Revive Your Roots

From the May 2006 Trumpet Print Edition

Pope Benedict xvi would like to see Europe rediscover its roots. Recently, he co-wrote a book, titled Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam, in which, with his co-author, president of the Italian Senate and philosopher Marcello Pera, he explores European secularism, its effects, and the real roots of the European identity: Roman Catholicism. This book outlines Benedict’s vision for a united Catholic Europe.

Benedict inherited the job of trying to evangelize Europe from his predecessor, Pope John Paul ii. As John Paul ii repeatedly called for Europe to rediscover its roots, so too has Pope Benedict. July 24 last year, Benedict directly quoted John Paul in his weekly address, stating, “I, bishop of Rome and pastor of the universal church, from Santiago, send to you, age-old Europe, a cry full of love: Return to yourself. Be yourself. Discover your origins. Revive your roots. Revive those authentic values that made your history glorious and your presence beneficial among the other continents” (Zenit, July 24, 2005).

“With that address, Benedict xvi explained, Pope John Paul ii launched ‘the project of a Europe conscious of its own spiritual unity, based on the foundation of Christian [Roman Catholic] values’” (ibid.).

Pope John Paul ii worked toward that goal by facilitating the demise of the Communist regime and laying a new foundation for Catholic values in Europe. The demise of the Soviet Union allowed Catholicism, as a religion, to reassert itself in the Eastern European countries following its suppression under the Communist regime. Most of those nations are now members of the European Union. Now Benedict has taken up the job of bringing all of Europe to the heel of Catholicism.

For Benedict, this goal is paramount. Europe has been the historical stomping ground of the Roman Catholic Church.

Throughout the history of Europe and the Middle East, whenever Muslims and Catholics have clashed, a European power, usually Germany, has stepped up to protect the Vatican and the Catholic faith from destruction. Today, we see Islam and Catholicism beginning to clash, and if history be our guide, the fireworks haven’t even started yet. Benedict can see the Muslim threat and is urgent to turn secular Western Europe back to its “holy” Roman roots and to reunite with the Vatican’s historical protectors.

In his new book, Benedict makes his argument for the Catholic conquest of Europe. He argues that a secular Europe, dominated by tolerance and acceptance of other religions and cultures, is corroding European values: In short, European tolerance is killing what it means to be European.

Benedict argues that Roman Catholicism gave Europe its values—absolute values. The book states that Europe is “paralyzed because it does not believe that there are good reasons to say it is better than Islam. And it is paralyzed because it believes that, if such reasons do indeed exist, then the West would have to fight Islam.” Benedict argues that Roman Catholicism is the antidote; rejection of Europe’s Catholic roots and acceptance of relativist secularism and multiculturalism has left it helpless. For Europe to survive, it must make the distinction between a secularism that will compromise to the point of Europe’s destruction and one that acknowledges its roots in Roman Catholic values.

The problem is, Europe, in particular France, has prided itself on its secularism since the 18th-century “Enlightenment.”

Multiculturalism is a more recent phenomenon. Increasingly since the great displacement of refugees that occurred following World War ii, high immigration has been predicated partly, if not mostly, on the need for labor—since Europe’s fertility rates, coupled with easy access to abortion, have not met economic demand to support an aging population. Millions of Muslims have migrated to Europe over the past 50 years, motivated by a desire for the freedom from societal oppression and economic depression imposed upon them by medieval-style regimes in their home countries. Differing from the postwar refugee movements, these Islamic immigrants have tended not to adopt the traditions of their new home countries.

Benedict sees a threat in this. Addressing the Vatican diplomatic corps, he said that the “advance of Islam” is once again a threat to the European concept. “Benedict said that ‘attention has rightly been drawn to the danger of a clash of civilizations. … Its causes are many and complex, not least to do with political ideology, combined with aberrant religious ideas’” (ibid.).

As yet, Western Europe has not overtly responded to John Paul’s or Benedict’s calls to rediscover its roots. The Vatican’s efforts to have a reference to Roman Catholic values inserted into the preamble of the European Constitution seem to have temporarily failed. Even an Italian diplomat was refused a key post in the European Union because he was viewed as too Catholic. However, this intransigence will not continue. Europe and the Vatican have a historical relationship that belies current perceptions. One of Italian Silvio Berlusconi’s cabinet ministers recently calling on the pope to lead a 16th-century-style crusade against Muslims provides evidence of that fact.

As radical Islam, led by Iran, continues to push its extremist policies on Europe, expect more European politicians to begin to show their true colors and turn for guidance to Europe’s spiritual leader: Pope Benedict xvi.

The Bible indicates that the Catholic Church will conquer European secularism and, once again, become the Continent’s spiritual guide. Watch for Benedict to strengthen his relations with Europe—and especially look for one European, close to the Catholic Church, to step forward and lead Europe politically to world domination.