Pontiff Urges Cooperation in Evangelization

Message to Catholic-Orthodox Meeting on Culture in Europe

VIENNA, Austria, MAY 3, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is encouraging Catholics and Orthodox to cooperate in evangelizing Europe so that the Old World can build its future with the patrimony of values transmitted by previous generations.

The papal invitation appears in a message sent in Benedict XVI’s name by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano to the first meeting of culture in Europe organized by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Orthodox Patriarchate of Moscow. The meeting in Vienna runs through Friday.

The theme of the initiative with the support of the Austrian Pro Oriente Foundation, is “To Give a Soul Back to Europe.”

On sending his “cordial greetings” in the Pope’s name to the participants of the symposium, Cardinal Sodano mentioned “how the peoples of the European continent are being challenged in this era by emerging questions on the meaning of life, the value of freedom and the very future of Europe.”

In this context, the message invites them “to build their present and future in the light of ethical and moral values that, in the course of the centuries, have illuminated their history, learning at the same time from the negative experiences of the past.”

It continues: “The Church, ‘expert in humanity,’ does not cease to confirm that only if the patrimony of values transmitted by their forebears is preserved and fully appreciated will Europe be able to write a new page of its history, respecting the dignity of man and definitively rejecting abuses and violence against human rights, as this gravely hinders the integral development of nations, contaminates man’s heart and harms the honor of the Creator.”

The invitation concludes by encouraging Catholics and Orthodox “to promote together a courageous and renewed evangelizing action in Europe of the third millennium,” so that Europeans “will rediscover in Christ their common vocation at the service of peace and authentic world progress.”

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