Pope to European leaders: Look more at faces than at the numbers

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Pope Francis has readdressed European problems in a meeting with religious leaders and politicians from the Old Continent. They met in the Vatican to talk about the challenges the European Union is facing. The President of the European Parliament, Antonio Trajani, summarized them as follows:

'The reflection we are making today on the future of Europe is more necessary than ever to eliminate the distance between citizens and our Union. In order to reinforce the sense of belonging to our project, we must give the European people concrete answers on the issues concerning them: youth unemployment, terrorism, illegal immigration.'

The pope called on European leaders to focus more on people's faces than numbers. He said that people's problems have been reduced to abstract principles. He denounced that citizens no longer exist, but only votes. Additionally, there are no workers, but only economic indicators. 

'People have faces, they oblige us to have a responsibility that is real, active and personal. The figures keep us occupied with reasoning, which is also useful and important, but they will always remain soulless. They give us excuses to not compromise, because they never touch us in the flesh.'

Pope Francis said that Europe needs to recover its identity and this provokes individualistic, closed societies, who are afraid of coming into contact with others

'Community is the greatest antidote against the individualism that characterizes our time, against the tendency spread today to the West, to understand and live in solitude. The concept of freedom is misunderstood, interpreted as if it was the duty to be alone, free from any bond, and consequently, it has built a society without roots, deprived of the sense of belonging and inheritance. For me this is serious.'

The pope said that individualism is the cause of the lack of solidarity that society and European institutions are suffering. He recalled that a project can only advance with the sacrifice of everyone, not just a few people.

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