While possessed of increased resources, [Europe] gives the impression of lacking the energy needed to sustain a common project and to give its citizens new reasons for hope.
– Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia In Europa of His Holiness Pope John Paul II, 28 June 2003
The basic question [for Europe] is: Who is man? And with it also the question if there is a Creator or if we are all only products of [one’s own] making. The following alternative arises: man is either created by God in His image and likeness, and is a gift of God, or he is a ‘product’ created by himself. When we renounce the idea of Creation, we renounce the greatness of man; we renounce his unavailability and his dignity, which is above all planning.
– Pope Benedict XVI, Introduction, La vera Europa. Identità e missione, Siena 2021
Europe is facing a syndemic health, economic, environmental political and spiritual crisis.
Pandemic is a symptom of a syndemic: an interconnected crisis of public health, inequalities, environmental degradation, loss of legitimacy of the political institutions, rooted in a profound moral and spiritual crisis. “Globalization, financialization of the economy, new technologies, multiculturalism, heightened social inequalities, conflicts of identity; environmental issues. Faced with these new challenges, merely updating old ways of thinking or resorting to collective forms of decision making, however refined they may be, will simply not fit the bill. We need to be more daring, to come up with more innovative solutions.” (S. Zamagni)
While many political and economic leaders might feel complacent and want to believe that the crisis has come to an end, neither the pandemic nor the crisis of trust in the European institutions are over. Political leaders construct their responses to these crises with an eye on the next election rather than tackling the problems facing future generations. We stand in need of overcoming short-termism. (S. Zamagni)