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Catholics and Orthodox Discuss Europe's Soul

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  • emrys@globe.net.nz
    Catholics and Orthodox Discuss Europe s Soul The Crisis Is Cultural, Says Communiqué VIENNA, Austria, MAY 5, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The contribution of Christians
    Message 1 of 1 , May 5, 2006
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      Catholics and Orthodox Discuss Europe's Soul

      The Crisis Is Cultural, Says Communiqué

      VIENNA, Austria, MAY 5, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The contribution of Christians is
      indispensable to restore Europe's soul, Catholics and Orthodox affirmed in
      an unprecedented meeting on culture in Vienna.

      "We believe that Christians, preaching the hope brought by Christ's
      resurrection, united together with people of other faiths and convictions,
      can help everyone to live in an ethically grounded, just and peaceful
      society," the participants stated in the final message of the meeting. The
      three-day meeting ended today.

      This was the first time that the Holy See organized a symposium such as this
      with the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow.

      Cardinal Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and
      Orthodox Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, president of the
      Department of External Relations of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow,
      presided over the meeting.

      The meeting began Wednesday and was attended by lay and religious experts
      chosen jointly by the Vatican and the Patriarchate of Moscow.

      Father Bernard Ardura, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture,
      presented the conclusions of the meeting today.

      According to the participants, the present crisis the process of European
      integration is undergoing is due to the failure to adopt the Constitutional
      Treaty of the European Union.

      However, for Catholics and Orthodox, the statement said, "the crisis that
      splits Europe is of a cultural order: Its Christian identity is being
      diluted. The situation of European peoples is characterized by man's
      profound doubt about himself: He knows what he can do, but does not know who
      he is."


      This crisis, the participants acknowledged, has "dramatic demographic
      consequences: the rejection of children, unions without a future, trial
      marriages, homosexual unions, the refusal to share life with a person in

      "All this is a genuine European demographic suicide, in the name of egoism,
      and hedonism," the message stated.

      To respond to these challenges, the participants "agreed to give an
      important role to the exciting mission of education and formation."

      "All education is discovery of a heritage that arouses love and recognition.
      In this way, we will be able to contribute to rediscover the Christian
      roots," the statement said.

      Both Catholics and Orthodox agreed the need to educate Christians "to
      present Christian values in a comprehensible manner: The pastoral program on
      culture depends on this."

      "Prefer Nothing to the Love of Christ" is the motto proposed to "find ways
      of synergy, common witness of the faith for a generous new evangelization of
      Europe, that economic giant but spiritual dwarf."

      According to the participants, this "common witness concerns especially the
      areas affected by the destruction of the family, bioethics, and the domains
      of the social doctrine of the Church."

      The Vienna-based Pro Oriente Foundation sponsored the event, along with the
      Bradley Foundation of the United States.
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