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.