EU Leader: Politicians Need Pope's Lent Message

Pöttering Calls Europe to Solidarity

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ROME, FEB. 4, 2010 ( A former president of the European Parliament says politics needs Benedict XVI’s message for Lent 2010.

Hans-Gert Pöttering, now president of a Germany-based research group called the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, said this today when he presented the Pope’s traditional Lenten message.

The message, dated Oct. 30, was released today. It is on the theme of justice.
 Pöttering was president of the European Parliament from 2007 till last July.
«If we want to preserve freedom and if we want to increase justice, then we have to place the value of fraternity or solidarity at the center of our political thinking,» Pöttering said in presenting the message.

The former Parliament leader suggested that Europe has achieved a «unique political wonder in the spirit of solidarity, that hardly anybody would have considered possible at the end of the Second World War.»

«We have proven ourselves with the principle of solidarity evident between the states and the peoples of the old and the new European Union,» he contended. «Lately, the joint measures taken to combat the financial crisis have shown that a common way of thinking and a joint policy are possible in the European Union.»


But, Pöttering lamented, «the power of solidarity has rather faded inside Europe since reunification.»

He called solidarity «at best in the fledgling stages,» particularly with the planet’s poorest.

Pöttering noted how Europe and the world reacted to fight against the financial crisis, but said «the implementation of charity leaves much to be desired, especially in the fight against hunger in the world.»<br>
«The determination with which Europe and the world have reacted to the financial crisis shows that international cooperation can overcome huge challenges. A similar firmness is equally necessary in the fight against worldwide poverty,» he reflected.

He said taking further responsibility is a «moral obligation.»

«It is exactly here that politics has to adopt the Lenten Message of the Holy Father,» Pöttering declared. «We need again a European spirit of solidarity. And, more than ever, we need a European spirit of solidarity with all peoples and cultures of this one world. Those are the two most important social-ethical tasks that the European Union faces.»

The former Parliament leader went on suggest that Europe needs to bring about a «spiritual renewal.»

«This is,» he said, «about approaching the tasks that we face in the spirit of solidarity and that we seize the possibilities that we possess in a comparatively rich and privileged Europe so that justice becomes a reality for as many people as possible. Where justice is experienced, the value of freedom is equally strengthened.»

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Pope’s Lenten message:

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