Cardinal Ruini on Evangelizing Europe

A Review of an International Congress in Budapest
BUDAPEST, Hungary, SEPT. 24, 2007 ( Cardinal Camillo Ruini attended the International Congress on the New Evangelization as Benedict XVI’s special envoy.

It was the fifth evangelization congress to be hosted in a European capital since 2003. It concluded with a program of evangelization.

In this interview with Vatican Radio, Cardinal Ruini says that prayer is needed in order to relaunch the evangelization of Europe.

Q: What was your assessment of the conference? 

Cardinal Ruini: [I give it] a very positive assessment and an encouraging one I would say: It showed that the Church in Budapest is a living Church and the missionary spirit is profoundly present in the clergy and also in God’s people.

Q: What impressed you the most?

Cardinal Ruini: The fact that this mission took place in the capital of a state that belongs to former communist Europe, an area in which the Church was for a long time in conditions of great suffering. This public event — crowned by the presence of 15,000 people Thursday night at the outdoor Mass — is certainly a sign of great hope.

Q: How can we relaunch the evangelization of Europe?

Cardinal Ruini: Work needs to be done, above all, in the area of prayer, of personal witness, but also on the cultural level, so that European culture can rediscover its Christian roots.

Q: Are Christians at risk of becoming more and more marginalized on the old Continent?

Cardinal Ruini: There are, without a doubt, forces at work that tend to marginalize them, certain forces that are going in this direction. But, thanks to the Lord, there are also contrasting forces that reaffirm the importance of the Christian presence. I believe that European peoples are more aware of how important Christianity is, not only for the past, but for the present and for the future.

Q: How can we re-establish a fruitful dialogue between new currents of thought and the Christian faith?

Cardinal Ruini: This dialogue can be re-established — and it is already being re-established — around the fundamental problems that Europe is facing: problems of its identity, but also the problem of man, of what man is, of who man is, if man is only a piece of nature or is created in the image of God, if he has an inviolable dignity or not. I think that dialogue on these big questions is already under way.

Q: What are your hopes?

Cardinal Ruini: My hopes are that this missionary momentum, which began in Rome — we remember the citywide mission in Rome in 1996 and 1999, in preparation for the Great Jubilee, and then spread to many other Italian dioceses and now to five European capitals — will be a momentum that will spread through the entire Church in Europe, so that the new evangelization will not only be a principle that we affirm, but a reality that we live.


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