Pope Francis encourages Europeans to keep their family, community and national roots strong in the face of looming crisis

Pope Francis suggested on Wednesday that freedom has come under threat in Europe, as many people are now choosing individualism and consumerism over building families and improving their communities, per the Catholic News Agency. Francis’ statements come just a few days after he suggested that he was part of a secret mission to bring peace to Ukraine amid the ongoing conflict in the area.

Francis noted that “freedom is under threat” that utilizes a “consumerism that anesthetizes, where one is content with a little material well-being and, forgetting the past, one ‘floats’ in a present made to the measure of the individual.”

“This is the dangerous persecution of modernity that advances consumerism.” 

He continued: “But when the only thing that counts is thinking about oneself and doing what one likes, the roots suffocate. This is a problem throughout Europe, where dedicating oneself to others, community feeling, the beauty of dreaming together, and creating large families are in crisis. All of Europe is in crisis.”

Francis went on to mention to his audience that it is important to maintain roots in family and community, “because only by going deep will the branches grow upwards and bear fruit.” He continued by reflecting on his recent trip to Budapest, Hungary, where he noted that the Christian way had been tested throughout the 20th century, per the report.

He suggested that the Christian faith “has been tested by fire,” citing the atheistic persecution of believers throughout the 1900s, adding that “Christians were struck down violently, with bishops, priests, religious, and laypeople killed or deprived of their freedom.”

Francis said: “In Hungary, this latest persecution, the communist oppression was preceded by the Nazi oppression, with the tragic deportation of a large Jewish population.”

“But in that atrocious genocide, many distinguished themselves by their resistance and their ability to protect the victims; and this was possible because the roots of living together were firm.” 

“Thus the common bonds of faith and people helped the return of freedom.”

The pope went on to mention Hungary’s devotion to St. Stephen to the Virgin Mary, saying: “Consecrated to her by the first king, St. Stephen, they used to address her without pronouncing her name, out of respect, calling her only by the titles of Queen.”

“To the Queen of Hungary, therefore, we entrust that dear country; to the Queen of Peace, we entrust the building of bridges in the world; to the Queen of Heaven, whom we acclaim at this Easter time, we entrust our hearts that they may be rooted in the love of God.”

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