* * *
Excellencies! Distinguished Authorities!
Ladies and Gentlemen!
With keen interest the Holy Father Benedict XVI learned of the Conference, hosted by the Pontifical Gregorian University, on the occasion of the 50thanniversary of the Elysée Treaty, sponsored by the Embassies of France and the Federal Republic of Germany to the Holy See, on the theme “Fifty years of Franco-German friendship at the service of Europe: the European Union, a model for other reconciliations?”. His Holiness has asked me to convey to the participants in this event his cordial greeting, ensuring his spiritual closeness. The Holy Father addressed a special thought to the distinguished Speakers – Mrs. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Minister-President of Saarland and the Federal Republic of Germany’s Head of Franco-German cultural relations, Mr. Michel Barnier, European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services, and Mr. Jacques Santer, former President of the European Commission – which will doubtless give rise to the exchange of rich and stimulating ideas during the debate.
The festivities on the occasion of the 50thanniversary of a major milestone in the common path of reconciliation and understanding between the people of France and Germany, also call to mind the personal commitment of the fathers of the Treaty, Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer. Even before the conclusion of the Treaty, the two leading figures of post-war Europe, by their participation in the Mass of reconciliation in the Cathedral of Reims, highlighted how politics is based on principles that it cannot give itself. The natural moral law inscribed by the Creator in the human heart, and the values and human rights shaped by the Gospel form the basis of a politics that truly places itself at the service of justice and peace, as well as of the progress of the whole human family. It is on that basis that political action will have to be built in the future, so that what we have achieved together is not undermined by new challenges and short-sighted special interests, or even abandoned. Peace is an enduring task and one that must be fulfilled always anew.
With these sentiments, the Holy Father invokes upon the conference participants, as well as on entire populations of France and Germany, the protection and the blessing of God for a future of peace and freedom in their own countries and throughout Europe.
In expressing my own personal greeting, I extend my best wishes to you all.
Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Secretary of State of His Holiness