Bishop Agustín García-Gasco of Valencia, Spain, has published a pastoral letter in which he calls on Christians to work for the recuperation of traditional European values in contrast with people are interested only in politics and the economy.

“Politics and the economy are not everything,” he wrote, encouraging the faithful to “be conscientious that the building of Europe is not something that is far away from us, but rather something that affects us and will be even more incumbent upon us soon.”

Currently Europe “is in a construction phase, or better yet, reconstruction,” the Archbishop said, adding “the European Union is meant to be a project of hope, a mixture of creativity and responsibility in the eyes of history, perhaps unprecedented in times of peace.”

Archbishop García-Gasco also said that Europe “is a cultural and historical concept that goes beyond geographical borders and is a reality born of unifying force of Christianity, which is capable of transmitting common values to distinct and plural peoples.”

Christianity “is part of the foundation of European culture in a uniquely decisive way,” writes the Spanish prelate.  However, this reality “clashes with the present moment, in which economic and political growth appear to be accompanied by a profound crisis of values” brought about from not “building a common project that goes beyond a materialistic society of consumers, which leaves an existential void in people and in society.”

In his letter, the Archbishop declares that “Europe will be Europe only if it proclaims in word and in deed: Yes to the dignity of the human person; Yes to value of reason, of freedom, of democracy; Yes to the building of a state based on rights; Yes to the adequate distinction between politics and religion.”

Archbishop García-Gasco finished his letter saying, “The Church in Europe is obliged to contribute to the construction of the European identity based on truly human values.”  Therefore, “To reduce the European Union to the Europe of markets and to Euro-politics, forgetting its culture, religion, and human rights, would mean a falsification of its very identity.