separation of church and state as a pillar of the republic--as a "total profanity." (Is it sheer coincidence that the rioting began in France?) And criticized "multiculturalism" for sometimes amounting to "an abandonment and disavowal of what is our own."
Pope Benedict's problem is not with Islam, which he described as a "valid spiritual foundation for people's lives" that "seems to have escaped from the hands of old Europe," meaning Christian Europe, but with perversions of Islam. Which is also the case with President Bush.
Last August His Holiness went to Cologne in his homeland, Germany, urged Europe to rediscover its Christian tradition and warned against rising secularism as he concluded his first foreign trip with an open-air Mass for a million people.
Like his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict promoted better interfaith relations. He visited a synagogue, winning applause for his warning about rising anti-Semitism, and talked frankly with Muslims about terrorism. His basic message was that people need to use the freedom God gave them wisely: And he explained that "[f]reedom is not simply about enjoying life in total autonomy, but rather about living by the measure of truth and goodness so that we ourselves can become true and good."
Pope Benedict did not flinch when it came to dealing with Muslims. He addressed Muslim officials as "my dear Muslim friends," but raised the issue of terrorism, which he called "cruel fanaticism." And which is a worldwide problem.
The current rioting in Europe, which has continued in France for eleven consecutive nights and spread to other countries, highlights the importance of one of Pope Benedict's favorite themes--the need to evangelize a Europe that has become increasingly secular despite its centuries of Christian belief--and the foolishness of the decision of the drafters of the proposed European constitution to omit any reference to Europe's undeniable Christian roots and of Europeans in general to succumb to the siren song of secular extremism.
Michael J. Gaynor
(631) 757-9452 (tel)
(631) 754-3437 (fax)
Michael J. Gaynor
Michael J. Gaynor - Attorney, 631 757-9452
Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II, Europe, Christian roots, secular extremism, Islamic extremism
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Readings for Sunday, March 26, 2017
- 'Living Lent': Sunday of the Fourth Week of Lent - Day 26
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 HD Video
- 'Living Lent': Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent - Day 27
- St. Margaret Clitherow: Saint of the Day for Sunday, March 26, 2017
- 'Living Lent': Saturday of the Third Week of Lent - Day 25
- Daily Reading for Sunday, March 26th, 2017 HD Video
- Daily Reading for Monday, March 27th, 2017 HD
- Adorable girl captured stealing Pope Francis' hat in hilarious footage HD
- Cause of cancer detected from unexpected and unpreventable element HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, March 25th, 2017 HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.