Thursday, July 19, 2007

Papal Message to "Together for Europe"

"A Matter of Defending a Human and Spiritual Heritage"

STUTTGART, Germany, MAY 14, 2007 ( Here is the message sent on behalf of Benedict XVI by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, to the meeting Together for Europe, which took place Saturday. More than 230 representatives of movements and Christian communities participated.

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It is with great pleasure that I convey the cordial greetings of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI to the promoters and organizers and the numerous participants at the "Together for Europe 2007" event that is taking place on May 12 in Stuttgart.

The "Together for Europe" initiative that has come to life through the good ecumenical intuition of Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican groups, associations, movements and communities seeks to underline the need to re-affirm together faithfulness to the Gospel in a Europe that risks losing its original values and giving up on its Christian roots.

The words of the Venerable Pope John Paul II seem to be more relevant than ever: "I would like to mention in a particular way the loss of Europe's Christian memory and heritage, accompanied by a kind of practical agnosticism and religious indifference whereby many Europeans give the impression of living without spiritual roots and somewhat like heirs who have squandered a patrimony entrusted to them by history." (Post-Synodal exhortation "Ecclesia in Europa", 7).

Pope Benedict XVI echoes this consideration. From the beginning of his pontificate he has never missed an opportunity to recall the importance of safeguarding the Christian inheritance, the particular richness of the European continent.

The appeal not to lose our roots is like a repeated invitation to work concretely so that believers in Christ of different confessions may unite their efforts in the service of such a timely and relevant cause. It's a matter of defending a human and spiritual heritage that is vital for the authentic development of Europe. (…)

The Holy Father hopes therefore that the meeting "Together for Europe" may strengthen the desire for communion that animates lay movements and communities of the different churches; that it may contribute to overcoming prejudices, nationalism and historical barriers, and may urge people to work so that the spiritual dimension may not weaken in the Europe of post-modern times.

All human efforts would amount to nothing were we to be separated from divine support, because "Unless the LORD builds the house, they labour in vain who build" (Psalm 127). In counting on the help of the Almighty One you can look with trust to the present and to future, you can work with courage and perseverance knowing that the heavenly Father, in his providence and care, always renders fruitful the humble efforts of his children who want to do his will "on earth as it is in heaven".

It is with this spirit that Pope Benedict XVI invokes the divine blessing on all who participate in this meaningful event. To each and everyone I too assure you of my prayer and I take this opportunity to greet you cordially.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Vatican Secretary of State

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