Stirring Things Up in Western Europe
AN UNUSUAL PRO-LIFE/PEACE JOURNEY
Seeing that they have so much in common, it has always seemed odd to me that anti-abortion and anti-nuclear-arms campaigners have so little to do with each other. Together, they hold that the willful slaughter of innocent human beings is unacceptable (whether as a medical or a military option); and yet many peace/anti-abortion advocates find themselves isolated on opposite ends of the political spectrum, as if they had been dealt out like a pack of cards: right, left, right, left.
For five years I have been trying to build a bridge between these movements in the U.S. I recently had the opportunity to bring this message to Western Europe through a seven-week speaking tour. I learned that in Europe, as in America, just to stir up the desire for reconciliation — that is, to stay close to Jesus, who wants to “break down the walls that divide us” — is the most crucial task of all.
My first week was spent at a huge youth/cultural festival called MEETING ‘84 as the guest of Comunione e Liberazione, an Italian Catholic movement of students and young workers. MEETING ‘84 is a unique kind of annual theme expo — this year’s theme: America and the Americas. The expo is Catholic, but not “churchy”; socially engaged, but not overtly partisan.
In fact, although the convention tents were full of activity, it was hard for me to get a handle on just what, in fact, was being brought together and celebrated, or why.
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