Pope: Man at centre of European project
(Vatican Radio) In his address to European leaders, Pope Francis spoke about embracing the past, but also looking to the future with hope.
Referring to the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties – the occasion for the meeting – Pope Francis said “Returning to Rome, sixty years later, must not simply be a remembrance of things past, but the expression of a desire to relive that event in order to appreciate its significance for the present.” He said, “We cannot understand our own times apart from the past, seen not as an assemblage of distant facts, but as the lymph that gives life to the present.”
Calling attention to the founding fathers of the European project, whom he quoted repeatedly, the Pope said Europe is not “a conglomeration of rules to obey” but “a way of life, a way of understanding man based on his transcendent and inalienable dignity.” And so, he said, it was clear from the outset “that the heart of the European political project could only be man himself.” But this outlook, he continued, depends on solidarity.
Turning to a vision of the future, Pope Francis notes that Europe today faces many crises – crises of the economy, the family, a crisis of institutions, the migration crisis.
The answers to these crises, the Pope said, “are to be found precisely in the pillars on which they determined to build the European economic community”: “the centrality of man, effective solidarity, openness to the world, the pursuit of peace and development, openness to the future.”
Concluding his remarks, Pope Francis said the European Union, at 60, “is called today to examine itself, to care for the ailments that inevitably come with age, and to find new ways to steer its course.” The success of the European Union, he said, “will depend on its readiness to work together once again, and by its willingness to wager on the future.” And he called on Europe’s leaders “to blaze the path of a ‘new European humanism’ made up of ideals and concrete actions.”