“What Europe expects from the Church” was at the centre of the socio-political analysis by the Honourable Antonio Tajani, former President of the European Parliament, speaker on the third day of the Plenary Assembly in Rome. “The religious aspect of our continent cannot be relegated to a purely private matter for each one of us – affirmed Tajani addressing the European Bishops – because history teaches us so”. Today’s Europe is trying to hide its Christian roots, losing the values based on the centrality of the person, and by so doing “the EU is in danger of becoming just a big market where business is done, even good business. However, it loses its soul. To play a role in the world, Europe needs a soul”. said Tajani. Running after a “popular culture” alienates the individual by losing the main values of Christianity such as freedom. “Why do we defend freedom in the world? Because we have this value in our DNA – added the Honourable. We Europeans are convinced that certain values, even within different cultures, must be universal. And the only universal religion is Christianity.
Among the topics discussed by Tajani were immigration and the family. Europe is still very wary about the role of integration and reception of migrants “this does not honour those who should welcome them. If we lose our identity, we will become more and more afraid of the other”. Tajani called on the representatives of the European Churches to be more courageous in defending their rights and especially in defending their Christian identity. “The Church could always do a little more because it is an authoritative presence in itself. However, all of us as Christians are also called to courage without hiding or being afraid. It is not less to be Christians. The Church as a whole must be more courageous in Europe”. To curb the phenomenon of the increasing faithlessness “we must make it clear that the Church is not a trade union or an NGO. We must not withdraw into ourselves. Otherwise, fewer and fewer people will believe in us, and we will have a sort of “invasion” by other religions. This progressive disappearance of Christianity is not good for our continent”.
The Church is called to defend the family first and foremost, especially in these times of enormous demographic crisis, because the family is the place where new generations are born. “We need to teach our children that the family is to be defended every day as the fundamental nucleus of society, including in education – explained the Honourable Tajani – The role of the Christian school must be defended within the EU. Freedom of education is another fundamental pillar that we must not renounce”.
Tajani’s exhortation is to see a Church in Europe that is more convincing and more courageous, also one that asks for investments to fight climate change, fight terrorism, defend peace, fight disease and poverty, all for the benefit of increasing different relationships with other continents. “We have to dust off our values, even politics without values becomes just a business matter. This action of defending values must be engaging. If we cause fear to emerge, we lose our witness as Christians. We must not hide our identity – concluded Tajani. Europe must rediscover its guiding-Christian soul, which does not mean rejecting others; on the contrary, the more one is firmly rooted in one’s own identity, the more one is able to welcome others”.