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Showing posts with label European Christian Heritage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label European Christian Heritage. Show all posts

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Poland’s Incoming Prime Minister: ‘My Dream Is to Re-Christianize the EU’

Hope they will start with the Vatican.

Supreme Court building in Warsaw, Poland. Photographer: NurPhoto/NurP

Poland’s incoming prime minister threw down the gauntlet with the European Union, offering to "help the West with proper values" after his allies advanced a judicial overhaul that the bloc has criticized as democratic backsliding.

Premier-designate Mateusz Morawiecki, tapped to replace Beata Szydlo halfway through the government’s term, rejected threats by EU leaders who have warned that Poland may lose out on the aid that drives its economic growth if it didn’t uphold the rule of law. His comments followed a heated parliamentary debate in which the ruling Law & Justice party approved draft laws to revamp the Supreme Court and overhaul a panel that appoints judges despite warnings from EU officials that the measures may trigger sanctions.

While Morawiecki a western-educated finance minister, has impressed foreign investors as the steward of the EU’s largest eastern economy, he made clear his allegiance is with his conservative party and its vision of returning Poland -- and the rest of Europe -- to its traditional Christian roots. In his first interview since being named prime minister on Friday, he lauded his "great, proud nation" and said it would not submit to "blackmail" from other European leaders.

Read more at Bloomberg >>

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Can the Pope Recapture Europe?

The Vatican is convinced that Europe must be re-evangelised, but can it overcome 'grassroots relativism'?

Pope Benedict XVI wants to strengthen the 'geo-religious' relationship between Catholicism and Europe. Photograph: Reuters
By Massimo Franco

On 21 September 2010, Benedict XVI officially declared that the west needed a "new evangelisation"
. This was news in itself. It was viewed as an admission of the weakness of the Catholic church, and not a temporary one; and the acknowledgement that today's Catholicism represents a minority in western countries, and a shrinking one. But in a more general perspective, this was a major "geo-religious" step for the pontiff.

Friday, March 4, 2011

French President Nicolas Sarkozy Defends Country’s ‘Magnificent Heritage’ of Christianity

From LifeSiteNews
By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has made headlines in France by returning to a theme once common with him, but that he seemed to have abandoned: the importance of France’s Christian heritage. 

Speaking before a crowd of dignitaries in the ancient town of Puy-en-Velay, a key location in the history of French religious devotion, Sarkozy vigorously defended the importance of the Christian contribution to the cultural foundations of France. 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Call to Freedom

Pope Benedict in Spain 2010

Spain's youth gather to see the Pope

By Sister Janet Fearns, Missio

The UK media has repeatedly stated that Pope Benedict’s visit to Spain has touched on familiar themes. Yet, as usual, it has been left to the Catholic press to identify the central point of his message: freedom. Whilst the secular reports quote the Pope as calling Europe to return to its Christian roots, they frequently omit the reason for such a challenge: freedom.

To a society that often fails to distinguish between freedom and licence, yet is deeply concerned for human rights and justice, on his arrival at Compostella airport the Holy Father declared:

"In his deepest being, man is always on a journey, ever in search of truth… I too wish to encourage Spain and Europe to build their present and to project their future on the basis of the authentic truth about man, on the basis of the freedom which respects this truth and never harms it, and on the basis of justice for all, beginning with the poorest and the most defenceless, a Spain and a Europe concerned not only with people’s material needs but also with their moral and social, spiritual and religious needs, since all these are genuine requirements of our common humanity and only in this way can work be done effectively, integrally and fruitfully for man’s good".

If any statement can be said to summarise the content and significance of the Pope’s visit to Spain, this is it! Yet he goes one step further:

"The Church, which desires to serve unreservedly the human person and his dignity, stands at the service of both truth and freedom. She cannot renounce either, because what is at stake is man himself."

Recalling the struggles and bloodshed of Spain’s Civil War, Pope Benedict thus shows that there is something deeper and more important than the fight for civil liberties, vital as they are. What is the absolute crux of the matter is the freedom of the human heart, "because without this aspiration for truth, justice and freedom, man would lose his very self".

The Pope returned to this theme at Compostella, the burial place of the Apostle St James, who gave his life for the freedom to preach the Word of God.

"The Europe of civilization and culture must be open to the fraternity with other Continents…" to "the true and living God…" and abandon the "tragic belief that God is somehow man’s antagonist and an enemy of his freedom".

The relationship between God and humanity is fundamental to any understanding and appreciation of the meaning of life. Freedom without God is false. Society cannot relegate religious belief to the private and the hidden, because it will never reach the enlightenment for which it searches:

"God is the origin of our being and the foundation and apex of our freedom, not its opponent. How can mortal man build a firm foundation and how can the sinner be reconciled with himself? How can it be that there is public silence with regard to the first and essential reality of human life? How can what is most decisive in life be confined to the purely private sphere or banished to the shadows? We cannot live in darkness, without seeing the light of the sun. How is it then that God, who is the light of every mind, the power of every will and the magnet of every heart, be denied the right to propose the light that dissipates all darkness?"

Again and again, Pope Benedict has, in the five years of his papacy, emphasised that if God is given priority, everything else falls into place:

"One cannot worship God without taking care of his sons and daughters…"

The Holy Father’s message, in imitation of that which St James bore to the people of Spain, goes beyond national borders: it embraces all aspects of life, culture and civilisation. Social progress is possible only as a result of openness to God. The Church is thus promoting freedom, not restricting it.

"The Europe of science and technology, the Europe of civilization and culture, must be at the same time a Europe open to transcendence and fraternity with other continents, and open to the living and true God, starting with the living and true man. This is what the Church wishes to contribute to Europe: to be watchful for God and for man, based on the understanding of both which is offered to us in Jesus Christ."

Since his election to the See of Peter, Pope Benedict’s constant theme has been the importance of truth in the ongoing search for freedom. In stressing that: "One can not live without truth and freedom", he is pointing to all that is fundamental to the culture of Europe… but Europe needs to open its eyes and rediscover God.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

World’s First Global Atheistic Civilization Headed for Disaster: Former Czech President

From LifeSiteNews
By Hilary White

The world’s first global and deliberately atheistic civilization is heading for disaster, the first president of the modern Czech Republic told an audience this week. Vaclav Havel, one of the most respected political and literary figures in recent European history, said that the West “has lost its connection with the infinite and with eternity,” with the result that “endless consumer collectivism is giving birth to a new type of loneliness.”

The West’s disconnection from eternity, he said, “is why it always gives priority to short-time profit over long-term profit. It is important whether an investment returns within ten or 15 years, it is less important how it will influence the life of our descendants in one hundred years.”

Havel, a playwright, essayist and anti-communist dissident who was a key figure in the defeat of Soviet communism, served as the tenth and last President of the Soviet Bloc state of Czechoslovakia and as the first President of the Czech Republic from 1993–2003. Speaking at the opening of the Forum 2000 conference in Prague this week, Havel said that unless mankind comes to its senses and becomes more humble, its global, atheistic civilization is doomed.

The pride of the global civilization, he said, is “not only a globally spreading short-sightedness, but also the swollen self-consciousness of this civilization, whose basic attributes include the supercilious idea that we know everything and what we don't yet know we'll soon find out, because we know how to go about it.

“We are convinced that this supposed omniscience of ours which proclaims the staggering progress of science and technology and rational knowledge in general, permits us to serve anything that is demonstrably useful, or that is simply a source of measurable profit, anything that induces growth and more growth and still more growth, including the growth of agglomerations.”

The world’s current financial crisis, he said, is the result of pride, he said, calling it “a very small and very inconspicuous call to humility.”

“It is a warning against inappropriate self-confidence and pride of modern civilization.”

“Human conduct is not entirely unpredictable as many creators of economic theories and concepts believe. It is even less true of the conduct of firms and institutions or whole communities,” he said.

“With the cult of measurable profit, proven progress and visible usefulness there disappears respect for mystery and along with it humble reverence for everything we shall never measure and know, not to mention the vexed question of the infinite and eternal, which were until recently the most important horizons of our actions.”

The Forum 2000 conference in Prague, founded by Havel, “aims to identify the key issues facing civilization and to explore ways in which to prevent escalation of conflicts that have religion, culture or ethnicity as their primary components.” The theme of this year’s conference, which closed on Tuesday, was “The World We Want to Live in.”

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

An Unlikely Messenger

BreakPoint Commentaries
By Chuck Colson

French President Nicholas Sarkozy is an unlikely scourge of European secularism: He is on his third marriage and has been called the “playboy president” by his critics.

But it is what Sarkozy has just said about the role of religion in French life that has really got his critics up-in-arms.

For more than a century, what the French call laïcité has been the defining characteristic of French politics and public life. The word, which has no English equivalent, goes beyond the separation of church and state. It is a kind of secularism that tends to see “any strong religious views as a direct threat to [France’s] freedom and way of life . . .”

Thus, discretion about one’s religious views, especially among leaders, is regarded as “a necessary part of being French.”

Sarkozy disagrees. In a book he wrote before becoming president, Sarkozy declared, “I am of Catholic culture, Catholic tradition, Catholic belief, even if my religious practice is episodic.”

He continued this theme after becoming president. He has criticized removing references to “Europe’s Christian roots” from the European constitution. In a speech in Rome last December, he emphasized France’s Christian roots. He invoked France’s ancient title of the “Eldest Daughter of the Church.”

He proposed a new version of laïcité, one that “does not consider religions a danger, but an asset.” That is because, according to Sarkozy, when it comes to teaching right and wrong, “the schoolteacher will never be able to replace the priest or the pastor.” Well said.

Sarkozy has also stood up for France’s often-beleaguered Jewish community. He recently announced that, starting next fall, French fifth-graders will have to learn the story of at least one of the 11,000 French children killed in the Holocaust.

He defended his plan by blaming the wars of the twentieth century on the “absence of God.” He further shocked French sensibilities by adding that Nazi racism was “radically incompatible with Judeo-Christian monotheism.”

This latter point is not hypothetical for the French president, whose maternal grandfather was Jewish.

Critics are appalled by Sarkozy’s invocations of religion. As one socialist leader put it, “a speech citing God not only on every page, but on every line, creates a fundamental problem for the republic.” Others chide him for disregarding the separation of church and state.

And, of course, they do not hesitate to point out the gap between his rhetoric and his lifestyle.

I wish that Sarkozy’s “religious practice” was less “episodic.” Nevertheless, I am gratified that he is taking on what has been called a “major taboo” in French public life. This may be the first time since the French revolution that a French leader has spoken seriously to the people about God.

A French-born writer, Hilaire Belloc, put it this way, “the faith is Europe.” Without Christianity, Europe would not exist. European secularism and the denial of its Christian roots have cut it off from its own heritage, leaving it vulnerable to the challenge of Islam.

After all, you can not fight something with nothing, which is what a “post-Christian” Europe is left with. That is why I welcome Sarkozy’s message—however unlikely the messenger.

Friday, February 1, 2008

French President Acknowledges Europe's Christian Heritage

Paris, Jan. 31, 2008 (CWNews.com) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy has spoke out in support of recognizing "the Christian roots of Europe."

At a meeting of his political party, the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire, Sarkozy said that leaders of the European Union were wrong to exclude an explicit reference to Christianity from the language of the proposed EU constitutional treaty. (The French voters rejected that treaty in a 2005 referendum.)

"We erred when we turned our back on the past, and in a certain sense turned our back on our roots, which are obvious," Sarkozy said. Echoing the argument that has been advanced by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, the French leader said that without a basis in Christian culture, the European Union will have no firm foundation.

"If we reject our past, we are not ready for our future," Sarkozy said.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

European Civilization Doomed If It Does Not Preserve Christian Values - Alexy II

Moscow, December 6, Interfax - If European nations abandon their Christian roots, they are doomed to disappear from the historical arena, Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia said.

"Modern Europe will not create a new post-Christian culture and civilization but will simply vanish from history," Alexy II said at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow on Wednesday evening.

"Losing their Christian roots, the people of Europe will sign their own death warrant," he said.

Alexy II recalled that he talked about "the need to preserve moral Christian values," without which "it is hard to imagine European culture and Europe itself," in his speech at the PACE in October this year.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Eurocrats Target Poland

From The Washington Times

By Paul Belien

Last Thursday, Viscount Etienne Davignon, a Belgian who is the chairman of the secretive Bilderberg Group, celebrated his 75th birthday. Mr. Davignon is a former vice president of the European Commission and the author of the 1970 "Davignon Report" that laid the foundations for a common European foreign policy. In the Viscount's honor a conference about the future of the European Union was held in the prestigious Egmont Palace in Brussels. One of the speakers was the wealthy anti-Bush activist George Soros, another was Daniel Cohn-Bendit, an erstwhile campus revolutionary during the 1968 Paris student riots, who is currently a German member of the European Parliament for the Green Party.

Mr. Soros opined that the EU incarnates the "open society." Mr. Cohn-Bendit advocated that the EU expel member states that are "not European enough." Countries which Europe should throw out because they hamper the EU's aim of transforming itself into a federal superstate are the United Kingdom and Poland. Mr. Davignon reiterated Mr. Cohn-Bendit's position, albeit in a more diplomatic way. Europe should debate its future "without shunning taboos" by pondering "whether countries that systematically thwart European integration should not be ousted."

The so-called Eurocrats dislike the British because the latter believe democracy means that the people decide through their national parliaments. The British oppose technocrats, like Mr. Davignon and his ilk in the unelected EU bureaucracy, who impose trans-European policies that bypass all national legislatures. But what have to Poles done to antagonize the Eurocrats? Today is the "European day against the death penalty." The EU wanted to inaugurate the event with a common European declaration against capital punishment. Poland thwarted this by refusing to sign the declaration because the EU did not condemn abortion and euthanasia as well. Last month, during an EU meeting on the death penalty, the Polish justice minister confronted his Danish colleague with Denmark's annual 15,000 abortions and the latter — a member of the Danish Conservative Party — got so angry that she left the room, slamming the door.

Other countries, such as Belgium and Portugal, accuse Poland of "immoral and unworthy behaviour" by daring to compare abortion and euthanasia to the death penalty. Richard Howitt, a British Labor politician and the vice president of the European Parliament's human rights subcommittee, said that Poland's refusal to reject the death penalty brings into question its commitment to European values.

The Poles are used to being lectured by the Eurocrats in Brussels. Last April, the European Parliament accused Poland of 'homophobia" because it does not want to include homosexuality in the school curriculum. Last May, the European Court of Human Rights found Poland guilty of violating human rights because it banned a "gay pride" parade in Warsaw. Last year, the European Commission threatened to deprive Warsaw of its voting rights in the European institutions if it remained in "serious breach of its obligations on human rights."

The Poles, however, are not easily intimidated. Poland's conservative government has made a farce of Polish internal politics, ending in disgraceful collapse, but it did not shy away from standing up to Brussels. Next week the EU wants to finalize the Reform Treaty, which it badly needs in order to replace the so-called "European Constitution" which was rejected in 2005 by France and the Netherlands. Poland has announced its intention to join Britain in opting out from the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights, which is part of the Reform Treaty.

The refusal of the Poles has angered the EU elites as never before. The latter realize that the position of Warsaw has more to do with the Polish people than with the current government's stubbornness in view of the Oct. 21 Polish elections.While secularism is the EU's prevailing ideology, the Poles keep referring to Europe's Christian heritage. Even if the government of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski loses the elections, the Eurocrats are likely to be confronted again and again with a people that has escaped Europe's secularization process.

Poland will play an increasingly prominent role in the next decades, if only because it is one of the few European countries with surging birth rates. In 2006, for the first time in ten years, Poland had a positive natural growth, with 374,000 newborn babies — a rise of 10 percent compared to the previous year. This year will be even better. Mr. Soros may think that the EU incarnates an "open society," but Poland's openness to new life proves that it is one of the few open societies in Europe.

Paul Belien is editor of the Brussels Journal and an adjunct fellow of the Hudson Institute.