2006-05-04 14:59:57

Pope expresses hope that Catholic, Orthodox re-evangelize Europe

(May 04, 2006) : "Returning a Soul to Europe", is the theme of a conference taking place in Vienna, Austria from May 3 to May 5. In a message sent by the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano on Pope’s behalf, Pope Benedict XVI expressed hope that a landmark meeting between Catholic and Russian Orthodox representatives would result in the two churches working together to re-evangelize Europe. The Pontiff said that only by preserving and promoting Europe's Christian values, while respecting "the different spiritual traditions which enrich" Europe, could the continent turn a new page in history and experience wholesome development. French Cardinal Paul Poupard, head of the pontifical councils for Culture and for Interreligious Dialogue and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow jointly generated the idea to hold such an event for the first time. The meeting outlined Christianity's challenges, including the threats of secularism, religious indifference and sects. Participants are looking for ways the Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches could work together to help Europe better cherish its Christian heritage and prompt Christians to infuse European policies and culture with ethical and moral values.

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