John Paul II Invited to Address European Parliament

President Says Convention Will Listen

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 10, 2003 ( The president of the European Parliament believes that the European Convention will keep in mind John Paul II’s requests when writing the continent’s Constitution.

Irishman Patrick Cox, who was received in audience Jan. 3 by the Pope and Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, invited the Holy Father to address the Parliament to “shake consciences.”

In an interview Thursday with the Italian newspaper Avvenire, Cox said the text of the future Constitution will respect the identity of Catholics “as well as the civil and legal rights of churches.”

“I think that some of the recommendations of European Catholics have been included in the draft that was circulated in the past weeks,” he said.

At the same time, the Convention that is writing the document is “sovereign,” and the Parliament is outside of it. Because of this, Cox suggested that additional information on this issue be requested from its president, Valery Giscard d’Estaing, or the vice presidents, Jean-Luc Dehaene and Giuliano Amato.

“I am sure that the members of the Convention will know how to listen to the Pope’s voice,” Cox added. “His voice is unique, irreplaceable; it would be a special moment for him and for all of us.”

“He might shake consciences on the Middle East, on peace in Palestine, on the Iraqi question, and, if he considers it opportune, recall his message on European Christian identity,” Cox said.

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