CHRISTIANITY A REMEDY AGAINST EUROPEAN CRISIS

ARTUR STELMASIAK

A pilgrimage to Jasna Góra, a letter to pope Francis, presentation of a renewed idea of Europe to Polish bishops, a scientific conference, a letter to the Catholics – are only some initiatives which were undertaken by the Movement ‘Europa Christi’ whose promoter is Fr. Inf. Ireneusz Skubiś. The main purposes of the movement are rebuilding Christian roots of the Old Continent and a prayer for beatification of fathers of Europe unification

The crisis of Europe is a fact. All the time the group of critics of non-democratic bureaucracy is growing, whose aim is to make EU countries subordinated to them. Too much bitterness poured out after Great Britain exited from the European Union. It was the time when during his lunch on his name day, Fr. Inf. Ireneusz Skubiś suggested his group of friends creating the Movement ‘Europa Christi’.

It did not take a long time when the initiators began to work. A few months later the movement delegation met with the bishops during the Plenary Meeting of the Polish Episcopal Conference which was held on 13-14 March this year in Warsaw. – Not always are we aware that the Catholics were able to change the history of Europe. It was so in the case of Alcide de Gaspari, Robert Schumann and Konrad Adenauer – emphasized Fr. Prof. Bernard Ardur, a Premonstratensian – a postulator of the beatification process of the God’s Servant Robert Schuman. He encouraged Polish bishops to enact a bill supporting attempts for beatification of God’s Servants Robert Schuman and Alcide de Gaspari and assured a prayer support in intention of Europe, respecting God’s order in it and respecting every man. The Polish Episcopate passed the bill unanimously.

Sclerosis of the Old Continent

The main event connected with the inauguration of the activity of the Movement ‘Europa Christi’ was the international conference at the University of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński entitled ‘United Europe – an idea of believing politicians, candidates for beatification’. ‘Nations of the Old Continent need to return to sources today and rethink on their fundaments – president of Poland Andrzej Duda wrote to members of the conference. – If we take the direction to authentic historical roots of the Union, we will easily notice that they are included in the heritage of Christian religion’.

The scientific conference was attended by guests from Italy, ministers of the Polish government and of the President’s Office, MEPs and diplomats from a few countries of EU. A letter of president Duda was read out by, among the others, Krzysztof Szczerski. – I am very glad that the initiative of Fr. Ireneusz Skubiś got to the University of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński – emphasized Fr. Prof. Stanisław Dziekoński, a rector of the university. – The patron of our university – cardinal Stefan Wyszyński used to draw our attention to the fact that in the light of the past it is easier to see the present and it is easier to predict the future.

The initiator of organizing the pilgrimage to Jasna Góra and the conference in Warsaw was Fr. Inf. Dr. Ireneusz Skubiś, an honourable editor-in-chief of ‘Niedziela’ and a moderator of the Movement ‘Europa Christi’. – We want to show that Europe was built by saint thinkers, who were inspired by Catholic faith and teachings – he said. – The task of the Movement ‘Europa Christi’ is such reflection on reform of Europe which leads to Christian roots. Today it is very necessary because Christian content was omitted even in European treaties. Today we are facing serious and extremely essential tasks because we must form real elites of Europe. For, the idea of real men of God has been removed from our continent.

The main topic of the conference was bringing fathers the founders closer to the European community, who are candidates for beatification. No wonder that the voice in the discussion belonged also to laymen who have been observing the directions of changes on the Old Continent for years. – After the Second World War the only keystone connecting conflicted nations was Christianity. And all three fathers the founders of the European community were Catholics – reminded prof. Rocco Buttiglione, the former minister for European integration of the Italian government. In his opinion, the current crisis of Europe is the result of departing from values which were at the source of integration.

Unification instead of spreading

Another important stage in the history of the European Union – according to prof. Buttiglione – was spreading onto new European countries, which had been strongly destroyed by communism. Nations which had fought with communism, also discovered Christian values and wanted to bring them to Europe. – It concerned introducing not the Middle Ages, but such people as Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko, John Paul II and mass Solidarity movement, which made a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Częstochowa – he noted. – These values were, however, rejected, which proves that the Western Europe did not want to get spread to the East where Christian values are still strong. EU leaders wanted unification, not spreading.

A similar diagnosis of the causes of the European crisis was presented by the leader of the governing party in Poland. In Europe we can see a deep crisis of values. ‘This axiological confusion results from departing from God, from prideful delusion that the man can manage without Him’ – says Jarosław Kaczyński, the president of the Law and Justice party. In his opinion, the contemporary ‘engineers of souls’ are trying to remove Christianity from the European cultural memory. ‘This is a road to nowhere, because as much as only a really Christian thought could lead to establishment of united Europe, so concepts inspired by it can fruit with an actual reform of the European Union’ – he emphasized in a letter addressed to the members of the congress.

According to fathers the founders, Europe was not to be a bureaucratized structure, which would like to replace love to homeland with cosmopolitism. – Therefore EU must be a family of nations united with common values and culture deriving from Christian faith – prof. Bittuglione emphasized. – At present Europe is suffering from an illness and it is time it returned to the bases, that is, to structures built on Christianity and family.

European Union - a daughter of Catholic founders

The first document connected with the post-war integration in Western Europe was made in 1950 as a plan of Schuman. His author was the chief of the French diplomacy and a deeply believing Catholic. In his book Schuman wrote that Christianity had become the basis for unity of all people, as all of them are children of the same God. – God’s servant Robert Schuman participated in the Holy Mass every day, knew works of St. John of the Cross very well – Fr. Prof. Wojciech Góralski reminded.

So, the European Union is the daughter of prominent politicians who had their inspirations from the Church teaching. Beside Schuman, another candidate for beatification is Alcide de Gaspari – the prime minister of Italy, the foreign minister for many times and co-creator of the Europe Council and the European Community of Coal and Steel. Referring to the biography, memories and letters of creators of united Europe, one can perceive a deep consequent and frequently heroic road of faith, which used to unite politicians and nations of Europe as well. – Undoubtedly Catholicism, felt very deeply, was their basic inspiration of actions to build the European unity – emphasized Fr. Prof. Góralski. – De Gaspari was full of personal holiness, thanks to which he contributed to prove that it is something obvious that Europe cannot reject Christianity as an accidental companion of a journey.

Integration of the Old Continent was based on two pillars. Initiators knew that Europe would develop better if it had the economic common market. They knew very well that the very market was not enough. They understood that integration had to be supported by moral, ethical and legal values. – The market left on its own antagonizes the rich against the poor and the stronger make the weaker subordinated to them. Therefore Alcide de gaspari ised to say that the war is a normal state in the life of nations, and peace is the result of aware effort in order to create friendship among nations – explained prof. Rocco Buttiglione. – Building integrated Europe was connected with hope for development of Christian culture and new evangelization. When the supreme values of social justice are trying to take the place of God, they become idols, like demons demanding human sacrifices.

An appeal to Catholics and Pope

The scientific symposium and other initiatives of the Movement ‘Europa Christi’ are sponsored by the Polish Production of Securities. – We decided support organizers as Christian values are close to the group of the Polish Production of Securities – emphasized the president of the company Piotr Woyciechowski. – Economic activity, which is based on such fundaments as the Gospel, social teaching of the Church or on more things – the roots of Christianity, guarantees safe, good and honest business – he added.

During the conference of the Polish Production of Securities, the symbol of the Christian roots of Europe was the statue of Our Lady of Gibraltar, announced the patron of Europe by the Spanish king Ferdynand IV after Gibraltar was conquered by the Muslims in 1309. The statue was crowned by St. John Paul II in 2002. ‘Catholics, Christians, we are the Church. It will be strong if it is holy. The Movement ‘Europa Christi’, as the bottom-up initiative of Catholics, suggests the Christians taking actions with the help of European sanctuaries’ – we read in an appeal to Catholics of Europe prepared by Fr. Skubiś.

The international delegation of the movement was hosted at an audience by the apostolic nuncio in Poland archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio. ‘The movement ‘Europa Christi’ intends to draw the Europeans’ attention to their Christian roots and help in realization of the message left by Jesus Christ. We believe that Europe can be saved by a prayer and conversion and it can be repaired by the saints. (…) We also express our hope that God’s servants Alcide de Gasperi and Robert Schuman will receive grave of beatification soon, and for which we are asking cordially’ – it was written in the letter to pope Francis, which was signed by laymen and priests from Poland and Italy.

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„Niedziela” 13/2017

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Lidia Dudkiewicz • Translation: Aneta Amrozik • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl