The theme of this gathering in L’viv : “Human dignity, security and the future of Europe: Christian Contribution”, is most welcome as we have to confront the so-called post-truth environment that is sweeping our countries. For Christians, the most dangerous aspect of the post-truth phenomenon is its subversively stealthy nature. Individual and group resentments and insecurities are coopted into fronts of culture wars. Intentionally manipulated semi-factual or fabricated facts seemingly resonate with core Catholic values that can appeal to many Christians of both the Western and Eastern traditions. Identity – personal and national – is inseparable from the dignity assigned by the Creator, but at the same time we must make it clear that notions of superiority of a race, a nation or a religion are a deceitful distortion.
While acknowledging that ethics and morality are not exclusively Christian, that the secular world has its place and that globalization is here to stay, we remain challenged to exemplify Christian values and virtues in the spirit of the Gospel. The reformist and most ecumenical Vatican Council of the past century offers valuable material. Among them Gaudiam et Spes (on the Church in the modern world), Unitatis Redintegratio (on ecumenism) and its kin Orientalium Ecclesiarum (on the integrity of the tradition of Eastern Catholic Churches), Dignitatis Humanae and its companion Nostra Aetate (on religious freedom and relationships to non-Christian faiths, respectively) need to be studied and brought to bear in the context of today’s needs.
Pax Romana and OBNOVA have experienced remarkable leaders. To my mind comes the late Edward J. Kirchner whom I have known personally, former president of the Pax Romana World Federation and U.S. diplomat in the post-war period, who was instrumental in reshaping the movement after the Second World War; and the late Mykola Chubatyj, a professor of the institution now called Ukrainian Catholic University, who chaired the Pax Romana Pro-Oriente Secretariat before WW II. It is of existential importance for us to come together for Europe’s future by thinking critically of events and in the spirit of the Gospel to seek a better path forward.
My prayers are for healing like the ointment of myrrh with which the priest anoints after the Divine Liturgy on major feasts to remind us that Christ is among us. To this we all say: “He is and will be” forever. May this gathering be the attestation.