More Reflections on European Integration

Pope Again Urges Recognition of Christian Roots of Continent

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 24, 2003 ( Here is a translation of the address given by John Paul II today when he met with thousands of pilgrims gathered in the papal summer residence to pray the Angelus. The address was in Italian.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. My thoughts return once again to the current process of European integration and, in particular, to the determinant role of its institutions.

I think, in the first place, of the European Union, committed to finding new forms of openness, meeting and collaboration among its member states.

I think, moreover, of the Council of Europe, with headquarters at Strasbourg, and of the annexed European Court of the Rights of Man, which carry out the noble task of creating a Europe of liberties, justice and solidarity.

Finally, mention must also be made of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is dedicated to promoting the cause of the fundamental liberties of persons and nations of the continent.

2. I follow in prayer the laborious progress of the constitutional treaty of the European Union, now being studied by the governments of the various countries. I trust that all those who are dedicating their energies to it will always be moved by the conviction that “a proper ordering of society must be rooted in authentic ethical and civil values shared as widely as possible by its citizens” [apostolic exhortation “Ecclesia in Europa,” 114].

For its part, the Catholic Church is convinced that the Gospel of Christ, which has been a unifying element of European peoples during many centuries, continues to be, also today, an inexhaustible source of spirituality and fraternity. To take this into account is to the advantage of all, and to recognize explicitly in the treaty the Christian roots of Europe becomes for the continent the principal guarantee of a future.

3. Let us invoke Mary Most Holy, so that in the construction of the Europe of today and tomorrow that spiritual inspiration will not be neglected which is indispensable to operate in an authentic way in the service of man. Such an inspiration finds in the Gospel a sure guarantee in favor of the freedom, justice and peace of all, believers and nonbelievers.

[Translation by ZENIT]

[After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted the pilgrims in several languages. In English, he said:]

I am pleased to greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present in this Angelus prayer. Upon you and your families I cordially invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace.

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