During a press conference in which he introduced the new book by Pope Benedict XVI, “The Europe of Benedict: In the Crisis of Cultures,” Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar of Rome, explained that the new work analyizes the two alternatives facing today’s Europeans: “to live as if God did not exist, or to live as if God does exists and therefore influences our lives.”
The cardinal said the book contains major speeches delivered by the Pope prior to his election and that therefore “it is the last book of the cardinal” but at the same time the first book of the Pope as it deals with “the Europe of Benedict, the name he chose for himself.”
Published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana in collaboration with the Italian Cantagelli firm, the book features an introduction by Marcello Pera, president of the Italian Senate, and is broken down into three parts. The first is an address on "What it Means to Believe," delivered in 1992 at Bassano del Grappa, Italy, when the German prelate received a prize for contributions to Catholic culture. The second part is a talk on "The Right to Life in Europe," delivered at a pro-life conference in 1997. The third part of the book features a speech on "The Crisis of Cultures," delivered on April 1 of this year-- the eve of the death of Pope John Paul II-- at Subiacco, where St. Benedict founded his first monastery in the 6th century, as Cardinal Ratzinger received the "St. Benedict for Europe" prize.
In presenting the book, Cardinal Ruini noted, “Christianity has received its most effective cultural and intellectual mark in Europe from the historical point of view.”
However, he pointed out that the ties between Europe and the faith "today are at risk of being broken” because of a dominant and agressive secularism in which "God does not exist, or at least cannot be proven to exist, and thus all reference to Him must be excluded from public life."