Pope brings European institutions message of hope

(AGI) Strasbourg, Nov. 25 - The aim of the Pope's mission tothe European Parliament is to bring 500 million citizens hopeand encouragement. Pope Francis noted that the "message ofhope" underlying his visit to the European Parliament andCouncil of Europe in Strasbourg is "based on the belief thatdifficulties can turn into powerful promoters of unity, tovanquish all the fears that Europe and the world are facing".The Pope did not mince words, describing Europe as "agrandmother, no longer fertile and vibrant" as a way tohighlight the fact that "the great ideas that once

(AGI) Strasbourg, Nov. 25 - The aim of the Pope's mission tothe European Parliament is to bring 500 million citizens hopeand encouragement. Pope Francis noted that the "message ofhope" underlying his visit to the European Parliament andCouncil of Europe in Strasbourg is "based on the belief thatdifficulties can turn into powerful promoters of unity, tovanquish all the fears that Europe and the world are facing".The Pope did not mince words, describing Europe as "agrandmother, no longer fertile and vibrant" as a way tohighlight the fact that "the great ideas that once inspiredEurope seem to have lost their attraction, only to be replacedby the bureaucratic technicalities of its institutions." Hewent on to say that "in recent years, as the European Union hasexpanded, there has been growing mistrust on the part ofcitizens towards institutions considered to be aloof, engagedin laying down rules perceived as insensitive to individualpeople, if not downright harmful." The Pope would like Europeto be true to its "kind soul", which is to say kinder to theweakest, such as unborn children, youth and the 'forgotten'elderly. He believes Europe should also be truly pluralistic."It is impossible to imagine or to build Europe without fullytaking into account this multipolar reality", he told theCouncil of Europe. He also mentioned transversality, saying,"here I would begin with my own experience: in my meetings withpolitical leaders from various European countries, I haveobserved that the younger politicians view reality differentlythan their older colleagues. They may appear to be saying thesame things, but their approach is different. This is evidentin younger politicians from various parties. This empiricalfact points to a reality of present-day Europe which cannot beoverlooked in efforts to unite the continent and to guide itsfuture: we need to take into account this transversalityencountered in every sector. To do so requires engaging indialogue, including intergenerational dialogue. Were we todefine the continent today, we should speak of a Europe indialogue, one which puts a transversality of opinions andreflections at the service of a harmonious union of peoples."Pope Francis spoke positively of Europe's commitment toindividual rights. Nonetheless, he encouraged prioritising the"common good" and, to that end, warned that at times "theconcept of human rights, which has an intrinsically universalimport, is replaced by an individualistic conception ofrights". . .