“One of the advantages of living in Europe is that I get birthday greetings from the German president, Wulff, and the Spanish prime minister, Rajoy, neither of whom I know. After being at each other’s throats for years in fratricidal wars, we’re now all culturally European. […]

That’s the way it is. Back when Pope Wojtyla was still alive, there was much discussion on whether they should accept the European constitution and the continent’s Christian roots. Secular people predominated and they did nothing about it. The church protested. There was however a third way, more difficult, but one that would give us strength today.

And that would have been to speak of the constitution of all our roots – the Greek-Roman, the Judaic and the Christian. In our past, we have both Venus and the crucifix, the Bible and Nordic mythology, which we remember with Christmas trees, or with the many festivals of St Lucy, St Nicolas and Santa Claus. Europe is a continent that was able to fuse many identities, and yet not confuse them.

That is precisely how I see its future. As for religion: be careful. Many people who no longer go to church end up falling prey to supersitition. And many who are non-practising still carry around a little saint card with a picture of Padre Pio in their wallets! […]

And since Pierre Bayard is right, we know there are books we have yet to read that will help us reflect on cultures different from our own. Little by little: that is how our European identity will become more profound.” And the original interview

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