In his keynote speech to a high-level audience in the European Parliament its President Jerzy Buzek recently underlined the significance and impact of an active Christian presence in the public space. We recommend reading and quoting his words.
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Your Europe for Christ – Team
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The president of the European Parliament:
„...a courageous testimony of Christians,
present also in politics - tolerant and open
to others - is one of the greatest strengths
we have. If we give it up, we will be condemned
to the erosion of the European spirit...“
Excerpt of the address of President Jerzy Buzek at the European Prayer Breakfast, Dec. 1st, 2011:
“...We must always remember that the founding fathers of the united Europe were active Christians. It cannot be forgotten today, when we are facing a difficult series of challenges. At the same time, the question arises whether Christian heritage is still valuable, if it is not just another historical costume - respectable but useless? Let me be clear – a courageous testimony of Christians, present also in politics - tolerant and open to others - is one of the greatest strengths we have. If we give it up, we will be condemned to the erosion of the European spirit, digested by nationalism and atomisation; and also by increased feeling of spiritual emptiness - disease of a world of excessive consumption.
Bringing up the Milan Edict* is also a very good starting point for discussions about the autonomy between Church and the state. I am saying clearly - ''autonomy'', not ''separation''. Throughout the centuries we have built a model in which public authorities and religious authorities each keep their autonomy in their own domain. At the same time, there is an absolute need for cooperation between public and religious authorities in many spheres - because such cooperation is important for building together a fair and just society.
In this context, it is difficult not to notice that in Europe we have recently been witnesses of aggressive secularism. This is something I would call negative tolerance. One example can be the question of the cross in the public space. An aggressive, and in reality intolerant, minority would like to lock our faith in to the small box of our privacy. Indeed, this would mean to scrap the idea of religious freedom which has been promoted in the Milan Edict.
History shows that the empty space left by the removed cross has always been conquered by totalitarian ideologies. The disappearance of the cross often resulted not in the release but the enslavement of man. I am convinced that we can not only save our faith, but through our attitude in a secularised world, we Christians can also be the salt of this earth and a light for everyone.
I am convinced that what we are experiencing today is not only a crisis of public debt - a crisis, which came from the US after the failure of Lehman Brothers - it is also a fundamental crisis of values. It is because our material development is not accompanied by a spiritual development, nor by credibility of our moral standards.
The search for our own benefits requires a search for values! When we are getting rich, there is a need of responsibility; a need to take care of welfare - a need to take of equality; finally - the idea of competitiveness requires the idea of justice. We need not only jobs, but work ethos. Finally, any activity without love the Apostle Paul called a "noisy gong or a clanging cymbal" (1Corinthians).
The lack of values could be much more dangerous to Europe than the lack of capital or the lack of political power.”
*The Edict of Milan is the formal announcement of freedom of religion for Christians in the Roman Empire, dated AD 313.