Swedish Prelate Sees Hope for Christianity in Europe

Key Is the Spiritual Life, Says Bishop Arborelius

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PAMPLONA, Spain, NOV. 23, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Bishop Anders Arborelius of Stockholm thinks that Catholics must recover a sense of “pride in belonging to the Church.”

“Sometimes we Catholics are too timid and lack courage and pride to give witness,” said the Swedish prelate, who was invited to speak at the School of Theology of the University of Navarre.

“The laity must be encouraged to give this witness in their environment every day,” added the 55-year-old bishop.

The “dignity of human life and the value of each human being as image of God,” which the Church offers, “is a necessary contribution in the consumer world,” he said.

Bishop Arborelius noted “John Paul II’s persistent interest in defending the unique value of each human being from conception until natural death, and the unity of all men of good will, of all religions, in favor of peace and justice.”

“Catholicism will be revitalized in Europe through the spiritual life. All the baptized must be helped to discover that they live in continual union with Jesus Christ, and that their daily life is an act of service and adoration,” the prelate stressed.

He also predicted “a return to family values,” because in the face of the “present individualist leadership, every human being seeks communion, relationship.”

“Parents must rediscover their responsibility as witnesses and transmitters of the faith. The state as such must be neutral, not an enemy, to enable parents and communities to carry out their role of apostles of the faith,” he added.

Regarding the situation of the Church in his country, the prelate pointed out that “the Catholic Church in Sweden entails 2% of the population, some 150,000 inhabitants, most of whom are immigrants.”

But “it is growing,” he said. “We need vocations and new churches or parishes, despite secularization.”

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