Europe Cannot Lose Its Spiritual Roots, Pope Says

Part of a Bishop´s Mission Is to Seek This Objective, Holy Father Explains

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2002 (Zenit.org).-In this decisive moment, Christians must do everything possible to preserve their spiritual roots in the process of European integration, John Paul II exhorted.



The Pope made this heartfelt appeal in a message sent to the plenary assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference, taking place this week in Rome.

The Holy Father said that presently, in the European Convention, which opened on February 28, "the process of construction of the ´common´ European ´home´ has entered a particularly important phase."

In fact, the European Convention should define the institutional profile of the European Union and the inclusion of the Central and Eastern European nations.

In this context, the Pope said in his message to the Italian Bishops that "Italy, as a nation, has much to offer the whole of Europe."

"In virtue of its history, culture, and present Christian vitality, Italy can really play a great role so that the Europe that is being built will not lose its own spiritual roots," the Pope emphasized.

According to the Holy Father, the challenge consists in the Old World finding "in the faith lived by Christians, the inspiration and stimulus needed on its way toward unity."

"To commit yourselves fully to this objective is part of your mission as Italian Bishops," John Paul II concluded.