Castel Gandolfo (Fides Service) – “In recent months intense work has been undertaken to draft a European Constitution, the final version of which will be examined for approval by the intergovernmental Conference from the coming month of October. In this important task, which concerns every component of European society, the Church must feel obliged to make her contribution”. Pope John Paul II said this on Sunday 20 July before praying the midday Angelus prayer with people gathered in the courtyard of his Summer Residence at Castel Gandolfo.
The Pope recalled that Christianity “is, in the complex history of the Continent, a central and qualifying element, which has been consolidated on the foundation of the classical heritage and different contributions made by the successive ethnic-cultural streams through the centuries. It can therefore be rightly said that the Christian faith shaped the culture of Europe becoming one with its history and, despite the painful division between East and West, Christianity became “the religion of Europeans”. Its influence is still considerable also in the modern epoch and the present day, despite a powerful and diffused phenomenon of secularisation. The Church knows that her interest for Europe stems from her very mission. As depositary of the Gospel she has promoted those values which made European culture universally appreciated. This patrimony cannot be dispersed. Indeed, the new Europe must be helped to “build itself by revitalising the Christian roots from which it originated”. SL (Fides Service 21/7/2003 EM lines 18 Words: 238)