European Integration Needs a Soul, Says Chiara Lubich

Focolare Founder Addresses Conference of Mayors

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INNSBRUCK, Austria, NOV. 12, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The process of European integration needs a soul, Focolare Movement founder Chiara Lubich told the Conference of European Mayors.



"At the roots of Europe there is sanctity, not only the Europe handed down to us by history, but also the one we are building in our day, as testified by two fathers of united Europe: Robert Schuman and Alcide De Gasperi," Lubich told a meeting Friday of 1,000 mayors and 300 youth from 35 countries.

"The process of canonization, which has begun for them, witnesses to their sanctity and, in particular, is verifying how they lived in a heroic manner not only the virtues of their faith, but also the civil virtues required by their political profession," she added.

"If we go back to consider their original inspiration, their way of understanding European unity, we can find a light for focusing on our goal," said the Focolare founder. Focolare, which emerged in Italy in 1943, has 4.5 million members and sympathizers in 182 countries.

"Clearly, in the vision of its founders, Europe is a family of brother nations, not closed in on themselves but open to a universal mission: Europe wants its unity to contribute to the unity of the human family," Lubich continued.

The Catholic Church "has been affirming this for quite some time, by speaking of a new world order, of a new economic order, of globalizing solidarity," she said.

In order to achieve this objective, she said Europe needs men and women who are committed to politics as a vocation of service, who live what she described as "political love."

"The task of this manner of ´political love´ is to create and preserve conditions that enable all other types of love to blossom: the love of young people who want to get married and who need a house and job; the love of those who want to study and who need schools and books; the love of those who have their own business and who need roads and railways, [and] clear and reliable rules," Lubich said.

"Thus," she concluded, "politics is the love of all loves, which gathers into the unity of a common design the resources of persons and groups and provides the means for each one to freely fulfill his or her own vocation."

Other speakers at the conference included Romano Prodi, president of the European Commission, and Austrian President Thomas Klestil.