Bucharest, Romania, May 31, 2019 / 05:13 am
The Catholic Church wants to continue to be an active and contributive member of Romanian society, Pope Francis told the president and authorities of the Eastern European country Friday.
The Catholic Church “desires to contribute to the building up of society,” he said May 31, on the first of a three-day trip to the Romanian cities of Bucharest, Bacau, Sumuleu-Ciuc, and Blaj.
He explained that the Catholic Church is “no stranger” to patriotism; “she shares fully in the spirit of the nation,” as can be seen in the participation of Catholics “in the shaping of the country’s future and in the creation and development of the structures of integral education and forms of charitable assistance suited to a modern state.”
“In this way, she desires to contribute to the building up of society and of civil and spiritual life in your beautiful land of Romania,” he stated.
Pope Francis travels to the country 20 years after the apostolic visit of St. Pope John Paul II in May 1999. At the time, John Paul II was prevented from traveling outside of the country’s capital of Bucharest, whereas Francis will also be visiting the Catholic communities in the regions of Transylvania and Moldova.
“I am happy to find myself in this, your ţara frumoasă (beautiful land), twenty years after the visit of Saint John Paul II,” the pope said, “and in this semester when Romania, for the first time since its entrance into the European Union, holds the presidency of the Council of Europe.”
Speaking about the Catholic Church in Romania, he explained that it wants “to be a sign of harmony in the hope of unity and to be at the service of human dignity and the common good.”
“She wishes to cooperate with the civil authorities, with the other Churches and with all men and women of good will, journeying together with them and placing her specific gifts at the service of the entire community,” he said.