Vatican City, May 2, 2004 / 22:00 pm
After praying the Regina Coeli from his study window with the crowd gathered in St. Peters square the Pope commented on the entrance of 10 countries, including his native Poland, into the European Union, and forcefully reiterated the need to remember that “the history of the formation of European nations goes side by side with evangelization.”
"The unity of European peoples," he said, "if it wishes to be lasting, cannot be just economic and political…the soul of Europe today remains united because it has as a reference point common human and Christian values…Thus, notwithstanding the spiritual crises that have marked the life of the continent up to our days, its identity cannot be understood without Christianity."
He stessed that it was "precisely for this reason the Church has wished, in recent years, to give a number of contributions to the consolidation of (Europe's) cultural and spiritual unity.”
“Only a Europe which does not remove, but rather rediscovers its own Christian roots can be up to the great challenges of the third millennium: peace, dialogue among cultures and religions, and the preservation of creation,” said the Holy Father.