Pope Demands Action to Counter the Exclusion of Christianity in Europe

Reiterates Plea When Receiving New Slovenian Ambassador

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 5, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II, showing his great concern on the matter, again called for action against attempts to exclude Christianity’s contribution to the European Union.

«It is necessary to react before the temptation to exclude the contribution of Christianity in the making of the new Europe, because it would rob energy from the process of the ethical-cultural foundation of civil coexistence in the continent,» the Pope said today when he received the new ambassador of Slovenia to the Vatican.

It is the second time in a week that the Holy Father made this appeal. He also expressed it Monday when he received the new Greek ambassador.

This morning, when he met with Ludvik Toplak, 60, former rector of the University of Maribor, the Pope reminded him that «the Christian heritage, which for centuries has been and continues to be the soul of civil life in Slovenia, is a valid contribution for the consolidation in Europe of a civilization that is sensitive to mutual understanding among peoples.»

Moreover, John Paul II made an implicit reference to the European Convention, from which a possible European Constitution might result, and to which churches and communities of believers have not been invited.

«At this time when efforts are being made to build the ‘common European home’ through legislative instruments intended to promote unity and solidarity among the peoples of the Continent, it is necessary to pay attention to the values on which it is founded,» the Pope cautioned.

«It is an undeniable fact that the 2,000-year tradition of Judeo-Christian origin has been able to harmonize, consolidate and promote the basic principles of European civilization, rooted in a plurality of cultures,» the Pontiff explained.

This tradition, «can continue to offer a precious ethical frame of reference to European peoples,» the Pope added.

«Therefore, the Holy See hopes that, in the future also, the identity and role of the Church will be safeguarded, as it has always carried out a determinant function in education in the fundamental principles of civil coexistence, in offering answers to basic questions concerning the meaning of life, in the protection and promotion of culture and the identity of different peoples,» John Paul II said.

«The Catholic Church does not seek privileges, but only seeks to fulfill its mission in favor of the whole of society,» the Pope concluded.

The exclusion of representatives of the communities of believers from the European Convention, presided over by former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing, which began its working sessions last February, had already been criticized by the Pope on Jan. 10 in an address to ambassadors accredited to the Vatican.

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