Cardinal Ratzinger laments the profound loss of European identity

Source: FSSPX News


The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was particularly concerned about the going adrift in matters connected with marriage and the family. “The charter of fundamental rights speaks of the right to marry, but it does not provide any specific protection for marriage – either juridical or moral – nor does it offer a more precise definition. And we all know to what extent marriage and the family are threatened.” The German prelate stressed in particular “the demand for unions between homosexuals who, paradoxically, are asking for a legal recognition which will have to correspond, more or less, to marriage.” “With this trend,” he added, “we are breaking away from the moral history of mankind.”

Cardinal Ratzinger was anxious to point out that this “is not a question of discrimination, but rather of knowing what the human person is, as man and as woman, and of knowing how ‘the being together’ of a man and a woman can receive legal recognition.” “If on the one hand, the fact of being together grows still further away from the legal form, and if on the other hand, homosexual union is considered more and more as the equal of marriage, then we are faced with a dissolution of the image of man, the consequences of which may be extremely grave.”

Concerning the loss of European identity, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith proposed an analysis showing that in Europe, “the problem left behind by Marxism still exists today: the dissolution of mankind’s essential certainties about God, about himself and about the universe, the dissolution of the awareness of inviolable moral values, is still and always our problem, and may lead to the autodestruction of the European conscience, something we must now consider as constituting a real danger.”

Cardinal Ratzinger then expressed his regret that Europe had become more open to values which are alien to her, than to her own. “In society today, by God’s grace, whoever dishonors the faith of Israel, its image of God, and its great figures, is punished; as are those who disparage the Koran, and the religious convictions at the basis of Islam.” “On the other hand,” he noted, “when it comes to Christ and all that is sacred to Christians, it is then that freedom of opinion seems to be the supreme good, and to limit this freedom would be to threaten or even destroy tolerance and freedom in general.”

For him, the “self-hatred of the West” is “strange” and “something pathological”. “The West,” he added, “tries in a very commendable way, to be sensitive to external values, but no longer has any love for itself”. The Cardinal expressed regret that Europe sees in her own history, “only what is derogatory and destructive” and that she is no longer in a position “to perceive what is noble and pure”. “Europe,” he warned, “has need of a new – certainly critical and humble – acceptance of herself, if she really wants to survive. Multi-cultural society, which is constantly and passionately encouraged and favored, is sometimes, more than anything else, a rejection and repudiation of that which is specific (to Europe).”

As regards Islam, Cardinal Ratzinger emphasized that “its renaissance” was not “linked solely to the new material wealth of Islamic countries,” but that it is “also and above all, nourished by the awareness that Islam is in a position to offer a valid spiritual basis for people’s lives, a basis which seems to have left the old Europe, which, in spite of its continuing political and economic power, is considered more and more condemned to decline.” He also emphasized the appeal of Oriental spirituality in Europe. For him, “the great religious traditions of Asia, above all the mystique constituent which finds its expression in Buddhism, rise up as spiritual forces in the face of a Europe which repudiates her own religious and moral foundations.”

In conclusion, he called on “believing Christians” to “see themselves as a creative minority” and to “contribute towards ensuring, that Europe rediscover the best of her identity, and thus put herself at the service of the whole human race.”

• It seems it would be fitting, for the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to question, in a future conference, the destructive role for the Christian conscience of Europe played by ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue and the never ending apologies of the past 25 years.