Catholic World News News Feature
Pope's goal is "renewed European identity," cardinal says September 29, 2006
Pope Benedict XVI aspires toward the formation of "a renewed European identity," which could offer the world "a contribution of inestimable spiritual and culture heritage," the Vatican's new Secretary of State has told a group of academic figures.
In a message to the 5th European Symposium for university professors, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said that the new European identity should be constructed on the basis of "a humanism that is rational and open to the revelation of Jesus Christ, tolerant but steadfast in its ethical principles."
Cardinal Bertone referred to the Pope's address at the University of Regensburg, and his insistence that scholars should pursue the goal of "full rationality, faithful to the integral human experience." That goal, he continued, is best pursued through "constructive dialogue with all those who share the same passion for truth, and with mutual respect for diversity." That constructive debate, the cardinal said, could help to establish the new cultural identity for Europe.
The 5th European Symposium for university faculty, organized by the vicariate of Rome, opened on September 28 at the palace of St. John Lateran, with Italian President Giorgio Napolitano presiding at the first session. Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's vicar for Rome and president of the Italian episcopal conference, welcomed the participants.
Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera of Toledo, Spain, also recalled the Pope's Regensburg speech when he addressed the conference on Friday. The Spanish cardinal said that he was surprised that there had not been "a clamor of defense and gratitude" for the Pope's remarks, which he saw as a landmark address, "opening wide horizons and perspectives, throwing a great light on our current situation, offering a bright future for mankind." In his view, the Pontiff "was very courageous in fully defending reason and the grandeur of faith, which are linked inseparably." He argued that the European identity cannot dismiss the Christian heritage of the continent, which gives Europe its common cultural basis.