During the coming weeks, the Schuman Centre publishes the last chapter of Jeff Fountain’s book Deeply Rooted, which attempts to understand how to live the legacy that Robert Schuman left in Europe.
Robert Schuman’s story raises many questions for us today, two generations later.
•How can we live this legacy today?
•Dare we still dream about Europe becoming a ‘community of peoples deeply rooted in Christian values’? Can Schuman’s Christian values have any relevance for us in a post-Christian, post-modern, twenty-first century Europe?
•What is our Christian responsibility towards politics and government, whether or not we are called personally to be actively politically engaged? How should we view a political institution like the EU when it appears to be enforcing ‘godless, humanistic policies’ across Europe?
•Can sacred writings from an agragrian, pre-industrial Middle East really have anything to say about politics in urban, post-industrial Europe?
•How can we recover Schuman’s forgotten legacy?
This chapter is an attempt to address these questions.
I. What lessons can we draw from Schuman’s life? What can this legacy mean for us today?
The story of Robert Schuman has much to help us today as together we engage in the task of shaping Europe’s future.
It tells us that there are no easy answers, much hard work, and seasons of frustration, setback and discouragement to endure. Sometimes, as during the darkest days of World War II, it may seem as though all is lost.
Yet at the same time, we hold on to the knowledge that it is always God’s will for His will to be done on earth, in Europe, in Brussels or wherever we are called to work.
In a world where it is often assumed only the power politics of Machiavelli can succeed, Schuman’s story reminds us that faith and hope, character and integrity are fundamental for doing God’s work in God’s way. That is true for political decisions and policies, as well as for the personal lives of the political players.
Schuman’s encounters with Frank Buchman also remind us of the limits of politics, and the necessary interaction of movements bringing personal transformation and conversion with those called specifically to politics.
(The second question will be published next week)
Director Schuman Centre
A cynical, scheming and unscrupulous approach to politics is named after Niccolò Machiavelli, an Italian Renaissance political philosopher, considered a founder of political science.