EUROPE WITH A VISIT AT THE POPE’S
During his meeting on 24 March 2017 with leaders and chiefs of member countries of the EU, Pope Francis encouraged them to listen to postulates of people and nations creating the European Union. They arrived at Vatican on the eve of 60th anniversary of signing Roman Treaties, establishing the European Economic Community and European Community of Atomic Energy.
Pope reminded words of some European politicians from the day of signing the Roman Treaties on 25 March 1957 and emphasized that ‘giving their signatures, they caused this political, economic, cultural and, first of all, human reality which is called the European Union today’. Francis pointed that they meant not only material welfare among nations of Europe, economic expansion, social progress and new industrial and commercial possibilities, but, first of all, ‘particular concept of life, human, brotherly and just measure’. Memory about disasters of the Second World War ‘inspired them and gave them courage necessary to forget previous conflicts so that they could think and act in a completely new way and do the biggest transformation (…) of Europe’.
Man in the central place
Pope noted that during the last 60 years the world has changed a lot. Our times have been dominated by the crisis in: economy, family, social examples, institutions and migrations. In the opinion of the Holy Father, an answer to these problems can be found when referring to pillars on which fathers the founders were going to build the European Economic Community. It mainly concerns the central human place, real solidarity, openness to the world, aiming at peace and development, opening up to the future. Pope noted that the European Union was born as the unity of varieties and the unity in the variety, and the first element of European vitality is solidarity. – Treaties must be fulfilled with a life-giving spirit – said Francis.
A Roman correspondent of the German Catholic Agency KNA, a reporter of papal special audiences for the heads of countries and governments in Europe, placed ’Grandma’s birthday’ under the title. He reminded visits of pope Francis in the European Parliament and Europe Council in Strasburg in 2014.
In speeches in Strasburg the Holy Father said that Europe is tired and helpless, like ‘a unfertile grandma’. The continent must think on whether its ‘enormous heritage’ is only ‘ordinary museum’s heritage of the past’ or whether it is still able to ‘inspire culture and include its treasures into the treasures of the whole humankind’. However, Francis – a fan of Wagner and Holderlin – did not stop believing in Europe. This Europe, going forward on ‘certain and permanent ground’ is ‘a valuable reference point for the whole humankind’. It is time we were building Europe together, which is focused not only on economy, but also on holiness of the human being. When his words from Strasburg were widely spread by media, Francis emphasized that his look at the Old Continent was not pessimistic at all. He reminded that beside a few critical hints, he had clearly stated that Europe with its Christian roots, its richness and its potential can easily become resistant to a lot of extremes spreading in today’s world.
The KNA agency noted that Francis was a laureate of the European Prize of Karol the Great. When the Pope was receiving this distinction, he asked with concern: ‘What has happened with you, humanist Europe, a defender of human rights, democracy and freedom?’. The Holy Father was surprised that Europe had barricaded itself and betrayed values of its fathers the founders, by building walls and destroying bridges.
On the basis of the Catholic News Agency and my own correspondences