Europe, no longer Christian according to President of the French Bishops' Conference

 "Only a part of the cultural heritage".

According to the President of the French Bishops' Conference, the Christian faith is being massively questioned today, even in Europe. He explained this to the faithful at the Mass in Honour of Blessed Charlemagne in Frankfurt Cathedral on Saturday evening.

"It no longer gives the majority of people in our countries a basis for their lives, their actions, for weighing decisions, for their ideas about the world," said Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort of Rheims on Saturday evening, according to a sermon distributed in advance at the traditional Mass in Honour of Blessed Charlemagne in Frankfurt Cathedral.

For many people in Europe, the Christian faith is "only part of the cultural heritage", and only a few are still intent on seeking in faith "a living source", said de Moulins-Beaufort (60). The words of Jesus may still touch people, but often "only like a passing feeling".

Church as a "relic of the past"

Across the European continent, the Church is "no longer the mother that enables people to live in the Spirit", said the Bishops' Conference president. "It no longer offers provides the resources of meaning, consolation and commitment that compensate for their own inadequacies."

To many, the Church is seen "as a relic of the past" and is seen as more of a nuisance. The Catholic Church even appears to many people "as a disturbing force whose social usefulness is largely diminished by the hitherto covered-up crimes committed within it".

Mass in honour of Charlemagne

Looking at the congregation gathered in the cathedral, the Archbishop asked, "Can we not recognise that we are in a period of purification, so that the Gospel may reappear as the fire that renews our ideas about the world?" In this way, he said, the Church can once again become the place "where an unexpected measure of freedom" and a deep joy can be experienced. The Catholic Church in today's Europe can no longer be the force that unites the inhabitants. Rather, it resembles a "small, humble remnant that nevertheless becomes the bearer of a promise for all humanity".

The service in Saint Bartholomew's Cathedral in honour of Charlemagne (c. 748 to 814) has been held since 1332. Every year on the last Saturday in January, the Catholic Church in Frankfurt commemorates Emperor Charlemagne, who died on 28 January 814. He is revered as the founding father of Europe and is the Patron Saint of the City of Frankfurt and the Imperial cathedral.