The soul and identity of Europe. Reviving Christian roots

Looking ahead to the Jacobean of 2021, the aim is to show Europe that its soul and identity are deeply rooted in Christianity and to remind those who have forgotten or do not know the Gospel.

Omnes-November 6, 2019-Reading time: 3 minutes

Looking ahead to the Jacobean of 2021, the aim is to show Europe that its soul and identity are deeply rooted in Christianity and to remind those who have forgotten or do not know the Gospel.

-Text Julián Barrio Barrio

Archbishop of Santiago de Comopstela

Thirty-seven years ago, Pope St. John Paul II left us in the Cathedral of Compostela a prophetic message about Europe, which is still relevant today. In the "new Europe of the spirit" It is necessary to revive our Christian roots and remind those who have forgotten the Gospel and transmit it to those who no longer know it. Collegiality and synodality help us in this task.

To return to the fundamental Christian fact, which is the person and history of Jesus, is to bear witness that Christianity is the most fascinating way of living human existence. The commitment to serve the Gospel of hope to the people of today does not hide the fact that we are faced with a complex cultural and religious plurality. Europe, in my opinion, has not squandered its spiritual heritage, but perhaps it has forgotten it.   

We know that the religious feeling will never disappear because the meaning of life itself cannot be removed from the heart of man, wondering about the mystery. This translates into a religious attitude with a link between religion and people, which today is failing in Europe.


At this moment I echo the prayer that the poet Dante put in the mouth of Beatrice addressing the Apostle St. James: "Make hope resound from on high."knowing that Christ is the hope: "Surrexit Christus spes mea". "Man cannot live without hope: his life, condemned to insignificance, would become unbearable", González de Cardedal points out in his work Root of hope. We Christians must always enter into dialogue with those who hope, aware of the legitimacy of hope, founded rationally and not in a magical or merely political way. 

In our capacity as homo viator we perceive that "Hope cannot be uprooted as long as we live. To ask for it is another way of asking for the person, for his sacred value, for his reliable, trustworthy and loving condition; for his personal durability; for his future inexorably linked to the moral responsibility in the present.", adds the same author. 

It is certainly not a question of creating a Europe parallel to the existing one, but of showing this Europe that its soul and identity are deeply rooted in Christianity, so as to be able to offer it the key to interpreting its own vocation in the world.

The new Europe

Looking ahead to the Holy Year of Compostela 2021, the Jacobean pilgrimage reveals that Christianity, by being open to the universal, has shaped an open Europe and is therefore capable of integrating new elements. Christianity offers as a necessary foundation the following principles: "Existence is a gift and a task for man. Reality cannot be destroyed or exhausted. Man is a sacred and inviolable reality. The neighbor is the one for whom each one is responsible and one cannot build one's own without taking care of the neighbor. The other who is a call, we cannot turn him into a danger. One does not earn one's living if one does not put it at the service of others. One cannot legislate without morality and law, nor can one violate the common law and the common law".

"The new Europe must be the fruit of the encounter, acceptance and creative challenge between all the values and countries that form it. Faith and theology must find their proper place in it and make their specific contribution at this time when we must give a renewed soul, mission and responsibility to our continent". (O. González de Cardedal).

The Jacobean pilgrim, "traveler of the sacred and transmitter of knowledge", continues to contribute to the reconstruction of a Europe rooted in the Christian tradition. The Way of St. James is the spiritual intelligence to make sense of it. n

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