NUREMBERG, Germany, NOV. 10, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Europe should not forget the tragedy instigated by the Nazi regime, but rather ensure that history does not repeat itself, says a Vatican official.
Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès, secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, affirmed this at the fourth seminar for ministers of nations that belong to the European Cultural Convention, which took place last week in Nuremberg and Dachau.
Referring to the site, the prelate said Nuremberg “was a witnesses of the massive Nazi gatherings, but also of the proceedings against those who had stained themselves with grave crimes against humanity.”
These facts speak “of the drama of an epoch in which liberty and justice were denied and the dignity of man was trampled upon,” he said.
It is important, Archbishop Bruguès continued, to keep alive the memory of these facts, especially as time passes and there are fewer remaining eye witnesses, so that “a similar tragedy is not repeated in any corner of Europe.”
“The memory of the drama of the victims, the honor of their memory, demands that everyone realize that those sinister circumstances should be a call to responsibility for constructing the today and tomorrow of our continent,” he said.
The Vatican official noted that rights and liberty “are essential to avoid falling again into totalitarianism that does not respect man.”
Still, he said, rights should be founded on an elevated sense of dignity and justice.
“Protecting the dignity of man does not mean merely not killing, torturing or mutilating him,” he explained. “It also means allowing for the possibility of satisfying the hunger and thirst for justice of which man is capable.”
Archbishop Bruguès contended that it is necessary to “redouble efforts” in the fight against racism, exclusion, marginalization and xenophobia, and cautioned that hints of these evils can be found in modern society
He continued, “We run the risk of falling again into barbarity if we don’t have passion for justice and liberty and if we don’t work, each one according to his own capacity, to ensure that evil does not prevail over good.”
In this regard, the prelate added, the Holy See praises the efforts of the countries that have signed the convention to “contribute through education to the construction of a more solidary and democratic Europe, which respects diversity and is aware of its identity.”
The purification of memory should contribute, he added, citing words from Benedict XVI in Auschwitz in 2006, to “learn to love together.” It is about “making man more human,” man who “can be more, and not just have more, who can learn to live not only with others, but for others.”
“The duty of memory,” the archbishop concluded, “should continue moving our hearts and our minds to lead reason to recognize evil and reject it, to stir up in us the courage of goodness and resistance to evil.”