"Thus, among the new generations we are seeing the reawakening of this restlessness, and they too begin their journey making new discoveries of the beauty of Christianity; not a cut-price or watered-down version, but Christianity in all its radicalism and profundity. That is Christianity. It is true and the truth always has a future," the Pope said.
The future will not be easy, especially in Europe, since it suffers from a spiritual bipolarism, he explained.
"(I)n Europe today we see two souls," he said toward the end of the interview.
"One is abstract anti-historical reason, which seeks to dominate all else because it considers itself above all cultures … and intends to liberate itself from all traditions and cultural values in favor of an abstract rationality. Yet we cannot live like that and, moreover, even 'pure reason' is conditioned by a certain historical context, and only in that context can it exist."
The other soul is Europe's Christian one. This soul is "open to all that is reasonable, a soul which itself created the audaciousness of reason and the freedom of critical reasoning, but which remains anchored to the roots from which this Europe was born, the roots which created the continent's fundamental values and great institutions, in the vision of the Christian faith," the Pope said.
"The challenge for Europe," he asserted, is for its Christian soul "to find a shared expression in ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Churches" and then "encounter this abstract reason. In other words, it must accept and maintain the freedom of reason to criticize everything it can do and has done, but to practice this and give it concrete form on the foundations and in the context of the great values that Christianity has given us."
"Only by blending these elements can Europe have weight in the intercultural dialogue of mankind today and tomorrow. Only when reason has a historical and moral identity can it speak to others" and "find a fundamental unity in the values that open the way to the future, to a new humanism. This must be our aim. For us this humanism arises directly from the view of man created in the image and likeness of God."