By editor - 04 July, 2016
Pope Francis has appealed to Europeans to counter the walls of fear and aggression and the failure to understand people of different backgrounds or faith, warning that these threaten to divide the continent.
He made his appeal in a video message to participants attending the ‘Together for Europe’ initiative in Germany which brought together over 300 Christian Movements and Communities from a number of confessions all over Europe.
In his message, the Pontiff said “It is time to face the problems of our day with a true European spirit.”
Highlighting how, apart from some visible walls, other invisible walls are being strengthened, he stressed that these walls tend to divide the continent.
“These walls are being built in people’s hearts. They are walls made of fear and aggression, a failure to understand people of different backgrounds or faith. They are walls of political and economic selfishness, without respect for the life and dignity of every person.”
Pope Francis told the delegates that Europe finds itself in a complex and highly mobile world, which is ever more globalised and therefore ever less Eurocentric.
“Europe is called to reflect and to ask itself whether its immense heritage, so permeated with Christianity, belongs in a museum or is still able to inspire culture and to offer its treasures to the whole of humankind.”
“You are meeting so as to look together at these challenges facing Europe and to highlight testimonies of life in society which enable networking, so as to welcome and show solidarity towards those who are weak and disadvantaged, to build bridges and overcome conflicts whether they are open or latent.”
In a tribute to the gathering, the Pope said ‘Together for Europe’ is a unifying power with the clear aim of translating the basic values of Christianity into concrete responses to the challenges of a continent in crisis.
“Your lifestyle is based on mutual love, lived out with Gospel radicalness. A culture of reciprocity means talking things over, esteeming one another, welcoming one another, helping one another.”
“It means appreciating the diversity of charisms so as to move together towards unity and enrich it. The tangible and clear presence of Christ among you is the witness which leads to faith.”
“Every authentic unity draws on the wealth of diversity which forms it – like a family which grows in unity in so far as its members can fully and fearlessly be themselves.”
“If Europe as a whole wants to be a family of peoples, it should put the human person back at the centre; it should be an open and welcoming continent, and continue to establish ways of working together that are not only economic but also social and cultural.”
“Make your homes, communities and cities into workshops of communion, friendship and fraternity, which can bring people together and be open to the whole world.”
He said ‘Together for Europe’ is today more necessary than ever.
“In a Europe made up of many nations, you bear witness to the fact that we are children of one Father and brothers and sisters to one another. You are a precious seed of hope, so that Europe can rediscover its vocation to contribute to the unity of all.”
Separately, on Sunday Pope Francis prayed for the victims of the terror attack in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka that occurred overnight between Friday and Saturday, and for the victims of terror attacks in Baghdad that took place late in the day on Saturday.
The Dhaka attack on a popular restaurant in the diplomatic district claimed at least 20 lives – many of them foreigners, while the attack in Baghdad’s central and commercial Karrada district claimed at least 110 lives.
A second attack in Baghdad occurred in the predominantly Shia neighborhood of the capital around midnight and killed five more people.
“I offer my closeness to the families of all the people killed and wounded in the attack that took place [early Saturday morning] in Dhaka, and in that, which took place [Saturday] in Baghdad,” said Pope Francis.
“Let us pray together,” the Holy Father continued, “let us pray together for them – for all the dead – and let us ask the Lord to convert the hearts of all those blinded by hatred.”
Pope Francis was addressing the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square for the traditional Sunday Angelus prayer.