Catholic World News

Ecumenical Patriarch, in letter to Pope, reflects on solidarity, Europe’s Christian roots

June 28, 2016

The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has sent his best wishes to Pope Francis for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, the patrons of Rome.

Thanking Pope Francis for joining him on the Greek island of Lesbos to draw attention to the plight of refugees, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said that “the contemporary crisis of refugees and migrants has demonstrated the need for European nations to address this problem on the basis of the ancient Christian principles of fraternity and social justice.”

“We recognize that the European civilization cannot be understood without reference to its Christian roots and that its future cannot be as a society entirely secularized or subjected to economism and various forms of fundamentalism,” he continued. “The ‘culture of solidarity’ nurtured by Christianity is not preserved through the progress of standards of living, the Internet and globalization.”

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew also thanked Pope Francis for his 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’ and added:

No one honors humankind created in the image and likeness of God as much as the Church of Christ, who was revealed as God “with us” (Matt. 1.23) and as God “for us” (Rom. 8.32). This is why the word of the Church is and shall remain to the ages an intervention for the sake of humanity and its divinely-granted freedom. Life in the Church incorporates, along with the Holy Eucharist, the splendid worship and life of prayer, the ascetic and internal struggle against the passions, as well as the resistance against social evil and the struggle for the prevailing of justice and peace.

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  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Jun. 29, 2016 3:25 PM ET USA

    Europe has been essentially pagan now for at least 70 years. Remember Masie Ward's book, "Is France Pagan" written right after WWII? We've seen it ever since. European civilization is gone. It is only Secularism that fills its place. Take a look at Belgium. Isn't it time the Church looked into the face of reality? Europe is a mission country and the Africans, praise God, might have to pick up the fallen baton in mankind's race to the end. Cathedrals now become museums of less and less interest