“Pope’s discourse on Europe was underestimated,” says Italian Vatican observer

According to an article by Vatican observer Sandro Magister of the online magazine “L’Espresso,” the discourse Pope John Paul II gave on his birthday on May 18 to Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski has been underestimated in its powerful message in favor of the religious identity of Europe.

In his discourse, the Pope recalled the 60th anniversary of the battle of Monte Casino, where many Polish Christian and Jewish soldiers lost their lives.

According to Magister, “Pope John Paul II draws two lessons out of this event: one about war and the other about Europe.”

Magister recalls that the Pope “is not a pacifist,” and just as he is capable of opposing a war that he does not consider just—as in 2003—“he does not fail to declare his support and give his reasons as to why he considers a war just.”

And about Europe, John Paul II concludes that the spiritual identity of the continent should be defended “even it costs lives.”

“The Pope does not say it with explicit words, but the allusion to the discussions taking place in Europe is transparent,” says Magister.

According to Magister, the Pope backs a proposal put forth by the Polish cultural magazine “Znak”—Polish for “sign”—which states:   "We, Europeans, aware of the richness of our heritage, drawing from the wealth of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Greek philosophy, Roman law, and humanism with both religious and non-religious roots..."

Magister’s complete column can be found at:

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