"Christianity is Part of Europe's DNA"

Former Holy See Permanent Observer to Council of Europe Discusses New Book

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The Holy See’s outgoing permanent observer to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg has written a new book sharing his perspectives on the future of the continent.

Mgr Aldo Giordano, who was also general secretary of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) from 1995 to 2008, has been consecrated Archbishop and appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela, replacing Archbishop Pietro Parolin who was appointed Vatican Secretary of State last year.

Before crossing the Ocean, he is returning to the CCEE headquarters in St Gallen to speak about his European experience at the launch of his book “Another Europe is possible”.

The meeting organised by the diocese of St Gallen in collaboration with the CCEE will take place on Tuesday 7 January 2014 at 1800 in the diocesan Musiksaal (Klosterhof 6b – St. Gallen). On the same day, at 0815, Mgr Aldo will preside at Mass in St Gallen Cathedral.

Mgr Aldo Giordano recently recounted his rich European experience, responding to the questions of Alberto Campoleoni, journalist with the “l’Eco di Bergamo”, in a book-interview with the somewhat provocative title Un’altra Europa è possibile. Ideali cristiani e prospettive per il Vecchio Continente [Another Europe is possible. Christian ideals and prospects for the Old Continent] (Edizioni S. Paolo, 2013, pp-216).

A number of issues are tackled: debates about bioethics; questions linked to the presence of the crucifix in public places; the faith-reason dilemma; the social outlooks between the wealth of today and fears over the poverty of tomorrow; controversies about new families, gender, and adoption; the future of ecumenism and European civilisation. In this book Mgr Giordano invites Europeans not to be ashamed of living as “Christians”.

For Mgr Giordano, “The ‘other Europe’ we dream about is the one which overcomes egotistical temptation. I am thinking about a Europe which is concerned about not discriminating against the fundamental relationships of the human person at the level of family, friendship and society, but I am also thinking about a Europe which risks opening itself to other regions of the world. This Europe is possible because it already exists. Europe can enable the newness of Christianity which is part of its very DNA, of its own vocation, to blossom. In recent years I have been able to visit almost all the countries in our continent and I  have experienced many workshops which witness to the possibility of fraternity among peoples, gratuitousness in relationships, even economic ones, and a sense of justice, that is, a true, good and beautiful Europe”.

Born in 1954, Mgr Giordano was the General Secretary of CCEE, the continental organisation which brings together all the episcopal Conferences in Europe, from 1995-2008 and so lived in St. Gallen where the CCEE Secretariat has been based since 1978. In 2008, Mgr Giordano was appointed the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the Council of Europe. Last November, Pope Francis appointed him Apostolic Nuncio to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, at the same time appointing him to the titular See of Tamada, with the rank of Archbishop.

During Tuesday’s meeting there will be addresses from Mgr Markus Büchel, Bishop of St. Gallen; Mgr Ivo Fürer, Emeritus Bishop of St. Gallen and the second General Secretary of CCEE; Mgr Duarte da Cunha, the current General Secretary of CCEE; and Dr Alberto Campoleoni, co-author of the book.

The CCEE say it will also be possible to purchase Mgr Aldo Giordano’s book.

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