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Pope Francis at the Council of Europe: May Europe find the spirit that makes it great

2014-11-25

After speaking to the European Parliament, the Pope address the Council of Europe. He was welcomed by Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council, who thanked him for his visit and said he was an inspiration for the institution. 

Pope Francis gave a lenghty address in which he touched upon various themes. He reminded them that "mutual service” should inspire the work of the Council to promote human dignity. He also invited them to work for peace and denounced human and weapons trafficking as well as religious terrorism.

He also called on Europe to not forget its roots. 

POPE FRANCIS
"In order to progress towards the future we need the past, we need profound roots. We also need the courage not to flee from the present and its challenges. We need memory, courage, a sound and humane utopian vision.”

He also denounced the globalization of indifference and the growth of individualism in European societies

POPE FRANCIS
"A Europe which is a bit tired and pessimistic, which feels besieged by events and winds of change coming from other continents. To Europe we can put the question: "Where is your vigour? Where is that idealism which inspired and ennobled your history? Where is your spirit of curiosity and enterprise? Where is your thirst for truth, a thirst which hitherto you have passionately shared with the world?”

The future of Europe, he continued, depended on their respose to those questions. He also spoke on the current challenges facing Europe: multipolarity and transversality.

The Pope explained that the continent is not a homogeneous reality that destroys the "cultural and religious originality of the people”. His remarks on the benefits of intergenerational dialougue were welcomed with applause by the assembly. 

POPE FRANCIS
"A Europe which can only dialogue with limited groups stops halfway; it needs that youthful spirit which can rise to the challenge of transversality.”

Regarding the challenges facing youth, the Pope once again denounced the lack of employment. He also called on the council to care for immigrants and the homeless. 

Concluding his address, Pope Francis expressed his hope that Europe would not forget its past in order to safeguard its future. 

POPE FRANCIS
"My hope is that Europe, by rediscovering the legacy of its history and the depth of its roots, and by embracing its lively multipolarity and the phenomenon of a transversality in dialogue, will rediscover that youthfulness of spirit which has made this continent fruitful and great.”

The president of the asembly, Anne Brasseur, thanked the Pope for his commitment to those who suffer and his intervention at the council. 


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