During the presentation of his book, “The Contribution of Christians for a New Europe,” the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, said Europe, “more than a geographic reality, is a spiritual reality, which distinguishes it from other continents,” and that it has profound Christian roots which cannot be ignored in the face of secularist threats to banish them.
In the introduction to the book, Cardinal Sodano recalls first the great work of Pope John Paul II and his contribution to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of Communism in Europe. He also noted the late Pope's untiring work in support of the “European Community of the Spirit,” a task also important to Pope Benedict XVI.
Benedict XVI, says Cardinal Sodano, “from the outset of his pontificate, has always recalled the Christian roots of Europe, which are capable of assuring a new and harmonious development of social life on the continent.”
He said these statements by the Holy Father conflict with “a secular current that seeks to hide the religious and moral aspect of the lives of the European people. Some have even spoken of a time of historical amnesia, others of Christ-phobia. What is certain is that there are attempts to dissolve the Christian identity of Europe,” the cardinal said.
“Many people of good will, in particular the Christians of Europe, who are the guardians of that spiritual patrimony that has always characterized them throughout the centuries,” have fought against these attempts, he added.
Cardinal Sodano noted that in his recent encyclical, “Caritas in Veritate,” Pope Benedict XVI called on Christians in Europe to make the Gospel present in the lives of their communities and to thus transform society.
“Christians are only demanding the right to concur in the formation of a civilization that respects and promotes the rights of all, that is, of believers and their institutions,” the cardinal said.
“The new Europe that Christians, particularly Catholics, want to strengthen is not a sectarian Europe. But neither do they want Europe to be a secular institution that disregards the spiritual values that have given it life throughout the centuries,” he added.
Christians “understand well the duty to give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, but they also legitimately demand Caesar to give to God that which is God’s,” the cardinal concluded.