06 May 2006, 10:56
Moscow Patriarchate and Vatican representatives appeal to people in Europe
Vienna, May 6, Interfax – Representatives of the Russian Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches have appealed to the faithful of various traditions and to political and public leaders in European countries to foster the moral foundations of life.
‘Today as never before, European countries need to foster moral education since its absence or inadequacy can lead to disastrous consequences such as growth of all kinds of extremism, decline of the birth rate, pollution of the environment, violence, and humiliation of human dignity’, states the final document of the Conference To Give a Soul to Europe. The Mission and Responsibility of the Churches’, which completed its work on Friday in Vienna.
The participants in the conference are convinced that ‘the principle of moral responsibility, just as the principle of freedom, should be consistently embodied in all spheres of human life: politics, economy, education, science, culture and the mass media’.
The document notes that basic ethical norms are common to the vast majority of religions, and ‘the religious worldview has become today a free choice of millions of people’.
In this connection, the Orthodox and Catholic leaders expressed the opinion that ‘traditional religious organizations have the right to work with all people of good will in the fields of culture, science, education and the media’.
The representatives of the two Churches who took part in the work of the conference are convinced that ‘without the inspiration of profound moral principles characteristic of our two European religious traditions and of many secular schools of thought, Europeans will not be able to properly meet the challenges facing the modern world’.
The Vienna forum was organized by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations with support of the Pro Oriente foundation. It was attended by Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Council, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad and other religious and public leaders as well as religious experts.