Biskup senior diecezji charkowsko-zaporoskiej (od 2014) Marian Buczek zaprasza na Kongres Ruchu Europa Christi oraz coroczne uroczystości św. Olafa w Norwegii.
W 2018 roku Internetowa Telewizja Polonijna objęła swym patronatem medialnym Ruch Europa Christi, którego ambicją jest odbudowanie chrześcijańskiego myślenia o Europie. Inicjatywa powstała z inspiracji ks. infułata Ireneusza Skubisia, honorowego redaktora naczelnego Tygodnika Katolickiego „Niedziela”. Według prelegentów Kongresu Unia Europejska uwierzyła, że źródła chrześcijańskie europejskiej cywilizacji mogą być zastąpione przez “nowy humanizm”, oderwany od religii, który zagwarantuje trwały pokój. Jednak w ten sposób została zagubiona prawda historyczna o źródłach europejskiej cywilizacji, a także podstawy autentycznego humanizmu, którego właśnie ten kontynent był kolebką. Kolejny kongres Europa Christi odbędzie się w lipcu 2022 roku. Organizowania Ruchu Europa Christi w Norwegii podjęli się o. Gerard Filak, Jarosław Staśkiewicz i Bogdan Kulas.
Fr. inf. PhD Ireneusz Skubiś – Moderator of ‚Europa Christi‘ Movement
„EUROPA CHRISTI“ MOVEMENT
‘Europa Christi’ Movement is, generally speaking, a great reflection on our continent, on its history, culture, but, first of all, on the human history in Europe. For the human being is the most important. His inscribed history has a great significance for the present and the future. When we say ‘Europa Christi’. We express an important attitude to values. Values expressed by Europe have mainly religious dimension. In fact in the man everything depends on religion and religiousness. Being born in this world, everybody feels their dependence, nobody is born without any reference. Since the life began we have been observing the human reference to parents, relatives, to the surroundings. Without his surroundings, environment, the human being cannot and is not able to exist.
There is also reference to the Supreme Being. When only the human being reaches his consciousness, he asks himself the questions: where am I from? Who am I, what is my deepest reference as the human being? And the fate of the human being is marked with this reference, which is a reference also to the Creator, that is, God. Certainly, we are dealing with various gradations of these references but the intellect points that there is necessity of them.
The notion ‘Europa Christi’ expresses this Divine reference, a reference, not only the philosophical one but the particular one – the Christian. For, Europe is a continent and it was 2 thousand years ago, when it accepted faith in Jesus Christ, God who revealed himself to the man. This revelation is included in the Old testament, the book of religion of Israel, whose purpose is passing over faith in one God, but the New Testament shows us God who is a person, and is our Redeemer and Messiah. We, the Christians, express our faith that God is one, but in Three Persons. We consider Jesus Christ as the second Person of the Holy Trinity. He came to the world in order to save it and mark it with the presence of the Holy Spirit, especially after His passing away to the Father.
The European continent accepted faith in Jesus Christ as God and Redeemer from 2 thousand years ago. It happened at the particular time, in particular culture and circumstances. When the books of the New Testament were being created, Europe was marked with the ancient Greek culture, with Latin and Greek languages, in which the books of the New Testament were being written; the Gospel according to St. Matthew was written in the Aramaic language.
So, ‘Europa Christi’ has got its own historic record and its history is very important for the history of Christian faith. There is a very close relation between faith and culture. The man as the thinking being builds his culture, using all circumstances which life brings, so that culture would be firm, particular and concern human matters, would build the man, develop him, help him live, give him perspectives of the earthly existence but so that it would also include the perspective of eternity, that is, it would be included in the faith in Risen Christ – the essential element of eternal destination of the man. For the man is a living being on the earth, but his destination is not earthly but eternal, foreseen by God in His plans.
Thinking about Europe we are aware of its reference to the Church, founded by Jesus Christ who has a stigma of being faithful. Speaking about the Church, Jesus emphasizes that hell gates will never overcome it (see Mt. 16.18), that is, it has got specific faithfulness and promise of Christ’s assistance, who as God secures its functioning. It is expressed, among the others, in Jesus’ decision who says: ‘Whatever you bind on earth, shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you unbind on earth, shall be unbound in Heaven’ (see Mt 16.19). So, the role of the Church is to decide about the fate of the man both in the world and in eternity.
‘Europa Christi’ is Christian Europe, which through the activity of the Church and people managing it, has done a great work, which are human achievements in the field of cultural and civilisational possessions of the Europeans. European heritage is Christian heritage, based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What has always been important for the Europeans was faith in God and living on faith, indicated and directed by Decalogue, especially the commandment of loving God and other people.
So, when we say ‘Europa Christi’, we must remember that the principles of life on this continent were building it for 2 thousand years and are included in the Holy Scripture of the Old and New Testament.
‘Europa Christi’ is a really broad issue and concerns the whole life of Europe. It is included in the social, cultural life, in educational activity at Middle Age universities, in the field of charity, in help to ill, suffering, helpless people. Faith in Christ was initiated, among the others, by the role of religious orders, which were running great culture-creating activity, helped people live, were doing some discoveries. Directions of people’s actions were marked with searching for values, the good, what is better. Christianity was somehow a spring of the development of Europe, according to another missionary commandment of Jesus: ‘Going, teach other nations’, so that the man would use his power and possibilities for a real development of himself and his environment.
The ‘Europa Christi’ movement considers the human history in Europe, and also great works which are his creation and which are brought onto other continents by him. Europe is inscribed in the humankind history as the most important continent, which can be proud of the most beautiful fruits of civilization and culture in history. It should be considered today as for the future of the man on this area.
The Christian greatness of Europe is proved, among the others, by wonderful monuments in the area of architecture, art, literature, music, etc. It should be noticed and cared for.
But, unfortunately, Europe history is also the cross of suffering, mistakes, distortions, wars, persecutions, which are not glorious for our history, but which appeared when people were pushing aside God’s teaching.
Today we are witnesses of the situation in which Europe is losing its identity. Some strong trends appeared, which want somehow to stop the Christian history of Europe. We see that there are influential people, there are institutions and groups which want Europe to stop being the Christian continent.
Maybe the XX century which caused a lot of destruction of Europe and the world through the two severe world wars, brought about a lot of inhibitions in Christian morality included in the history of Christianity. During the Second World War a lot of people saw a lot of evil which had been caused by the man. Disasters which appeared in Europe were caused by departure from God. Atheistic and godless systems, which had rejected God, led to the hecatomb of the Second World War. Gulags and death camps were the result of the godless who had rejected God’s commandments, God’s law and were following atheistic philosophy. It was seen in actions and plans of the Bolsheviks in Russia and the Nazis in Germany.
Particularly in Western Europe there was a quick growth of consumptiveness and hedonism, the so-called philosophy of using, supported by the spirit of liberalism, which suggests people omitting God’s law and everything which had moderated the right development of humankind. This philosophy began gaining the priority. It also caused weakening religious faith and following a godless lifestyle, which was defined by John Paul II that ‘people live in such a way as if God did not exist’. And Europe began to live in liberal spirit, as dangerous as atheistic movements, as practically causing departing from faith and Christian morality. The example are suggestions of the gender ideology, very dangerous, definitely unknown to the Christian doctrine, which is based on God the Creator, and on the order included in the human biology and his natural existence.
We are witnessing the loss the Europeans’ identity, which was also reminded by St. John Paul II, who understood what memory and identity meant. He expressed his reflections in a book entitled in the same way.
Return to roots
Europe should maintain the memory about its identity. It should be aware of what its roots are, that they derive from the Gospel and proclaiming Christ, in maintaining God’s commandments and God’s law. This rooting is reflected in the whole European life. If today Europe enjoys and is proud of its achievements in the field of technology, civilization, it must also remember that modern achievements are not from nothing. The philosophy which came from the Gospel and philosophy of aiming at what is better, caused development of not only the European continent, but also the whole humankind. Other civilizations, with their rich history, have been in a kind of a stasis and only the Christian one is developmental. Thanks to the opening up and the order included in the God’s revelation, one can speak about a balanced development of the human and universal thought in the world.
The source of this development is the Christian thought and a thought based on the natural law, on biology and intelligent human activity. The basic assumptions of the Christian thought are respect to life. Whereas, recently we have been observing development of godless thought of Lenin, which led to death culture. It was Lenin who was the first to introduce, among the others, the right for abortion to a large scale. At present in the world killing unborn children is becoming the right of adults and those who are defending life, are punished for their beliefs. Here I mean the Canadian woman Mary Wagner, who is constantly sentenced to imprisonment because she is a pro-life activist. So, defence of life should become the basic task for contemporary Europe. As the European Christians, we should be pro-life activists and promoters culture of life.
So ‘Europa Christi’ is a serious challenge addressed not only to the Catholic church but also all Europeans who want to live in a moral order. First of all, the Europeans should renew their faith in Jesus Christ which became quite uncertain. So, maybe we should return to the theological idea which says that faith is grace….God can give it to us but He can also take it away. Maybe sins which are the result of Europe history, particularly the XX century, caused a kind of rejection of faith. People who lost the grace of faith, have difficulties in accepting faith and assumptions included in Decalogue….
As we can see, ‘Europa Christi’ is not a snobbish movement, but a responsible movement, open particularly to the teaching of St. John Paul II, who is a master in discovering Christian values in the history of Europe and the world.
This movement is an important suggestion which we present to the inhabitants of Europe – to the majority of baptized people, that is, the Christians. Christianity gave a testimony of life devotion particularly in Rome, but also on other areas, where the Roman empire ruled. The first Christians were persecuted, sued to court or killed for faith. However, as an ancient Christian writer Tertulian said „Sanguis martyrum semen christianorum” – Blood of martyrs is the seed of the Christians. In the blood of martyrs Christianity of Europe was born. It derived from ancient Greek culture, from Roman law which was the Gospel of Jesus Christ – joyful news of salvation. The first sign of Christianity is love. ‘Look how they love one another’ – it was how the first Christians were perceived. Love was signum distinctivym – something very important – for the first followers of Christ.
The ‘Europa Christi’ movement wants to remind the contemporary Europeans of their roots which are seen in a lot of signs, beginning with the Christian ancient times, till today. It wants to indicate and prove that Christian faith is based on God’s revelation, is under care of the Church and enjoys the presence of its Founder Jesus Christ, and ‘gates of hell shall not prevail against it’ (see Mt 13, 18).Church cares for the work of evangelization and it systematically leads its believers to Christ through holy sacraments, teaching, exhortation and suggesting new forms of religious life calculated for the contemporary times.
The ‘Europa Christi’ movement does not usurp the right to compete with pastoral life of Church. It wants to serve to priests in their work, attempts for development of religious life. It wants to support them in their missionary engagement for the sake of new evangelization. Lay people often have a lot of observation and ideas which they would like to share with priests and support them in their care for religious life of believers.
A suitable place for the action of the Europa Christi’ movement seems to be cultural institutions which naturally sow memory about the past in people, cultivating customs and can support development of Christian culture. ‘Europa Christi’ groups can also support reflection of the lay Catholics on the role of the Christian thought so that they would perceive it more deeply.
Because it must be stated that the Christian thought has often been distorted and stigmatized with a stigma of hatred and the lack of reasoning cognition.
The ‘Europa Christi’ movement wants to remind that the Christians of our culture are stigmatized with reasoning thinking and great intellectual correctness. For Christianity is revealed religion, and also it bases on reasoning threads, and is based on nature laws very well. Christian scientists who have a possibility to make comparisons in the sphere of sciences, can say easily that the work of nature is compatible with what God’s revelations says about the work of creation. There is no contradiction between fides et ration – faith and science. The whole human biology is an alive testimony of presence in the work of creating the thought of the Supreme Being.
The initiative of establishing the ‘Europa Christi’ movement appeared during the poor situation of Europe . This is a serious illness which causes the loss of identity.
For every man there are very important questions and answers to them: who am I? what is my essence? What is in the depths of my soul? Is the consciousness of my being clear and determined? These questions are asked by people all over the world today.
Today Europe is undertaking strange action. They are often contradictiory with themselves. We are witnesses of various decisions of the European Union, characterized with unwillingness to European roots. EU officials often want to impose their uninteresting vision of the presence and the future on the Europeans, full of an allergy towards Christian faith and exaggerated tolerance towards other religions. They are able to do everything in order to break Christian faith. And what is astonishing is that this is done by people who have probably often seen Christian faith, also in their families.
A war against the cross
We are witnesses of a war with the main sign of Christianity – the Cross. A lot of institutions have already been deprived of this sign, for example, in European hotels it is forbidden to hang the cross on the wall, although Christian inhabitants of Europe use hotel services. The same problem concerns offices, not saying about private flats. Even the sign of the red cross became an obstacle and ambulances had to change it into the sign of the Eskulap snake – the Roman equivalent of the mythological person of the Greek carer of medical art Aslepios. One can give a lot of other examples of eliminating the cross from the public space, as somebody cannot tolerate it.
I must mention here the time of Crusades, controversial for many people. In the Middle Ages European knighthood undertook an initiative of defending the Holy Sepulcher on the land of Jesus Christ. In many historical works we deal with a complete rejection of the idea of the crusades. If it had not been for the crusades, would we have any opportunities to get to the souvenirs of Christian faith on that area? Let’s have a look at Tars, the city of St. Paul, where the crusades did not get to. Today in this city one can only ask the Turkish authorities to use a key to enter a temple of St. Apostle of the Nations. Maybe we would see similar conditions, when wandering across the Holy Land.
The ideas of the Crusades were mocked at by the French resolution, its creators and philosophers and this spirit has remained till today.
The picture of the Crusades can give us a lot of reflection today when it is necessary to undertake a fight for the cross in Europe. This is not a crusade any longer but a great intention of Christian believers, particularly the Catholics, to do everything so that the cross would return to Europe as a sign of Christian faith, from where it was removed. The cross includes rich theological and cultural content which gives believers in Christ sense of life, hope raising religious fervor, joy, and Christian ideas included in the teaching of Church can build the civilization of future.
Civilisation of life
Christian civilisation is the civilisation of life. It should enliven all action of the Europeans. The Gospel is a religious book giving believes inner content, particularly the one reminding them of moral principles, commandments of Decalogue, which are the basis for our social life. What is important here is family life. Church promotes family – a permanent community, following principles of mutual love and respect. In the Catholic family a woman has got a prominent place. Blessed Mary the Virgin, Mother of Jesus is the example of respect to every woman. Where a family is uncertain, where the ideal of family is distorted, like through the single-sex marriages, the purpose of social life is not fulfilled – giving birth to offspring. Suggesting various substitute actions, promoting in vitro, do not lead to normality of family life.
Beside that Christianity involves a duty of respect to every conceived life. This is not only a religious issue. A conceived human being has got all data to exist as a perfect being after the puberty in the bosom of the mother, birth and getting help from parents in development, upbringing and education. It is necessary to remind Europe that if it wants to maintain a normal development of national and social life, it should follow principles which are dictated by the natural law and Decalogue.
We are concerned about the action of many European countries which are going towards destroying the life of the human being through abortion and a family as the basic social cell. Some countries are also introducing the possibility of euthanasia – killing old and ill people even to their wish. This is something tragic that Europe accepts an ideology created by a godless person of all times, Włodzimierz Lenin, the creator of the world communism which was the reason for serious disasters of humankind.
What is astonishing is the fact that so many countries are accepting his atheistic ideas. This is a sign of a dangerous decadency of our continent. Certainly, promoters of this ideology today are often defending themselves from an accusation of using neo-Marxism and bolshevism in life but facts go without saying. Liberalism prevailing in Europe contradicts with neo-Marxism and atheistic principles and leads societies to moral anarchy in family and social life.
There is also a dangerous situation which is created by contemporary media, particularly the electronic ones. They do not usually undergo any control, and are in the hands of people having a lot of assets at disposal and can lead whole nations to self-destruction.
We are upset to say that Christian media do not have enough strength to succeed. Christians are not too weak, but do not have enough financial means. But it seems that first of all, they are not in solidarity with one another. We see that the leftist and the liberals can support each other and purse a definite fight for human life deprived of God. We are in a kind of lethargy.
God exists – according to the main assumption of the ‘Europa Christi’ movement. Christ also says: I do exist! I resurrected and I am with you! The idea of resurrection accompanies our Movement. It is the main motif to actions which are full of hope that Europe will return to Risen Christ.
For, He gives us the most beautiful vision of life, explaining that human life is changing but does not end, He gives us a perspective of eternity. Risen Christ enlivens human hope and purifies intentions for personal life and its social dimension.
In the structures of social life
The ‘Europa Christi’ includes a reviving power for the whole life of Europe nations and should enter the structures of the social life. For it gives sense to all human actions. First of all, it reminds Christian families and particular people that religion is a great adventure for the human being. Experiencing life with God is something unusual in his life, giving joy and the feeling of sense. Christian faith has a particular value in the life of ill, suffering people, experiencing tragedies and traumas. The man who does not believe in God, in eternal life, is also losing his self-confidence, his work becomes senseless, if the end of life is to be a grave or even incineration.
The ideas of the ‘Europa Christi’ movement are basic and show the perspective of every human life. This movement has got great possibilities for every man who is ambitious to help others. He is experiencing deep crisis and the tragedy of his existence, caused by atheistic, laic, godless and masonry movements which deprived people of God and are putting them into inner emptiness, despair and hopelessness, not offering anything else instead.
In this situation Europe must see its identity anew, indicated by the history of Christianity on our continent. As I mentioned, it was not only positive history. We were dealing with destruction, with destruction of morality, with savaging customs. It was proved by the world wars, which showed that the man deriving from the cultural background may become barbarian. It is proved by clear examples of Bolshevik Russia and Germany, where godless ideology did moral devastation and satanistic programs took possession of a lot of human hearts.
Therefore we must still remember and recall that beside evil and ugliness of devastation, in Europe we had real heroes and the saints who were building civilisation of love, introducing progress in technical, medical sciences and other areas of life. Achievements of the Europeans are unusual. Europe can be proud that it gave the ground for civilisational achievements of humankind. We, aware Christians, Catholics, believe that we cannot leave Europe in a situation of a severe spiritual illness, especially that we notice also a lot of good reviving trends. Activity of the Catholic Church is very significant for moral and spiritual development of Europe and its inhabitants.
The Second Vatican Council, initiated by St. John XXIII, undertook a great reform of Church which showed it as a modern institution. It reminded of Christ’s presence in the history of Church and humankind. The Vatican Council revived the Christian spirit and pointed to the missionary activity of Church. This Jesus’ command is undertaken by Church and all believers of Jesus Christ should consider this command.
The ‘Europa Christi’ movement wants to remind the Christians that they should consider the missionary spirit. It can revive hope and deepen consciousness expressed in the words: My life has sense in Risen Jesus. These are basic indications which the ‘Europa Christi’ movement wants to help the Christians realize.
Let’s think: on the Old Continent there are millions of us, Christians. These millions of European Christians let a small group of the atheists and liberals overcome them, allowing for imposing a pagan godless lifestyle. Whereas the man who loses God, becomes a lonely person, deprived of the most important purpose. We should not allow for it. A Christian is never lonely. He is full of faith, hope and love. Every member of the ‘Europa Christi’ movement is facing up a great evangelical task.
New ways of Europe
We are still looking for new roads to bring back Christ to the awareness of European Christians. Christ is God who is present. It is necessary to speak about the presence of Jesus in Eucharist. People who proclaim the Gospel are trying to convince others that Europe can be saved through adoration. Surely Christians must also return to everyday prayer. It is necessary to enliven the cult to the Holy Sacrament in our all parishes. Priests should become real missionaries of Jesus Christ – they were ordained priests for this purpose.
The ‘Europa Christi’ movement wants to support the activity of priests working in parishes, and also wants to give some outer opportunities, favourable to the evangelical activity.
Therefore it suggests summoning up national and international congresses which are supposed to raise particular initiatives for the sake of re-evangelization of our continent. We are creating ‘Europa Christi’ clubs in Europe. They are supposed to develop the knowledge of Christian culture and religious knowledge and undertake studies of various social, cultural, charity, educational actions as well as the ones which concern specific forms and activity of people wanting to do something good for themselves, for families or for their communities.
In Poland there are clubs of Catholic Intellectuals Club. Even at the times of the difficult communist period, they were playing a valuable social role. A similar role can be played by the ‘Europa Christi’ movements. They have great possibilities of action, inspired by ingenuity of people. They can realize their purposes in European countries and cooperate with priests in parishes. Taking care of purity of faith, they are able to undertake studies of problems of the contemporary humankind.
In Poland the ‘Europa Christi’ movement has got materials which were left for us by St. John Paul II during his pilgrimages to Homeland. The Polish Pope visited a lot of European countries and he left valuable and right clues there. I will remind his pilgrimages to France and the famous words: ‘France, what have you done with your baptism?’.
St. John Paul II as a patron of Europe
Therefore, as the ‘Europa Christi’ movement we are also undertaking action so that St. John Paul II would be proclaimed the patron of Europe. For nobody like him has considered the role of Christianity on this continent in the recent centuries. Moreover, his teaching concerning marriage and family life can become the subject of a deep reflection of the participants of the ‘Europa Christi’ clubs (see: ‘Familiaris consortio’).
Furthermore, we have a lot of materials suggested by Catholic press and publications which can be fully used by the ‘Europa Christi’ clubs.
So, we are facing a very important task. We are facing a „Europa Christi’ Congress held in October, which will be another reason for missionary activity of the movement. We ask Blessed Mother, who reigns at Jasna Góra in Częstochowa and who was present in establishing the ‘Europa Christi’ movement, to want to embrace this movement with Her Motherly care. So that Her words, addressed to Her Son in Cana of Galilee: ‘Do everything whatever my Son will tell you’ would be heard in Poland, in Europe and in the world, and become an inspiration for those who are undertaking the ideas of the ‘Europa Christi’ movement.
Fr. Inf. Ireneusz Skubiś
The Honourable Editor-in-Chief of the Catholic Weekly ‘Sunday’, a moderator of the ‘Europa Christi’ movement