Apa yang Menghimpit Gereja di Eropa?

Paus Yohanes Paulus II juga mempunyai keprihatinan yang sama dengan keprihatinan Anda. Dalam surat Ekshortasi Apostoliknya yang berjudul Ecclesia in Europa (Gereja di Eropa) ia menuliskan juga menurunnya kehidupan rohani jemaat di Eropa (dan juga di negar-negara barat lainnya). ilakan klik di link ini untuk memba!a ringkasannya. "anyak orang hidup dalam kebingungan# tidak pasti dan tidak berpengharapan# $alaupun se!ara jasmani tampak tidak berkekurangan. %alaupun di &aman dahulu benua Eropa dikenal dengan simbol-simbol kehadiran agama 'risten# kini simbol-simbol tersebut teran!am hilang dan menjadi bekas jejak di masa lalu. ebabnya menurut Paus adalah adanya kemajuan sekularisme yang terus menekan dan mengan!am kehidupan iman 'ristiani. ekularisme adalah suatu pandangan yang menekankan perkembangan (isik# moral# intelektual manusia sebagai titik tertinggi# terlepas dari pertimbangan religius. Dengan adanya kemajuan sekularisme ini# banyak orang mengalami kesulitan untuk menerapkan nilai-nilai Injil ke dalam kehidupan sehari-hari. Dengan dipisahkannya nilai-nilai iman dengan kehidupan sehari- hari# maka orang mengusahakan kemajuan )isi manusia terpisah dari )isi *uhan. Pandangan sekularisme menempatkan manusia di pusat realitas kehidupan# menggantikan tempat *uhan. +anusia mulai beranggapan bah$a kebenaran-pun ditentukan oleh manusia# dan bukan oleh *uhan. Di sini timbul ide relati)isme# segalanya relati( sebab tergantung dari pandangan manusia# yang bisa berbeda antara satu orang dan lainnya. +anusia mulai lupa bah$a bukan manusia yang men!iptakan *uhan# tapi sebaliknya *uhanlah yang men!iptakan manusia. "udaya Eropa yang mengagungkan manusia sebagai pusat dunia# terpisah dari *uhan# membuat mereka hidup seolaholah *uhan tidak ada. Inilah yang disebut sebagai ,silent apostasy-. (kesesatan total se!ara diamdiam). *erhadap sikap ini Paus Yohanes Paulus II berseru# mengutip kitab %ahyu# /"angunlah# dan kuatkanlah apa yang masih tinggal yang sudah hampir mati0 (%hy 123). Gereja di Eropa diserukan untuk bangkit dan bertumbuh dalam keyakinan bah$a *uhan melalui 4oh 'udus-5ya selalu hadir dan tetap berkarya di tengah sejarah manusia# dan *uhan membuat Gereja-5ya sebagai aliran kehidupan yang terus mengalir menjadi tanda pengharapan bagi semua orang. 6ara-!ara yang perlu dilakukan# menurut Paus adalah2 7) 4e-e)angelisasi (penginjilan kembali) di Eropa# bahkan kepada mereka yang sudah dibaptis# sebab de$asa ini banyak orang beranggapan bah$a mereka telah mengenal iman 'ristiani# tetapi kenyataannya mereka sebenarnya tidak tahu apa-apa. eringnya mereka bahkan kurang. tidak tahu elemen yang paling mendasar di dalam iman. +ereka melakukan de)osi tapi tidak mengerti dasarnya. Dasar yang tidak kuat ini membuat orang semakin mudah terpengaruh oleh agnosti!isme dan atheisme (tidak mengakui agama dan tidak mengakui *uhan). +aka orang- orang 'risten dipanggil agar kembali menghayati imannya# iman yang se!ara kritis dapat menja$ab tantangan &aman dan menolak segala godaan# yang memberikan pengaruh kepada keadaan dunia -dalam hal budaya# sosial# politik# dst- yang mempraktekkan bah$a persaudaraan antara kaum 'atolik dan 'risten non-'atolik adalah lebih kuat daripada ikatan etnis8 agar dapat me$ariskan iman 'ristiani kepada generasi berikutnya. Ini adalah tantangan Gereja di &aman akhir ini# sebab 'ristus berkata# /'etika Anak manusia datang# adakah Ia mendapati iman di bumi9: (;uk 7<2<) 3) akramen *obat harus dihidupkan kembali di Eropa# untuk menumbuhkan kembali hati nurani yang jernih. ebab jalan seseorang untuk kembali kepada *uhan adalah melalui pertobatan8 dan agar seseorang dapat bertobat# ia pertama- tama harus menyadari dosanya# dan selanjutnya ia perlu menerima rahmat pengampunan Allah melalui imam-5ya. 1) Gereja perlu me$artakan se!ara baru# kebenaran tentang perka$inan dan keluarga. Di tengahtengah pandangan dunia yang menentang ajaran Gereja tentang ikatan perka$inan yang tak ter!eraikan# tuntutan dunia agar hubungan de-(a!to diakui sebagai perka$inan yang sah# tuntutan

agar perka$inan sesama jenis diakui# Gereja tetap harus menyuarakan hakekat perka$inan sebagaimana dikehendaki oleh *uhan. =rang-orang perlu menemukan kembali kebenaran tentang keluarga sebagai persekutuan kehidupan dan persekutuan kasih yang terbuka terhadap kehidupan baru# sebagai Gereja ke!il yang mengambil bagian di dalam misi Gereja dan di dalam kehidupan masyarakat. +aka kehidupan doa dan iman harus kembali ditumbuhkan di dalam setiap keluarga. +ari berdoa agar jangan sampai kitapun terpengaruh oleh paham sekularisme ini# yang sedikit demi sedikit juga mulai merasuki pola pikir banyak orang di tanah air. ebaliknya# mari kita berjuang untuk menerapkan nilai- nilai iman di dalam kehidupan kita sehari- hari# tentu dengan pertolongan *uhan. Ditulis oleh: Stefanus Tay & Ingrid Tay te(anus *ay# +* dan Ingrid ;istiati# +* adalah pasangan suami istri a$am dan telah menyelesaikan program studi 3 di bidang teologi di >ni)ersitas A)e +aria - Institute (or Pastoral *heology# Amerika erikat. http2..katolisitas.org.<?@7.apa-yang-menghimpit-gereja-di-eropa

Will the Son of man find faith in Europe?
Apostolic Exhortation of John Paul II on the Church in Europe
On June 28, 2003, following the second Synod of the Bishops of Europe, Pope John Paul II wrote the postolic E!hortation “Ecclesia in Europa” "the #hurch in Europe$% &is co''ents also apply to countries li(e #anada and the )nited States, where 'any people li*e +as if ,od did not e!ist-% &ere are e!cerpts fro' this docu'ent.

A time of bewilderment
In proclaiming to Europe the Gospel of hope, I will take as a guide the Book of Revelation, a “prophetic revelation” which discloses to the community of believers the deep and hidden meaning of what is taking place cf! Rev "#"$ !!!$ %he Book of Revelation contains a word of encouragement addressed to believers# beyond all appearances, and even if its effects are not yet seen, the victory of &hrist has already taken place and is final! %his in turn causes us to approach human situations and events with an attitude of fundamental trust, born of faith in the Risen 'ne, present and at work in history! The age we are living in, with its own particular challenges, can seem to be a time of bewilderment. Many men and women seem disoriented, uncertain, without hope, and not a few hristians share these feelings! (mong the aspects of this situation, so many of which were fre)uently mentioned during the *ynod, I would like to mention in a particular way the loss of Europe+s &hristian memory and heritage, accompanied by a kind of practical agnosticism and religious indifference whereby many Europeans give the impression of living without spiritual roots and somewhat like heirs who have s)uandered a patrimony entrusted to them by history! ertainly Europe is not lac!ing in prestigious symbols of the hristian presence, yet with the slow and steady advance of secularism, these symbols ris! becoming a mere vestige of the past. ,any people are no longer able to integrate the Gospel message into their daily e-perience. living one+s faith in /esus becomes increasingly difficult in a social and cultural setting in which that faith is constantly challenged and threatened! In many social settings it is easier to be identified as an agnostic than a believer! %he impression is given that unbelief is self0 e-planatory, whereas belief needs a sort of social legitimi1ation which is neither obvious nor taken for granted! (t the root of this loss of hope is an attempt to promote a vision of man apart from God and apart from &hrist! %his sort of thinking has led to man being considered as “the absolute centre of reality, a view which makes him occupy 2 falsely 2 the place of God, and which forgets that it is not man who creates God, but rather God who creates man! !!!$ European culture

gives the impression of "silent apostasy# on the part of people who have all that they need and who live as if $od does not e%ist.

hurch of Europe, awa!e&
%he entire &hurch in Europe ought to feel that the 3ord+s command and call is addressed to her# e-amine yourself, be converted, “awa!e, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death” Rev 4#5$! %he need to do so is also born of a consideration of the present time# “%he serious situation of indifference towards religion on the part of so many Europeans, the presence of many people even on our continent who do not yet know /esus &hrist and his &hurch, and who are not bapti1ed, the secularism which poisons a wide spectrum of &hristians who habitually think, make decisions and live, +as if &hrist did not e-ist+, far from e-tinguishing our hope, make this hope more humble and more able to trust in God alone! It is from his mercy that we receive the grace and call to conversion!” Although at times, as in the $ospel episode of the calming of the tempest 'cf. M! ()*+,(-. /! 0)11,1+2, it can appear that hrist is asleep and leaves his bar3ue to be tossed by the tumultuous waves, the hurch in Europe is called to grow in the certainty that the /ord, through the gift of his Spirit, is ever present and at wor! in her midst and in all human history. 4e prolongs his mission throughout time, and ma!es the hurch a stream of new life coursing through the life of humanity as a sign of hope for all.

5riestly celibacy) a precious good
In this conte-t priestly celibacy also stands out as the sign of hope put totally in the 3ord! &elibacy is not merely an ecclesiastical discipline imposed by authority. rather it is first and foremost a grace, a priceless gift of God for his &hurch, a prophetic value for the contemporary world, a source of intense spiritual life and pastoral fruitfulness, a witness to the eschatological 6ingdom, a sign of God+s love for this world, as well as a sign of the priest+s undivided love for God and for his people! 3ived in response to God+s gift and as a mastery of the temptations of a hedonistic society, it not only leads to the human fulfilment of those who are called to embrace it, but proves to be a source of growth for others as well! elibacy is esteemed in the whole hurch as fitting for the priesthood, obligatory in the /atin hurch, and deeply respected by the Eastern hurches. 6n the present cultural conte%t, it stands out as an elo3uent sign which needs to be cherished as a precious good for the hurch. A revision of the present discipline in this regard would not help to resolve the crisis of vocations to the priesthood being felt in many parts of Europe. A commitment to the service of the $ospel of hope also demands that the hurch ma!e every effort to propose celibacy in its full biblical, theological, and spiritual richness.

7e,evangeli8e those already bapti8ed
In various parts of Europe, a first proclamation of the Gospel is needed# the number of the unbapti1ed is growing, both because of the significant presence of immigrants of other religions, and because children born into families of &hristian tradition have not received Baptism, either as a result of the &ommunist domination or the spread of religious indifference! Indeed, Europe is now one of those traditionally &hristian places which, in addition to a new evangeli1ation, re)uire in some cases a first evangeli1ation! Everywhere, then, a renewed proclamation is needed even for those already bapti8ed. Many Europeans today thin! they !now what hristianity is, yet they do not really !now it at all. 'ften they are lacking in knowledge of the most basic elements and notions of the faith! ,any of the bapti1ed live as if &hrist did not e-ist# the gestures and signs of faith are repeated, especially in devotional practices, but they fail to correspond to a real acceptance of the content of the faith and fidelity to the person of /esus! %he great certainties of the faith are being undermined in many people by a vague religiosity lacking real commitment. various forms of agnosticism and practical atheism are spreading and serve to widen the division between faith and life. some people have been affected by the spirit of an immanentist humanism, which has weakened the faith and often, tragically, led to its complete abandonment. one encounters a sort of secularist interpretation of &hristian faith which is

corrosive and accompanied by a deep crisis of conscience and of &hristian moral practice! %he great values which amply inspired European culture have been separated from the Gospel, thus losing their very soul, and paving the way for any number of aberrations!

/When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?# '/! -0)02. Will he find

faith in our countries, in this Europe of ancient hristian tradition? This is an open 3uestion which clearly reveals the depth and the drama of one of the most serious challenges which our hurches are called to face. It can be said as the *ynod emphasi1ed that this challenge fre)uently consists not so much in bapti1ing new converts as in enabling those already bapti1ed to be converted to &hrist and his Gospel# in our communities we need to be seriously concerned about bringing the Gospel of hope to all those who are far from the faith or who have abandoned the practice of &hristianity! hristians are therefore "called to have a faith capable of critically confronting contemporary culture and resisting its enticements. of having an real effect on the world of culture, finance, society and politics. of demonstrating that the fellowship between atholics and other hristians is more powerful than any ethnic bond. of 9oyfully passing on the faith to new generations. and of building a hristian culture ready to evangeli8e the larger culture in which we live.#

The Sacrament of 7econciliation
%he *acrament of Reconciliation needs to be revitali1ed in the &hurch in Europe! 6t must be reaffirmed, however, that the form of the sacrament is the personal confession of sins followed by individual absolution. %his encounter between the penitent and the priest should be encouraged in any of the forms provided for in the rite of the sacrament! 7aced with the widespread loss of the sense of sin and the growth of a mentality marked by relativism and sub8ectivism in morality, every ecclesial community needs to provide for the serious formation of consciences! %he *ynod 7athers have insisted on the recognition of the reality of personal sin and the necessity of personal forgiveness by God through the ministry of the priest! ollective absolutions are not an alternative way of administering the Sacrament of 7econciliation.

Marriage and the family
The hurch in Europe at every level must faithfully proclaim anew the truth about marriage and the family! !!!$ ,any cultural, social and political factors are in fact conspiring to create an increasingly evident crisis of the family! In varying ways they 8eopardi1e the truth and dignity of the human person, and call into )uestion, often misrepresenting it, the notion of the family itself! %he value of marital indissolubility is increasingly denied. demands are made for the legal recognition of de facto relationships as if they were comparable to legitimate marriages. and attempts are made to accept a definition of the couple in which difference of se% is not considered essential. In this conte-t the &hurch is called to proclaim with renewed vigour what the Gospel teaches about marriage and the family, in order to grasp their meaning and value in God+s saving plan! 6n particular, it is necessary to reaffirm that these institutions are realities grounded in the will of $od. %here is a need to rediscover the truth about the family as an intimate communion of life and love open to the procreation of new persons, as well as its dignity as a “domestic &hurch” and its share in the mission of the &hurch and in the life of society! Inspired by these certainties of faith, let us strive to build a city worthy of man! %hough it is impossible to create within history a perfect social order, we !now that $od blesses every sincere effort to build a better world, and that every seed of 9ustice and love planted in the present will bear fruit for eternity.

John Paul II This article was published in the August-September, 2003 issue of “Michael ! http2..$$$.mi!haeljournal.org.!hur!heurope.htm