Pope: Europe’s apostasy against itself

Pope: Europe’s apostasy against itself

While it didn’t make as much of a splash in the US media as his entirely unsurprising reminder that hell exists, Pope Benedict’s speech last week on the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome that led to the European Union is much greater effect in Europe. In this speech, he said that Europe has strayed from its own principles, that even more basic than apostasy from God it is “an apostate from itself” “even doubting its own identity.”

The Holy Father has often spoken on European identity, doing so long before he became Pope, and how that identity is indelibly tied both to the Christian faith and to the principles of Western civilization. He speaks of Europe as “leaven for the world,” which it has been indisputably. Recall that while Christianity had its roots in a Semitic culture of the Middle East, it was God’s plan that it should find its full flowering in Europe. Like a newly baptized Christian, the Roman Empire was the “old man” of sin who entered the holy water and “died”, to be reborn as the New Man in Christ. And as the faith spread throughout Europe along the Roman arteries, it transformed the continent and despite the wars and tragedies of the last 1,500 years, it is the faith that has bound Europe like a dysfunctional family.

And it was the European explorer spirit, a spirit inspired by economic opportunity and nationalist sentiment as much as by evangelical zeal, that brought Christ out into the whole world. But now, that zeal has lost its luster and Europe is in danger of forgetting its own identity. While the pull of economics is as great as ever, zeal for Christ is not.

The Pope’s view: don’t ignore your identity

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli