Skip to content

We ask you, humbly: don't scroll away.

Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you.

Help Now >

Pope Benedict Is Right: Europe Needs to Appreciate Its Christian Roots

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

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."

FREE Catholic Classes Pick a class, you can learn anything

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

15% OFF for Christmas

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,716

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

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.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

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

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

We ask you, humbly: don't scroll away.

Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you.

Help Now >

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Get our Special offer: 15% off + Free Shipping

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Free, world-class Catholic education for anyone, anywhere

Join the Movement
When you sign up below, you don't just join an email list - you're joining an entire movement for Free world class Catholic education.

40 Days of Deals this Christmas season of 2022
Daily Readings logo
Saint of the Day logo
Free world class Catholic education for anyone, anywhere
Free Freezer with 40-46lbs of 'The Greatest Meat on Earth'

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2022 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 2022 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!