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Monday, June 30, 2003


VATICAN CITY, JUN 28, 2003 (VIS) - During vespers this evening in St. Peter's Basilica, Pope John Paul II signed and promulgated the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Europa," noting that the document was the result of what had emerged during the October 1999 synod for Europe.

Repeating the synod's theme - "Jesus Christ, Living in His Church, Source of Hope for Europe" - the Holy Father said "that Christ is alive in His Church emerges from the two millennia-old history of Christianity. From the Eastern shores of the Mediterranean, the Gospel message was spread throughout the Roman empire, then became part of the many ethnic and cultural branches present on the European continent. To all of these the Church - precisely named 'catholic' - communicated the one and universal message of Christ."

The Pope added that "the Good News has been and continues to be a source of life for Europe. If it is true that Christianity, which does not belong to any particular culture, but dialogues with each one to orient it to express the best of itself in every field of human knowledge and action, its Christian roots are for Europe the principal guarantee of its future. Can a tree without roots survive and develop? Europe, don't forget your history!"

"The purity of the essence of the Gospel has unfortunately experiences, over the centuries, some pollution due to the limits and sins of several members of the Church. For this reason I felt the need, during the Great Jubilee Year 2000, to become the interpreter of the call for pardon, especially for several painful divisions that happened precisely in Europe and which wounded the Mystical Body of Christ."

In closing, John Paul II said that the Apostolic Exhortation "is an invitation (to everyone in Europe) to renew without reservations their adhesion to Christ and His Gospel. Only You, Jesus Christ, living in Your Church, are the source of hope!"


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