Dark Clouds Seen Over Europe's Ethics

Officials Warn of an Anthropology Not in Tune With Christian Values

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ST. GALLEN, Switzerland, MAY 31, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The landscape of Europe is pocked with eroded values and new forms of poverty, say the general secretaries of the continent’s episcopal conferences.

«What is behind us is a time dominated by Communism, but today we are living through a time of uncertainty regarding the ‘cultural revolution’ that is going on around us,» said the general secretaries in a statement as they began their annual meeting.

The meeting overseen by the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences started last Thursday and ended Monday.

«Although there are many signs of hope for the future of the Church in Europe, the picture painted by the general secretaries reveals uncertainties and worries, too,» explained the press statement issued today.

It continued: «A perceived lack of landmarks and foundations, the erosion of values and of ethical standards, the spread of ambiguous and sectarian religious practices, anti-Semitism and growing new forms of poverty are disorientating and a cause for concern regarding the future of Europe.

«It seems that some basic economic and sociopolitical trends are contributing to a new anthropology that is not in tune with Christian values. Most of all, if we take note of the new spiritual search in so many people’s lives, it becomes vitally important to take modern culture and secularization seriously.»

In the first part of the meeting, the secretaries tried to identify basic issues in contemporary society and discussed the best model of Church to promote.

The only way of dealing with strong de-Christianizing tendencies in Europe is to combine «innovation» and «tradition,» they concluded.

Reflections on bioethical questions linked to new scientific research on stem cells, human embryos and the brain played a significant role in discussions at the meeting.

Günter Rager, professor of medicine at the University of Fribourg, gave the introductory talk. He emphasized that some research, particularly concerned with the brain and the manipulation of embryos, clash with the Christian vision of the human person.

Readiness to dialogue with the scientific culture, the secretaries were told, demands advanced knowledge of the facts and of current research.

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