The Pope has taken a decisive step in the preparation for Europe's Continental Synod, which will be held in October. The Krakow, Poland and Cologne, Germany will preside over the event, together with the President of the Pontifical Council for Culture.
    The bishops will address the issue of a Europe threatened by new forms of nationalism, the disillusionment of great hopes awakened by the fall of the walls, by ethical materialism. A situation which requires the Catholic Church in Europe to make a thorough examination of conscience.
    The European Episcopal Conferences and religious families have already sent their responses and observations to the "Lineamenta," the document which gives an initial sketch of the topic chosen by John Paul II -- "Jesus Christ, Living in His Church, a Fountain of Hope for Europe."
    The document stresses the need for both the Church and the European nations to make "a serious examination of conscience" to acknowledge "the faults and errors committed in the past in the political and economic realm with regard to countries whose rights have been systematically violated by imperialism, be in the last century or the present."
    The document also highlights the new walls arising in Europe which perpetuate the dividing line between East and West. Once the mask is removed "the real face of socialism and the gravity of the negative moral consequences of communism are revealed." In the East, "a na´ve optimism has emerged, encouraged by the re-conquest of the fundamental rights of the person, but which is not based on the right attitude of the use of that very liberty." Thus, in some cases, "a certain nostalgia for the past arises, and a desire to return to it."
    In the West, on the contrary, "evils are spread that are consequent upon human progress which often is not anchored in the values of the person and of the spirit. These tendencies easily invade the Eastern territories where, paradoxically, a very similar condition is arrived at to the materialist philosophy adopted by the fallen regimes, and manifested in a closed anthropology as regards the transcendent vision of human existence. The most dramatic consequence of this concept of life is evident in the spread of the juridical culture which proposes models of behavior in which the values of the Gospel are absent."

10:28am 13/4/99 / Zenit


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