"The uniqueness of Europe rests above all on its conception of the human being and of reality, on its capacity for initiative and on its spirit of practical solidarity," he commented.
He said that he dreamed of a Europe in which everyone was recognized for their "intrinsic worth," rather than as "a mere consumer," where human life was protected from the womb to the tomb, and with employment opportunities for the young.
The Europe he envisaged, he said, was both a family and a community.
"Being a family entails living in unity, treasuring differences, beginning with the fundamental difference between man and woman," he said.
He continued: "A divided Europe, made up of insular and independent realities, will soon prove incapable of facing the challenges of the future."
"On the other hand, a Europe that is a united and fraternal community will be able to value diversity and acknowledge the part that each has to play in confronting the problems that lie ahead, beginning with the pandemic and including the ecological challenge of preserving our natural resources and the quality of the environment in which we live."
"We are faced with the choice between a model of life that discards people and things, and an inclusive model that values creation and creatures."
The pope said that he longed for a Europe that was inclusive, generous, welcoming, and hospitable. He appealed for an "intelligent solidarity" that goes beyond simply addressing basic needs.
He wrote: "Solidarity involves being a neighbor to others. In the case of Europe, this means becoming especially ready and willing, through international cooperation, to offer generous assistance to other continents. I think particularly of Africa, where there is a need to resolve ongoing conflicts and to pursue a sustainable human development."
He added that "intelligent solidarity" also needed to be extended to migrants.
"It is clear that a proper acceptance of migrants must not only assist those newly arrived, who are often fleeing conflict, hunger or natural disasters, but must also work for their integration, enabling them 'to learn, respect and assimilate the culture and traditions of the nations that welcome them,'" he said, citing a 2017 address he gave to COMECE.
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Members of COMECE are expected to hold meetings with the authorities of the European Union via video connection during COMECE's Oct. 28-29 autumn meeting in Brussels.
In his letter, the pope called for a "healthy secularism" in Europe, where believers were free to profess their faith in public.
"The era of confessional conflicts is over, but so too -- let us hope -- is the age of a certain laicism closed to others and especially to God, for it is evident that a culture or political system that lacks openness to transcendence proves insufficiently respectful of the human person," he observed.
"Christians today have a great responsibility: they are called to serve as a leaven in reviving Europe's conscience and help to generate processes capable of awakening new energies in society. I urge them, therefore, to contribute with commitment, courage and determination to every sector in which they live and work."