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Catholics, Orthodox should join to restore Europe's Christian culture, Pope says

May 21, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI underlined the mutual interests of the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches, and the need for ecumenical cooperation in Europe, in a brief address on May 20 after a concert of Russian music.

The Pope spoke after a performance by the National Orchestra of Russia, which was sponsored by the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill I to honor the Pope on the 5th anniversary of his election. After enjoying the concert the Pope spoke-- at first of the music, then more generally of the challenges that face the world's largest Christian bodies.

The music, the Pope said, expressed "the soul of the Russian people, and therewith the Christian faith." He mentioned that Russian liturgical music has a particularly rich history, "giving life to masterpieces which deserve to be better known in the West." Today's Europe, the Pope continued, "runs the risk of amnesia-- of forgetting and thus abandoning the extraordinary heritage aroused and inspired by Christian faith, which is the essential framework of the culture of Europe, and not only of Europe." Echoing a theme that Russian Orthodox leaders have frequently explored, he called for all Christians, Catholic and Orthodox, to work together to restore European appreciation for its Christian cultural heritage.

"Let us again let Europe breathe with both lungs," the Pope said, calling upon all Christians to help build a society in which "openness to the transcendent, the experience of faith, is recognized as an essential element of the human being."


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  • Posted by: New Sister - May. 24, 2010 6:25 AM ET USA

    Defender - "slowly"? They oubirth secular Europeans 7:1!!

  • Posted by: raymondfrice9926 - May. 22, 2010 10:45 PM ET USA

    Maybe the pope ought to launch a new crusade like in the middle ages!!!

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - May. 22, 2010 12:23 PM ET USA

    With every political movement in Europe advocating a national or even continental identity being called "racist" or "fascist" this is a non-starter. Muslims have long memories of their defeats at Poitiers, Granada, Lepanto, and Vienna, the Europeans have amnesia. Look at what the most popular names are from recent birth certificates in Europe and you can already see the triumph of Mohammed over Peter and Paul.

  • Posted by: Defender - May. 21, 2010 7:17 PM ET USA

    Europe is slowly but surely become more and more Muslim - what the invaders couldn't quite accomplish centuries ago at Vienna, they are managing to do so now. Don't think this can't happen here.