Our “Yes” to Europe

Our “Yes” to Europe

Since its inception 18 years ago the mandate of Together for Europe has been to work for the unity of God’s people. The second mandate is the social dimension of Together for Europe. This mandate is presented with a new challenge today in view of the current crisis in Europe, namely to live constructive, long-term “togetherness” in cultural and national diversity in Europe.

Unity is possible

At the Congress of Together for Europe in 2007 Br Franziskus stated that “Unity and diversity have the same origin.” [1]  Piero Coda said something very similar: “If God is Trinity, unity and diversity are not only not a contradiction but also of the very same origin.” [2]  From the very beginning we identified with an image of unity which explicitly acknowledges and affirms the diversity given to us by God. Smoothing over differences endangers identity and can lead to unity in diversity being destroyed in both political and ecclesial circles.

Unity in reconciled diversity

Because of the many divisions between individuals, Churches and peoples, a reconciliation of opposites is needed to reach a reconciled unity in diversity which also applies to cultural diversity. Reconciliation is needed, rather than condemnation and exclusion.  This removes the stumbling blocks along the path towards the future because it removes what poisoned our relationships in the past, so that the stranger, the person who is different is no longer seen a threat but as a gift.  As people reconciled in diversity, we experience the richness of diversity. Jesus in the midst is the one who unites. He gives us strength and hope for unity in reconciled diversity because Jesus Christ has reconciled the world with God.

 “Togetherness” lived as a prophetic sign

Our togetherness in Europe is lived out in practice through our relationships with one another.  We set out towards others.  “Togetherness” in Europe allows new relationships to be formed, fosters reconciliation and builds a future. It allows something of God’s nature to be revealed by bringing about unity.  It is therefore a prophetic sign.

Prayer brings about change

Prayer is part of Together for Europe’s mission. We do not want to deprive this Europe of our prayers.  Prayer brings about change.  It changes us, it changes the atmosphere in our own country and in Europe, it changes people’s hearts.

Our hope and our “Yes” to Europe

We are committed to Europe because we have understood this as God’s mandate for us. We say a decisive “Yes” to a Europe of unity as well as cultural and national diversity thereby revealing to us a positive image of Europe. We commit ourselves to a culture of “togetherness” based on Christian faith.  Our hope for Europe is expressed in 5 “Yeses”.

We say “Yes” to a Europe of reconciliation

A new Europe has emerged from the miracle of reconciliation following the catastrophe of two World Wars.  We receive the power of reconciliation from our Christian faith which enables historical wounds to be healed and leads to “togetherness” in diversity.

We say “Yes” to a Europe of unity in diversity

We recognize that we are enriched by diversity. Multiplicity and diversity have the same roots. Both need to balance each other out.  We are glad about those who are different and their charisms.  This interplay of charisms serves towards the unity of God’s people and the unity of Europe.  We advocate a federal Europe. We treat different backgrounds and perspectives with respect and appreciation.

We say “Yes” to a Europe of encounter, dialogue and peace

Mutual understanding grows from encounters. This is one of our main experiences in Together for Europe.  We say “Yes” to a Europe that seeks dialogue and chooses the path of negotiating for different interests.  The process of the unification of Europe and the EU gave us 70 years of peace within Europe. Anyone who over-emphasizes national interests will evoke the nationalist demons and will lead the way to the destruction of Europe.  Anyone who denies national identity, denies diversity and makes it impossible for a European community to be formed.  We encourage open political dialogue which promotes a peaceful Europe.

We say “Yes” to a Europe of mercy and humanity.

Christianity has shaped the history of Europe. It is a faith that is open to the world. Humanity and mercy flow from Jesus Christ, crucified and forsaken and are shaping the continent and both are manifested in an unconditional “Yes” to life, “Yes” to marriage and family, “Yes” to the poor and needy.

Europe is more than the Euro, more than a market economy. We therefore advocate a Europe based on its Christianity-Judaic heritage where openness towards those who think differently and live by a different faith is the norm. This is how the “soul” of Europe is being strengthened.

We say “Yes” to a Europe which over the course of history has been called by God [3]:

Its mission is to foster the collaboration between heaven and earth, to impregnate the world with faith, because heaven and earth have met in the Crucified One. Our mission for Europe also entails responsibility for Africa and the Middle East.

The living God has entrusted a lot to our “togetherness” which is why we want to publicly express our “Yes” to Europe in our movements.

Gerhard Proß, Meeting of ‘friends’ of TfE, Vienna, November 2017 (abridged version)

 

[1] “Together on the journey” ISBN 978-3-00-022045-6, Br. Franziskus Jöst at the 2007 T4E Congress in Stuttgart, p. 21

[2] Piero Coda in “Christian Culture in one Europe” by Hanspeter Heinz [Hrsg], p. 33

[3] P. Lothar Penners at the European meeting of friends in 2016 in Castel Gandolfo with reference to Pater Kentenich

 

 

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