Alcide de Gasperi knew that the Christian heritage was what united all Europeans. What’s more, de Gasperi realized that forgiveness is a key Christian teaching. Indeed, that Western Europe, destroyed by fratricidal war just a few years earlier, was able to reconcile was a true miracle. De Gasperi believed that a return to Christian ideals was the best protection against World War III. Starting in 1950, de Gasperi worked closely with French foreign minister Robert Schuman to create the European Coal and Steel Community, which ultimately came into existence in 1957. This association, the blueprint for today’s EU, was an association for economic and political cooperation, fostering peaceful relations between Europeans.Share
Alcide de Gasperi’s devout Catholicism was not unusual. The other founding fathers of post-war European unification—Schuman, French diplomat Jean Monnet and West German chancellor Konrad Adenauer—also took their faith seriously; Rome has opened beatification causes for all of them except Adenauer.
These statesmen were most influenced by the principle of subsidiarity. This idea, which originates in Rerum Novarum, states that policies are best enacted at the most local level, and if a smaller structure (such as a national legislature) can perform a function, it should perform it instead of a larger one. (Read more.)