On October 22, Pope Francis wrote a letter to Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, to mark several anniversaries to do with the relationship of the Vatican with the EU and the Council of Europe. In it, the Pope outlined his vision for Europe. The following are some quotes from it:

“To Europe, then, I would like to say: you, who for centuries have been a seedbed of high ideals and now seem to be losing your élan, do not be content to regard your past as an album of memories. …Without ideals, we find ourselves weak and divided, more prone to complain and to be attracted by those who make complaint and division a style of personal, social and political life.

“I dream, then, of a Europe that is a friend to each and all. A land respectful of everyone’s dignity, in which each person is appreciated for his or her intrinsic worth and not viewed purely from an economic standpoint or as a mere consumer. A land that protects life at every stage, from the time it arises unseen in the womb until its natural end, since no human being is the master of life, either his or her own life or the lives of others.

“I dream of a Europe that is a family and a community. A place respectful of the distinctiveness of each individual and every people, ever mindful that they are bound together by shared responsibilities. Being a family entails living in unity, treasuring differences, beginning with the fundamental difference between man and woman.

“I dream of a Europe that is inclusive and generous. A welcoming and hospitable place in which charity, the highest Christian virtue, overcomes every form of indifference and selfishness. Solidarity, as an essential element of every authentic community, demands that we care for one another. To be sure, we are speaking of an ‘intelligent solidarity’ that does more than merely attend to basic needs as they emerge.”

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)

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