Europe needs its Christian roots to build its future, Pope says

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Europe cannot build its future by forgoing its Christian roots which are part of its "fundamental heritage". Speaking before today's Angelus about the signing of the European constitution, which took place two days ago, Pope John Paul II reminded his audience that the Holy See has always been behind the idea of a "united Europe", but one based on "those common values that are part of its history".

For months now, a debate has raged over the absence of any reference to Europe's Christian roots from the constitution's historical preamble. An anti-Christian attitude is clearly emerging in some quarters of the European parliament. The latest episode was the exclusion of Italian Minister Rocco Buttiglione from the European Commission over the Christian attitude towards the ethics of marriage and same-sex unions.

In light of this, the Pope calls for a place for Christians in Europe and urges Christians to have courage "in bringing to all European institutions the evangelical ferment" that can guarantee peace and serve the common good.

The Pope ended by commending all the people of the continent to "Mary, Queen of Europe".

Here are the Pope's remarks at the start of the Marian prayer:

 "Last Friday, October 29, the constitutional treaty of the European Union was signed at the Campidoglio here in Rome. It was a highly significant moment in the building of the "New Europe" to which we look with confidence. Such a step was the latest stage on a road that is still long and that seems increasingly demanding."

"The Holy See has always been behind a united Europe based on those common values that are part of its history. Taking into account the continent's Christian roots means tapping into a spiritual heritage that remains fundamental in the Union's future evolution."

"I therefore hope that in the coming years Christians will bring to all European institutions the evangelical ferment that can guarantee peace and collaboration among all citizens who share the commitment to the common good.

"To Mary, Queen of Europe, we commend in our prayers all the peoples of the continent."