Hope is antidote to 'virus' of depression in Europe, says Cardinal Meisner


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Cologne, Germany, Sep 12, 2009 / 12:57 am (CNA).- The Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, said this week that hope is the only antidote that can save Europe from the "virus" of collective depression and that only Christians can attain it, after discovering their own identity.

The cardinal made his comments during Mass in the German town of Essen, which is celebrating the 1200th anniversary of the death of St. Ludgerus, the first bishop of Munster.

He said it was essential "to always return to the roots of faith in Christ," because "the world needs Christians who are capable of living out their own faith and that words follow actions." In order to carry out this mission in all areas of life, he added, "we need to know first of all what we are proclaiming and what we are bearing witness to."

Pointing to the example of St. Ludgerus, Cardinal Meisner underscored the importance of Christianity for Western culture amidst the threats from secular society.

In addition to the need to defend life and the family, Europe must promote "religious freedom, because it is the foundation and guarantor of man's rights and of tolerance."

"Our times are filled with religiosity but empty of faith in God. And we Christians are no exception! The lack of knowledge of Christ is clear," he said, noting that Christians are unable to give a reason for their faith "at work, in schools and at universities, where nobody can take a competent stand against the heresies and attacks on the faith, because many simply no longer know their catechism."