ROME, JUNE 24, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Italian artwork is proof of what Christianity has to offer Europe, says Benedict XVI.
Today, when visiting Italy’s president, Carlo Ciampi, at the Quirinale Palace, the Pope invited Italians to not give up their Christian heritage, and to help Europe rediscover its Christian roots.
“Italian culture is a culture profoundly penetrated by Christian values, as shown by the splendid masterpieces that the nation has produced in all areas of thought and art,” the Holy Father said.
“The Italian people should not only not give up the Christian heritage that forms part of their history, but they should guard it zealously, and with it continue to produce fruits worthy of their past,” he said.
“In virtue of its history and culture, Italy can offer a highly valid contribution, in particular to Europe, helping it to rediscover those Christian roots that have allowed it to be great in the past, and that today can continue to foster the profound unity of the continent,” he said.
The debate on the Christian roots of Europe began when the European Convention refused to mention them in the preamble of the Constitutional Treaty, which was subsequently rejected by France and the Netherlands in their respective referendums.