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Cultural Routes: Card. Bagnasco (CCEE) at the Council of Europe, “an opportunity also for the Catholic Church”

(Strasbourg) In his speech at the Conference on CoE Cultural Routes in Strasbourg, Cardinal Bagnasco shared a reflection on the EU integration process. Notably, economic integration has contributed to the establishment of “peace and unity between the continent’s nations” and “it has advanced the veritable progress of its peoples. However we are increasingly aware that this is not enough. In fact, economic integration, if poorly regulated, can become a source of new, insidious conflicts. Similarly, the idea of strengthening unity through the adoption of common standards and rules, is insufficient. Europe is a community comprising diverse peoples and cultures that share a common historical heritage in which Christianity played a decisive role. In fact Europe is a community of destiny, and the future of its integration entails the ability to promote dialogue between the cultures that make up Europe in a creative way, open to the future.”. The CCEE President remarked: “I wish to add that cultural routes are an opportunity also for the Catholic Church. By her universal nature, the Church is endowed with the vocation to bring together unity and diversity. We know well the value of local realities, the attachment to our lands, whose identity Christian communities are often the guardians of.”
“From time to time this rootedness can expose us to the risk of being closed within ourselves. Hence going out, starting a journey, is healthful! It is no coincidence”, Bagnasco went on, “that the pilgrimage experience has characterized the life of so many saints – let is suffice to mention Francis of Assisi and Ignatius of Loyola – and that it was undertaken in many historical periods by young people in particular, as a call to step outside the ordinary, outside the bounds of banality, to aim high and take all risks for the Gospel.” “At general level, we firmly believe that Holy See’s accession to the Partial Agreement will offer more than an original contribution to the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe. First of all, it will provide a propitious opportunity to strengthen the involvement of Catholic institutions: parishes, dioceses, religious institutes, in the enhancement of the Routes, through the promotion of cultural initiatives, Catholic accommodation, through care for the dimension of hospitality and spiritual accompaniment of tourists and pilgrims in the many religious sites located along the path of the various Routes.”

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