Faith in Europe?

 I feel greatly privileged to have played a part in arranging the 'Faith in Europe?' lecture series at Westminster Cathedral in the Spring of 2005. Readers will understand therefore my enthusiasm for the book containing the Lectures recently published by Darton, Longman and Todd for less than £10.

As Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor said in response to a question at one of the lectures, he was pleased that the title of the series itself deliberately prompted debate, questioning and reflection on two facets of life in Europe - the political dimension, which is surely larger than the European Union as we know it, and the faith dimension, intimately linked to what Europe is and what it is called to be. Indeed, the Cardinal's inspired decision to invite leading statespeople and spiritual leaders to speak on different facets of this question sprang out of Pope John Paul II's own concern that Europe needs to rediscover and 'relive' its Christian roots.

In less than 95 readable and re-readable pages this book offers remarkable insights, fascinating viewpoints and astonishing facts and figures. We can almost hear the impassioned words of Jean Vanier on what it takes to become more human, or Bob Geldof on the scandalous protectionism that keeps Africa poor. We can learn much from the political wisdom and experience of Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, and Lord Patten of Barnes. We can be challenged by Timothy Radcliffe's sober reflections on Christianity in Europe; and gain new confidence and hope in God's grace from the Cardinal's considerations on the Church in Europe. I am pleased that although the lectures had a large audience, the book will have a much larger one. I recommend it.

ISBN 0-232-52630-3 £9.95

first posted LONDON - 1 November 2005 - 292 words

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