Cardinal Marx, Pope Francis: Did you forget something?

Cardinal Marx, Pope Francis: Did you forget something?

By Phil Lawler | May 06, 2016

When your only tool is a hammer, they say, every problem looks like a nail. So when the cardinal-archbishop of a major European city reflects on the challenges that face Europe today, you might expect him to lead with a comment on the loss of faith.

That’s the insight that St. John Paul II pounded home: the European community was formed by the faith, and without the heritage of faith there’s nothing– aside from shifting economic interests– holding the societies of Europe together. Pope Benedict XVI followed up by noting that without the faith, Europe is sinking into the dictatorship of relativism, with no firm moral standards, no clear purpose.

So again, when Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich– the president of the commission of episcopal conferences of the EU– speaks on the four great challenges facing the European community, you know what he’s going to say, don’t you? He’s going to talk about the faith, isn’t he?

Cardinal Marx: Europe needs rebirth, not restoration or nostalgia

Catholic World News – May 05, 2016

During a recent address at Strasbourg Cathedral, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich said that Europe is in need of rebirth, and not of restoration or nostalgia.

The prelate, who serves as president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community, outlined four main challenges that he believes the continent now faces:

the temptation to become a fortress

the need for a free, pluralistic society that is not relativist

the development of EU institutions in the face of “particularism and nationalism”

the need for a “social market economy” that is attentive to social and ecological interests

But wait; the first challenge that he names doesn’t directly involve the faith.

The second, maybe? Nope.

Third time’s a charm? Not in this case.

Last chance: No again.

Cardinal Marx has suggestions on several other topics; he’s ready to use all sorts of tools to fix Europe’s problem. But this time the problem IS a nail, and the cardinal isn’t a hammer.

Oh, dear. I wrote this little piece before reading the address delivered by Pope Francis as he accepted the Charlemagne Prize.

Pope calls for rebirth of European humanism

Catholic World News – May 06, 2016

Pope Francis called for a rebirth of humanism in Europe, as he accepted the Charlemagne Prize on May 6.

The Charlemagne Prize is awarded by the people of Aachen, Germany, in recognition of contributions to European unity. In his acceptance speech the Holy Father said: “I am convinced that resignation and weariness do not belong to the soul of Europe, and that even our problems can become powerful forces for unity.”

Although he professed confidence in the future of a united Europe, the Pontiff did not deny the current malaise in European culture. He said:

What has happened to you, the Europe of humanism, the champion of human rights, democracy and freedom? What has happened to you, Europe, the home of poets, philosophers, artists, musicians, and men and women of letters? What has happened to you, Europe, the mother of peoples and nations, the mother of great men and women who upheld, and even sacrificed their lives for, the dignity of their brothers and sisters?

Pope Francis said that the architects of European union, particularly Robert Schuman, built on a sense of confidence and shared culture. The founders of the European community, he said, were “heralds of peace and prophets of the future.”

In his speech the Pope said that European revival should be based on “the capacity to integrate, the capacity for dialogue, and the capacity to generate.”

No hammer there, either, I’m afraid.

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One comment on “Cardinal Marx, Pope Francis: Did you forget something?

  1. [More on the Charlemagne Prize and Pope Francis’ address]

    The Gospel according to Francis

    Louie May 6, 2016

    On December 23, 2015, Vatican Radio reported that Pope Francis had been announced as recipient of the 2016 International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen, “the oldest and best-known prize awarded for work done in the service of European unification.”

    A communiqué issued by the Prize Committee, as reported by Catholic News Service states:

    In a time when the European Union is facing the greatest challenge of the 21st century, it is the pope ‘from the end of the world’ who orients millions of Europeans to what the European Union brings together at its core: a valid system of values, respect for human dignity and civil liberties, the uniqueness of human beings whatever their ethnic, religious or cultural background and respect for our natural resources.”

    The communiqué went on to commend Francis for his message of “peace and understanding” as well as his commitment to “compassion, tolerance, solidarity and the integrity of creation throughout his pontificate.”

    To be sure, those who actually resemble the Apostles in proclaiming eternal truths, in season and out, in the name of Jesus Christ, the solitary Source of authentic peace and unity, are not qualified for the Charlemagne Prize; rather, it is given to men with far more worldly aspirations.

    As such, there can be no doubt that the awards committee has chosen well; i.e., the current Bishop of Rome is precisely the sort of environmentalist / humanist / one-world-religionist that richly deserves just such recognition.

    Vatican Radio is reporting that Francis formally took possession of the award earlier today in a ceremony that featured an address delivered by the man that he is succeeding; Martin Schultz, recipient of the 2015 Charlemagne Prize.

    Francis has some big shoes to fill, to be sure.

    You see, Schultz also happens to be the President of the European Parliament and the former chairman of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (otherwise known as the S&D).

    According to a position paper issued by the S&D:

    We will fight against the regressive campaigns of conservative and right – wing forces in Europe, who want to erase the progress made in our societies, most prominently on the rights of women, minorities or LGBT people … We will fight against any kind of discrimination, racism and homophobia.

    According to yet another S&D statement:

    We, the undersigned, committed to the EU values of human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and the respect for human rights declare that: ALL OF US believe that women can only be truly equal to men if they are given control over their sexuality, bodies and health … [We] are concerned about the recent developments and initiatives aimed at introducing regressive policies restricting women’s access to safe and legal abortions.

    Under the leadership of Martin Schultz, the European Parliament adopted a report echoing much the same language calling for “ready access to contraception and abortion.”

    As I wrote back in December, this is the company Francis keeps; not in an effort to seek their conversion to Christ, but as one among friends united in a common, earthbound cause cause.

    If organizers of the Charlemagne Prize had any doubts as to their selection, Pope Francis, in an acceptance speech delivered at today’s ceremony, confirmed his worthiness in no uncertain terms.

    In an address some 2,800 words in length, Francis invoked humankind fifteen times and Jesus (not Christ the King, but the social-worker-from-Nazareth caricature that he and other apostates worship) but once while calling for the birth of a “new humanism.”

    His Humbleness proclaimed:

    A Europe capable of giving birth to a new humanism based on three capacities: the capacity to integrate, the capacity for dialogue and the capacity to generate … If there is one word that we should never tire of repeating, it is this: dialogue.

    His Humbleness went on to say:

    The soul of Europe is in fact greater than the present borders of the Union and is called to become a model of new syntheses and of dialogue … We are called to promote a culture of dialogue by every possible means …

    The culture of dialogue entails a true apprenticeship and a discipline that enables us to view others as valid dialogue partners … Today we urgently need to engage all the members of society in building a culture which privileges dialogue …

    Peace will be lasting in the measure that we arm our children with the weapons of dialogue … This culture of dialogue should be an integral part of the education imparted in our schools … Let us arm our people with the culture of dialogue and encounter …

    Dialogue, with all that it entails, reminds us that no one can remain a mere onlooker or bystander … This culture of dialogue can come about only if all of us take part in planning and building it.

    No, this isn’t a parody; it’s the Gospel according to Francis:

    So integration, generation, and dialogue abide, these three; but the greatest of these is dialogue.

    With this in mind, there can be no doubt that when Francis says of his desires for Europe that “the Church can and must play her part,” he does not mean to speak of the Holy Catholic Church and her God-given mission of Christianizing the entire world.

    On the contrary, what he really has in mind is the church-of-man that shares a common mission with men like Martin Schultz; the same earthbound entity of which the latest Charlemagne Prize winner said, “Her task is one with her mission: the proclamation of the Gospel.”

    The Gospel according to Francis, that is…

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