Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
October 12, 2009
European bishops lament failed hopes of 1989
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
PARIS - Europe's Catholic bishops have commemorated the end of their continent's East-West division while also warning that it now faces a crisis of values.
The fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago "did not simply come out of the blue; it came as a result of determined and bold men who did not lack their own freedom," said the Council of European Bishops' Conferences.
"We now see that the incredible European project, with a strong ethical basis, has greatly weakened," said the council, which represents about 1,200 bishops.
"The hopes placed on building Europe have not, so far, been fulfilled."
In a message at the close of the council's Oct. 1-4 assembly in Paris, the bishops said Catholics should remember "the many battles fought for solidarity and respect for human dignity" in Central and Eastern Europe.
They also pointed to the "fundamental role" of Pope John Paul II in supporting "a Europe based on foundations of faith, the common good and peace."
Since the November 1989 dismantling of the Berlin Wall many developments have gone "against the authentic good."
The bishops pointed to an increased emphasis on individual choice and personal fulfillment that risks "locking the individual into the defence of self-interest or acquired benefits."
"A society in which each individual, group and nation defends only their own vested interests cannot but be the jungle."
Catholics should remember that "the rules of the market and competition will never give birth to the ideal," it said.
"The crisis sweeping Europe today is serious. Low birthrates and the future of its demography do not lead to optimism."
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