Skip to main content
Read page text

Joseph Pearce Why Evelyn Waugh loved the Old Mass

FEATURE, PAGE 8

Newt Gingrich America’s next Catholic president?

PROFILE, PAGE 9

Stuart Reid A cardinal’s odd edict on trousers CHARTERHOUSE, PAGE 20

No. 6537

CatholicHerald.co.uk

December 16 2011 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)

Chief Rabbi: Jews and Christians must unite to save Europe’s soul

BY ED WEST

EUROPE has lost its soul and it is up to Christians and Jews to save it from disintegration, the British Chief Rabbi has said in a speech at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

During a two-day visit to Italy Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks gave a powerful address at the Cardinal Bea Centre for Judaic Studies in which he said that just as “the political leaders of Europe come together to try to save the euro”, the religious leaders must do so for Europe’s soul.

Looking at the crisis afflicting markets across the world, he said that the market economy and democratic capitalism had their roots in a “Judeo-Christian heritage, and market economics was originally intended to advance those values”.

He cited the “extraordinary” improvement in Catholic-Jewish relations since the 1960s, which he called “one of the most dramatic transformations in the religious history of humankind”. He said that after half a century of dialogue it was time to “move on to a new phrase”.

He said: “For the task ahead of us is not between Jews and Catholics, or even Jews and Christians in general, but between Jews and Christians on the one hand, and the increasingly, even aggressively secularising forces at work in Europe today on the other, challenging and even ridiculing our faith.

“If Europe loses the Judeo-Christian heritage that gave it its historic identity and its greatest achievements in literature, art, music, education, politics, and as we will see, economics, it will lose its identity and its greatness, not immediately, but before this century reaches its end.”

The Chief Rabbi, the spiritual leader of the largest synagogue

The Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks shows Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Kurt Koch a leather-bound copy of the Koren Sacks Siddur, a prayerbook he edited himself CNS

congregation in Britain, said: “When a civilisation loses its faith, it loses its future. When it recovers its faith, it recovers its future. For the sake of our children, and their children not yet born, we – Jews and Christians, side by side – must renew our faith and its prophetic voice. We must help Europe recover its soul.”

Arguing that Christianity had made possible Europe’s cultural,

political and military pre-eminence, and that the Jewish contribution to the Judeo-Christian civilisation had been immense due to the Bible, the Chief Rabbi added that “the financial state of Europe would be better today if people knew their Bible”.

That Judeo-Christian tradition had created a society with “a deep biblical respect for the dignity of the human individual”, a “biblical respect for property rights”, and a biblical respect for labour,” he said.

“So the market economy and modern capitalism emerged in Judeo-Christian Europe and not in other cultures like China that were more advanced in other ways. The religious ethic was one of the driving forces of this once new form of wealth creation,” Lord Sacks said.

During the visit the Chief Rabbi, who met Pope Benedict XVI during the papal visit to Britain last year,

presented the Holy Father with a leather-bound copy of the Koren Sacks Siddur, a Jewish prayerbook. The two leaders discussed the role of faith and the economic and social regeneration of Europe.

In his address on the same day Lord Sacks said that liberal democracy and capitalism could not survive without religion, for “the most profound truth of the JudeoChristian ethic” was in internalising ethics, so that “good conduct was not dependent on governments, laws, police, inspectorates, regulatory bodies, civil courts and legal penalties. It was dependent on the still, small voice of God within the human heart.”

But without this, societies “where self-interest trumps the common good eventually disintegrate. That is why societies at the peak of affluence have usually already begun on the downward slope to decline. The 14th-century Islamic thinker Ibn Khaldun argued that when a civilisation becomes great, its elites get used to luxury and comfort, and the people as a whole lose their asabiyah, their social solidarity.

“Those who believe that liberal democracy and the free market can be defended by the force of law and regulation alone, without an internalised sense of duty and morality, are tragically mistaken.”

Lord Sacks said that consumerism was “sapping our moral strength” so that “the consumer society turns out to be a highly efficient system for the creation and distribution of unhappiness”.

The Chief Rabbi said that the healthy ecology of a society depended on preserving the Sabbath, the family, education and the law itself.

“Today, in a Europe more secular than it has been since the last days of pre-Christian Rome, the culprits are an aggressive scientific atheism tone deaf to the music of faith. A reductive materialism blind to the power of the human spirit.

“What can we do, we who, because we have faith in God, have faith in God’s faith in humankind? There is a significant phrase that Pope Benedict XVI has often used: ‘creative minority’. If there is one thing Jews know how to be it is a creative minority. So my proposal is that Jews and Catholics should seek to be creative minorities together. A duet is more powerful than a solo.

“We should use this moment of recession to restore to their rightful place in society the things that have value but not a price: marriage, the family, home, dedicated time between parents and children, faceto-face friendships that make up community... and a willingness to share some of God’s blessings with those who have less. These are the true sources of lasting happiness.”

Pope confirms that he will travel to Cuba and Mexico next spring BY CINDY WOODEN AND CAROL GLATZ

AT A MASS celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe Pope Benedict XVI confirmed that he will be travelling to Mexico and Cuba next year.

During his homily in St Peter’s Basilica the Pope prayed that God would guide the decisions of the Latin American people so they could make progress in “building a society based on the development of good, the triumph of love and the expansion of justice”.

The Pope added that he intended “to make an apostolic trip to Mexico and Cuba before Easter to proclaim the word of Christ and to strengthen the conviction that this is a precious time to evangelise with a steady faith, a lively hope and an ardent charity”. The trip will take place between March 23 and 29.

In addition to marking the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the

Americas, the Pope’s Mass marked the bicentennials of many Latin American countries, which gained their independence between 1810 and 1825. The Pope said he could not let the anniversaries pass without demonstrating “the joy of the Church for the many gifts which God, in his infinite goodness, has bestowed on these beloved nations throughout these years”.

Meanwhile, the bishops of Cuba announced that 2012 would be a Marian jubilee year and that Pope Benedict XVI would visit as a “pilgrim of charity”, a reference to the Virgin of Charity of El Cobre, the country’s patroness.

In a pastoral letter they declared a jubilee year from January 7 2012 to January 6 2013 and said Cubans needed the joy of faith, the strength of Christian love, and the light of hope that can come from “a reunion with our Christian roots”. Editorial Comment: Page 13

Composer appointed to Pontifical Council

BY CAROL GLATZ

US CARDINAL Donald Wuerl of Washington, a Portuguese poet, a Spanish architect, two astrophysicists, a Belgian journalist and a curator at the Vatican Museums have been named by Pope Benedict XVI to advise the Pontifical Council for Culture.

For the first time since 1993, religious and lay men – not just cardinals and bishops – were also named full members of the council. The new lay members are French philosopher and writer Jean-Luc Marion and Estonian composer Arvo Pärt.

Eleven new advisers were named to the council, including Fr Antonio Spadaro, editor of the Jesuit journal Civiltà Cattolica, and Bruno Coppi, a professor of plasma physics.

Catholic headmistress kidnapped by parents BY ED WEST

PARENTS at a Catholic school in France took a headmistress and four other members of staff hostage last week to try and get a “tyrant” teacher sacked.

Police were forced to intervene at Notre-Dame de Caderot school in Berre l’Etang, near Marseilles, after 15 parents occupied the site.

One parent said: “More generally, we want to see a huge improvement in standards, because at the moment our children are not getting a good enough education.

“We have taken a few hostages, but our children have been held hostage at this school for months. The teacher concerned is a tyrant – he treats pupils abominably. He rants and raves at our kids, causing them psychological problems.”

INSIDE

Abbot Aidan Bellenger We’ll grow to love the new translation PAGE 9

Jill, Duchess of Hamilton In the Holy Land even altar wine is political PAGE 12

%5 1 1 12 )22 $$1%22 .23#.$% %-#+.2% 9 9 9 3(%1 9 3. (%+/ ')5% ! (1)23)!- %$4#!3).- 3. 4$!-:2 #()+$1%%-#+.2% ! #(%04% 3. )$ 3. 3(% (41#( )- %%$ /+%!2% $%")3 ,8 !23%1 !1$ ,%7 !%231. )'-!341% 231)/ #.$% +!23 "+.#* .& $)')32 7/)18 !3% !+)$ 1., !3% 224% . !%231. )'-!341% +%!2% 2%-$ ,% ! )&3 .& !)3( ')&3 #!1$

$. -.3 6)2( 3. 1%#%)5% )-&.1,!3).- !".43 )$ 3. 3(% (41#( )- %%$

! 1%')23%1%$ #(!1)38 )- -'+!-$ !-$ !+%2 !-$ #.3+!-$

My Bookmarks


Skip to main content