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As Pope Benedict XVI, he then used the occasion of his very first general audience in 2005 to point out "the inalienable Christian roots of [Europe's] culture and civilisation".
Later that year, visiting Cologne for World Youth Day, he urged one million people attending mass there to recover their Christian roots.
As the Paris Statement warns, Europe is facing a challenge of epic, indeed, historic proportions, of which the demographic decline, institutional distrust, rise in populism and independence movements, waves of unregulated mass immigration and rising concerns over Islamism are all but symptoms.If anything, they scold the scholars for not being clearer about it. " Matthew Walther asks in "The Week", and then continues: "For me Hilaire Belloc put it best: 'Europe is the faith, and the faith is Europe'" -- and, laconically, Walther adds: "He should have said 'was'." Not everyone is as pessimistic -- least of all the popes.