Italian Youth Ask for Change in Europe

Holy See Official Urges Them to Be Countercultural

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By Antonio Gaspari

STRASBOURG, France, OCT. 23, 2008 (Zenit.org).- A Holy See representative is encouraging youth to clear away the clouds covering Europe, and reopen the continent to transcendent values.

This was the invitation made by Monsignor Aldo Giordano, the Holy See's permanent observer to the Council of Europe. The monsignor was speaking to some 300 Italian youth who are this year's winners of a contest organized by the Italian Movement for Life.

The theme of the '07-'08 contest was "Europe and Human Rights: We Youth as Protagonists." It brought the participation of some 22,000 high school and university students.

The young winners participated Wednesday in a Mass celebrated by Monsignor Giordano. During the homily, he told them, "It seems a closed, gray and cloudy sky has extended over Europe. An open, blue sky cannot be seen. It seems a gaze toward eternity, toward paradise, is lacking."

"Our faith," the Holy See representative continued, "urges us to seek the mystery, the beauty and the truth that gives meaning to life. Unfortunately, Europe […] seems to lack the courage to seek solutions beyond materialist proposals. Perhaps because of this, the number of suicides among youth is increasing."

Monsignor Giordano affirmed that "the Resurrection is what makes our life eternal, proving that love is stronger than death." The priest concluded with an invitation to responsibility, stating that Christians are called to do something great, beautiful and true during their pilgrimage on earth.

Speaking up

That same day, the young winners gathered to debate and vote on a document that will be sent to all European Members of Parliament and Italian schools.

The document calls for the rejection of abortion, the destruction of embryos and euthanasia, and urges the recognition of Christian roots so as to defend religious liberty and stop religious persecution.

The final text highlights that "every life is worthy of existing and always has a maximum value." It affirms that every member of the human species has a right to be valued, "regardless of age, health, riches, social condition or nationality."

The youth denounced the paradox that Europe, after promoting the concept of human rights, permits "widespread abortion, the destructive use of human embryos for the purpose of experimentation, and euthanasia in certain countries."

The document supports a U.N. moratorium on the death penalty, but contends that abortion is like the death penalty for the unborn.

Regarding family life and marriage, the final text urges measures in culture, economics and society so as to consolidate, sustain and promote the family bond, as expressed between a man and a woman.

The document concludes by urging Europe to defend religious liberty and requests that the European Union use its weight to defend "the freedom of all religions," and especial to preserve the roots and culture of Christian civilization.