Pontiff: Gospel Is Not an Ideology

Says Christians Are Obliged to Remind Europe of Roots

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PRAGUE, Czech Republic, SEPT. 27, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Gospel is not an ideology, but rather, illuminates the dignity of the human person generation after generation, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this today in an ecumenical meeting held in the context of his three-day apostolic journey to the Czech Republic. He returns to Rome on Monday.

The Holy Father told the representatives of Christian religions that «as Europe listens to the story of Christianity, she hears her own.»

«Her notions of justice, freedom and social responsibility, together with the cultural and legal institutions established to preserve these ideas and hand them on to future generations, are shaped by her Christian inheritance,» he said. «Indeed, her memory of the past animates her aspirations for the future.»

Spreading the faith

The Pontiff went on to reflect on the testimony of the saints, saying they show how commitment to spreading the Gospel is founded on the «conviction that Christians should not cower in fear of the world but rather confidently share the treasury of truths entrusted to them.»

And Christians today, 20 years after the fall of communism, «must have the courage to invite men and women to the radical conversion that ensues upon an encounter with Christ and ushers in a new life of grace,» he continued.

Benedict XVI said that in this perspective «we understand more clearly why Christians are obliged to join others in reminding Europe of her roots.»

«It is not because these roots have long since withered,» the Pope affirmed. «On the contrary! It is because they continue — in subtle but nonetheless fruitful ways — to supply the continent with the spiritual and moral sustenance that allows her to enter into meaningful dialogue with people from other cultures and religions. 

«Precisely because the Gospel is not an ideology, it does not presume to lock evolving socio-political realities into rigid schemas. Rather, it transcends the vicissitudes of this world and casts new light on the dignity of the human person in every age.»

The Holy Father concluded by asking his listeners at the ecumenical gathering to pray that God would «implant within us a spirit of courage to share the timeless saving truths which have shaped, and will continue to shape, the social and cultural progress of this continent.»

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