Action Alert!

Cardinal Marx, did you forget something?

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | May 06, 2016

When your only tool is a hammer, they say, every problem looks like a nail. So when the cardinal-archbishop of a major European city reflects on the challenges that face Europe today, you might expect him to lead with a comment on the loss of faith. 

That's the insight that St. John Paul II pounded home: the European community was formed by the faith, and without the heritage of faith there's nothing-- aside from shifting economic interests-- holding the societies of Europe together. Pope Benedict XVI followed up by noting that without the faith, Europe is sinking into the dictatorship of relativism, with no firm moral standards, no clear purpose. 

So again, when Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich-- the president of the commission of episcopal conferences of the EU-- speaks on the four great challenges facing the European community, you know what he's going to say, don't you? He's going to talk about the faith, isn't he? 

But wait; the first challenge that he names doesn't directly involve the faith. 

The second, maybe? Nope.

Third time's a charm? Not in this case.

Last chance: No again.

Cardinal Marx has suggestions on several other topics; he's ready to use all sorts of tools to fix Europe's problem. But this time the problem IS a nail, and the cardinal isn't a hammer. 

Oh, dear. I wrote this little piece before reading the address delivered by Pope Francis as he accepted the Charlemagne Prize. No hammer there, either, I'm afraid.


Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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