Addressing the senators and deputies of the Italian Parliament, Thursday, the Holy Father praised efforts to enlarge the European Union toward the East, sealing as it were “an unnatural division.”
However, the Pope expressed the wish that “the new foundations of the European ‘common house’ will not lack the ‘cement’ of that extraordinary religious, cultural, and civil patrimony which has given Europe its greatness down the centuries.”
“There is a need to guard against a vision of the Continent which would only take into account its economic and political aspects, or which would uncritically yield to lifestyles inspired by a consumerism indifferent to spiritual values,” he added.
“If lasting stability is to be given to the new unity of Europe,” the Pope continued, “there must be a commitment to ensuring that it is supported on those ethical foundations which were once its basis, while at the same time making room for the richness and diversity of the cultures and traditions which characterize individual nations.”
John Paul II concluded his address with an emotional appeal: “Europe, at the beginning of the new millennium, open once again your doors to Christ!”