Europe, humanist and Christian base

Europe, humanist and Christian base

How are these ideals Christian?

At the end of the war, society was organized around the two main forces of resistance to Nazism: communism and Christianity. What unites Christians, on the right and on the left, is their vision of the world and of man. For them, the reconstruction of the continent is not only material, but also moral and spiritual.

Who are these “rebuilders”?

First women: Jacqueline Fleury-Marié, who joined the resistance at the age of 20, was tortured, then deported to Ravensbrück; Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz, also deported, then co-founder of ATD Quart-Monde with Father Joseph Wresinski; or Odile de Vasselot de Régné, still alive (101 years old)! This woman tirelessly testified in favor of Franco-German reconciliation. His motto says it all: “Never give up.” Among the men, Edmond Michelet and Georges Bidault also played a key role.

Names almost unknown today…

However, Edmond Michelet, a great Christian, was one of the first to engage against the Nazis in 1940. Deported to Dachau, he joined the provisional government as Minister of the Armed Forces in 1945. As for Georges Bidault, founder of the Republican Movement popular (MRP), he succeeded Jean Moulin at the head of the Resistance, before becoming Minister of Foreign Affairs. In fact, these great French names of the Resistance and reconstruction have been eclipsed by the three Catholic figures who brought Europe to the baptismal font: the Frenchman Robert Schuman (1886-1963), declared venerable by Pope Francis; the Italian Alcide de Gasperi (1881-1954); and the German Konrad Adenauer (1876-1967). Founder of the CDU, the largest Christian Democratic party in Europe, the latter was the architect of German recovery and European advent. Without the deep faith that animated him, it is not certain that all this would have been achieved in barely five years!

Why does Europe seem so disembodied these days? Has she lost her soul?

The post-war period was a period of turmoil where Christians played a key role in all areas: thought with theologians Yves Congar and Henri de Lubac, writers Jacques Maritain and François Mauriac; the social with the creation of Emmaüs and ATD Quart-Monde; the media with The world whose founder, Hubert Beuve-Méry, is steeped in social Catholicism, or even the Good Press (Pilgrim , The cross …). But at the same time, the vast movement of dechristianization began which still continues today. The successive enlargements of the EU, the economic crises and the shift of the center of gravity of the planet towards the South and Asia are leading to increasingly fragmented world views.

However, you met some heirs of the founding fathers…

The German diplomat Joachim Bitterlich, former advisor to Chancellor Helmut Kohl, reminded me how deeply Christian this pillar of German Christian democracy and architect of the euro was. He placed values ​​above everything else. For Enrico Letta, head of the Italian government between 2013 and 2014, the Christian Democratic movement no longer carries any electoral weight. But it retains an essential influence in political culture.

How can he still influence?

With the emergence of leaders like Putin, Xi Jinping, Donald Trump or Javier Milei, just elected in Argentina, violence is less and less contained. Faced with the weakening of democracies, the Christian-democratic ideals at the origin of Europe are once again becoming a strong posture. There is a real need for humanism – Christian or secular – in our societies. In every moment of crisis, Christians are a recourse. A humanizing force!

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