Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano said he believes the Church can give a soul to Europe.
"The Church, without interfering in politics, can give a soul to this Europe. A Europe without a soul cannot exist, because it would not exist if there was not the Christianity," he reportedly told the Religious Information Service.
The cardinal spoke with the news service while in Sofia for the consecration of the new cathedral new Cathedral of St. Joseph. It was built on the same site as the old cathedral, which was destroyed during World War II. During the Communist era, authorities never permitted its reconstruction, so the faithful celebrated mass in a theatre for over 60 years.
Construction of the new cathedral began July 2, 2002. It can accommodate up to 350 people.
"The Church defends the value of life from conception to [natural] death: this is a huge vision in a Europe that sometimes favors only those who are well, forgetting the ill and the value of family,” he told the news service.
“It is important to come back to the human and Christian idea of family that has formed our nations. We must not forget the concept of international solidarity, too. I'm sure Bulgaria will contribute to the new Europe," he was quoted as saying.
During the homily, Cardinal Sodano welcomed Patriarch Maksim. He recalled Pope John Paul II's visit to Bulgaria. He exhorted the Bulgarians to reflect the rays of Christian faith in their society and to demonstrate to Europe that they are a Christian people.
Institutional authorities, representatives of the Bulgarian Orthodox church and Muslim authorities were also present at the mass.
"The new church is a great joy for all the Christians," said Orthodox Metropolitan Neofit, who donated an icon of the Virgin to the church.