Leaders underscore role of Christianity in new Europe

.- Several bishops and political and financial leaders present this week at the 2004 European Pilgrimage of Young People in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, underscored the role Christianity has in the building of the new Europe.

Archbishop Antonio Cañizares Llovera of Toledo said Christian inspiration can transform the political, cultural and economic integration of the continent so that all Europeans feel at home and form a family of nations built on trust.  “Santiago is the common home where we look forward to this new Europe in which life is defended above all else,” he said.

Likewise, regarding his experience as a pilgrim, the Archbishop, who traveled the Way of St. James with a large group from his archdioceses, including 740 young people, said that it was very joyful for him as bishop and pastor. 

Michael Camdessus, ex-managing director of the International Monetary Fund, presented a conference entitled, “The Europe of Hope,’ in which he underscored that the continent is a privileged place of human hope, a place of communication in which, for the first time, peoples of very different standards of living are united together and the more privileged countries should welcome them and recognize their Christian roots.

Marcelino Oreja, member of the European Union Commission, pointed out that the Way of St. James is like a European cultural itinerary.  “It is the sum of all spiritual, religious and cultural values.”

In his conclusion he underscored the ideal of a United Europe, referring to a phrase by Winston Churchill: “No more war between us.”  For Christians, he said, the hope of Europe is the unity of the faith.


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