On the eve of a crucial meeting in Brussels that will define the new European Constitution Pope John Paul II insisted that Europe must keep its Christian identity.
Presiding on Thursday evening at a Mass for 10,000 students from universities in Rome in preparation for Christmas, the Pontiff said “the most intimate human aspirations find their full response only in God. For this reason I encourage you, dear ones, to see to it that your formatives years be ceaselessly sustained by seeking God.”
John Paul II underscored that many of the students present in the basilica had taken part in the congress of recent days promoted by the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe and by the Rome diocesan office for campus ministry “which dedicated its attention to the process of European integration.”
“In this process you too, who are part of the university world, must offer your contribution. For European unity, great importance is given to social, political and economic structures but the humanistic and spiritual aspects must absolutely not be overlooked,” he added.
“It is indispensable for Europe today,” the Pope insisted, “to preserve its patrimony of values and to recognize that it was Christianity above all that was the force behind promoting them, reconciling them and consolidating them.”
Then, in a reference to Christmas, the Pope said, “This is a privileged occasion to underline the most heartfelt Christian values. With the birth of Jesus, in the simplicity and poverty of Bethlehem, God gave again dignity to the life of every human being; He offered everyone the possibility of participating in his own divine life. May this incomparable gift always find hearts ready to receive it!”