.- A significant number of Italian lawmakers, politicians and intellectuals, led by the president of the Italian Senate, Marcello Pera and including such individuals as Italyâs Culture Minister, Rocco Buttiglione, has presented a manifesto in which they attribute the confusion and fear in Europe over Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism to âa moral and spiritual crisisâ that prevents the continent from finding âthe courage to react.â
The manifesto, endorsed by more than 70 different leaders in government, trade unions and universities, states that the west is âunder attack from the outside by Islamic fundamentalism and terrorismâ and is âincapable of responding to the challenge.â âWe feel guilty for our well-being, we are ashamed of our traditions, and we think terrorism is a reaction to our mistakes. But terrorism is a direct attack on our civilization and on the whole of humanity,â the document argues.
âEurope is sick,â it continues. âThe birth rate continues to fall, as well as [Europeâs] competitiveness, unity and action on the world scene. It hides and denies its own identity and thus fails to provide itself a legitimate constitution of its citizens. It determines relations with the United States are broken and makes anti-Americanism its flag.â
The statement echoes the words of Pope Benedict XVI that today, the âWest no longer loves itself,â and that to overcome this crisis âmore determination and more courage regarding the issue of our civilizationâ are needed.
Western civilization, it notes, has been the âsource of universal and undeniable principles, contrasting, in the name of a common historical and cultural tradition, the temptation today to build an alternative Europe set against the United States.â
The document also argues for better integration of immigrants and defends the right to life âfrom conception to natural death.â The family, it underscores, is the natural foundation of society, and marriage âmust be protected and differentiated from any other type of union or bond.â
The signers acknowledge the distinction between Church and State, âwithout giving in to the secular temptation to relegate the religious dimension to solely the private sphere.â