Castel Gandolfo (Fides Service) – “At this time in history when an important process of re-unification of Europe is underway with the extending of the European Union to more countries, the Church looks with love on this continent. Alongside many lights, not lacking are also shadows”. Pope John Paul II said this when he reflected on Europe on Sunday 13 July before reciting the Angelus prayer with the people gathered at his Summer residence in Castel Gandolfo where he moved a few days ago. Among the shadows of this process of consolidation and enlargement the Pope underlined: loss of Christian memory, fear to face the future, fragmentation of life, spreading individualism and ever weaker inter-personal solidarity. “We see a sort of loss of hope, at the root of which lies an attempt to make an anthropology without God prevail – the Holy Father said – Paradoxically the cradle of human rights is in danger in this way of losing the basic right, eroded by relativism and utilitarianism”.
With a European culture which gives the impression of wanting to live as if God did not exist, the most urgent need throughout Europe “East and West, is an increasing need for hope, in order to be able to give meaning to life and history and to walk together” as the Pope wrote in the post-synodal exhortation Ecclesia in Europa (4). “But how can such a profound longing for hope be satisfied? We must return to Christ and start out again from Him – the Pope affirmed -. The Church has to offer the most precious good of all, which no one else can give: that is faith in Jesus Christ, “source of hope which is never disappointed”. SL (Fides Service 14/7/2003 EM lines 20 Words: 276)