Recover founding values Pope tells ‘haggard’ and lonely Europe

A haggard and lonely Europe risks irrelevancy if it doesn’t recover its founding values, Pope Francis told European leaders in Strasburg on Tuesday.

The Holy Father called on Europe to re-found itself by drawing, in part, on its Christian Legacy.

“Where is your vigour?” he put to 750 members of the European parliament.

“Where is that idealism that inspired and ennobled your history?”

Bluntly, Francis told the parliament the world is looking less and less to Europe which is often seen as “elderly and haggard”.

He said Europe is becoming less and less a “protagonist” in world affairs and increasingly the rest of the world is viewing it with “mistrust” and “suspicion”.

Citing youth unemployment, immigration, extremism, and the loneliness of elderly and the young, Francis argued that many of Europe’s political problems came from losing its “spiritual core”.

He told the parliament that a “cult of opulence” based on exaggerated individualism is no longer sustainable and that it is time for Europe to re-focus and “promote policies which create employment”.

“What dignity can a person ever hope to find, when he or she lacks food and the bare essentials for survival, and worse yet, when they lack the work that confers dignity?”

Pope Francis also cautioned that while the promotion of human rights is necessary, their promotion can be misused, particularly with the claim to individual rights.

“An underlying factor in the push for individual rights is the concept that the human being is detached from all social and anthropological roots, thus making the person a ‘monad’ who promotes the individual but not the human person”, the Pope observed.

Acknowledging that all of Europe and Christianity’s past has not been free of conflicts or errors, he however said their history is the story of being driven by the desire to work for the good of all.

The Holy Father told the parliamentarians that by creating a vacuum of ideals, including a forgetfulness of God, Europe risks losing its own soul.

He urged the European politicians to keep the human person rather than “pressure of multinational interests which are not universal” at the centre of their interests.

The family, he said, “united, fruitful and indissoluble, possesses the elements fundamental for fostering hope in the future. Without this solid basis, the future ends up being built on sand, with dire social consequences.”

Pope Francis, Tuesday, travelled to Strasburg and delivered back to back speeches to the European Parliament and Council of Europe. Many of his points received rousing applause.


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