Pope says Christians must revitalize Europe amid ‘dramatic sterility’
“In our day, Christians are called to revitalize Europe and to revive its conscience, not by occupying spaces, but by generating processes capable of awakening new energies in society,” Pope Francis said addressing European political and church leaders at the Vatican.
After two World Wars ripped through the continent, Europe deserves peace, the Pope said, expressing disappointment that “particular and national agendas risk thwarting the courageous dreams of the founders of Europe.”
To preserve European values, the Argentinian-born leader of the Catholic Church urged his followers to rediscover their traditional identity, starting with the family, which, he said, “remains the most fundamental place for this process of discovery.”
The Pope noted that Christians must pass on the values of past generations to their offsprings as Europe is suffering a period of “dramatic sterility” which began in the 1960s.
“In passing on to new generations the ideals that made Europe great, one could say, with a touch of hyperbole, that betrayal was preferred to tradition. The rejection of what had been passed down from earlier generations was followed by a period of dramatic sterility,” the pontiff said.
“Not only because Europe has fewer children, and all too many were denied the right to be born, but also because there has been a failure to pass on the material and cultural tools that young people need to face the future,” he explained.
Pope Francis said that Christians can shape Europe's future by promoting political dialogue “where it is threatened and where conflict seems to prevail.” Politics, he noted, “is becoming a forum for clashes between opposing forces. The voice of dialogue is replaced by shouted claims and demands.”
“Extremist and populist groups are finding fertile ground in many countries; they make protest the heart of their political message, without offering the alternative of a constructive political project,” the pontiff said.
“Leaders together share responsibility for promoting a Europe that is an inclusive community, free of one fundamental misunderstanding: namely that inclusion does not mean downplaying differences,” Francis added. In such a political environment, he called on Christians “to restore dignity to politics and to view politics as a lofty service to the common good, not a platform for power.”