Over 250 Christian movements and communities gathered in Stuttgart, Germany this past Saturday for an event called, “Together for Europe 2007”. The purpose of the gathering was to focus on “the role of young people, as the expression of Europe’s future” and to draw attention to Africa. Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. delivered a message in the Pope's name to the ecumenical assembly.
The cardinal pointed out how the current initiative "has come to life through the good ecumenical intuition of Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, and Anglican groups," seeking "to underline the need to re-affirm together faithfulness to the Gospel in a Europe that risks losing its original values and giving up on its Christian roots.
"The words of the Venerable Pope John Paul II," Cardinal Bertone adds, "seem to be more relevant than ever: 'I would like to mention in a particular way the loss of Europe's Christian memory and heritage, accompanied by a kind of practical agnosticism and religious indifference whereby many Europeans give the impression of living without spiritual roots and somewhat like heirs who have squandered a patrimony entrusted to them by history.'
"Pope Benedict XVI echoes this consideration. From the beginning of his pontificate he has never missed an opportunity to recall the importance of safeguarding the Christian inheritance, the particular richness of the European continent.
"The appeal not to lose our roots is like a repeated invitation to work concretely so that believers in Christ of different confessions may unite their efforts in the service of such a timely and relevant cause. It is a matter of defending a human and spiritual heritage that is vital for the authentic development of Europe."
Benedict XVI's wish, is "that the meeting 'Together for Europe' may strengthen the desire for communion that animates lay movements and communities of the different Churches; that it may contribute to overcoming prejudices, nationalism and historical barriers, and may urge people to work so that the spiritual dimension may not weaken in the Europe of post-modern times.
"All human efforts would amount to nothing," the message concludes, "were we to be separated from divine support, because 'unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build'."