Europe Needs to Rediscover Christ, Says John Paul II

Warns That Continent’s Foundation Could Erode

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 13, 2003 ( The rediscovery of Jesus Christ and his message is the key for Europe to recover hope and the foundation of human rights, says John Paul II.

«Paradoxically, the cradle of human rights risks the disappearance of its foundation, eroded by relativism and utilitarianism,» the Pope said today, before the midday recitation of the Angelus.

The Holy Father dedicated his meeting with pilgrims, gathered in the courtyard of the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, to comment on the central message of his apostolic exhortation «Ecclesia in Europa» (The Church in Europe), which he published last month.

«At this historic moment, in which an important process is under way for the reunification of Europe, through the enlargement of the European Union to other countries, the Church observes this continent with a look full of love,» he said.

«Along with many lights, some darkness is not lacking,» the Pope said. He cited a «certain loss of Christian memory … a certain fear to face the future … a widespread fragmentation of life is often joined to the spread of individualism and a growing weakening of interpersonal solidarity.»

«We are witnessing a certain loss of hope, at the root of which is an attempt to make an anthropology prevail without God and without Christ,» he added.

In this situation, believers have a proclamation to make: «Jesus Christ, alive in his Church, the source of hope for Europe,» said the Pope, referring to the motto of the 1999 European synod that led to «Ecclesia in Europa

«European culture gives the impression of ‘silent apostasy’ on the part of people who have all that they need and who live as if God does not exist,» he said. «Hence, the greatest urgency Europe is facing in both East and West, is a growing need of hope, a hope which will enable us to give meaning to life and history, and to continue on our way together.»

«However, how can such a profound yearning for hope be satisfied?» the Pope asked.

«It is necessary to return to Christ and to start afresh from him,» he answered. The Church «can offer Europe the most precious good that no one else can give: namely, faith in Jesus Christ, source of hope that does not disappoint.»

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