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Monday, June 30, 2003


VATICAN CITY, JUN 28, 2003 (VIS) - Today, as is customary on or near the June 29 feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, the Pope received a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, representing Patriarch Bartholomaios I. It is also a tradition for the Vatican to send a delegation to the patriarchate for the November 30 celebrations of their patron, St. Andrew.

In his address this morning in English, the Holy Father told the delegation that their presence "is a sign of the common love for Christ and an act of ecclesial fraternity, by which we reaffirm the legacy of love and unity which the Lord left to His Church, built on the Apostles. These yearly meetings nurture our fraternal relationship and they sustain our hope as we proceed step by step along the way to full communion and the overcoming of our historical divisions."

"The rapid changes taking place in today's world," he continued, "call for all Christians to show how the Gospel of Jesus Christ can shed light on the critical ethical issues facing the human family, including the urgent need to promote interreligious dialogue, to work for an end to the injustice which creates conflict and enmity between peoples, to safeguard God's creation and to meet the new challenges posed by advances in science and technology. Here in Europe, the Lord's followers especially need to cooperate in acknowledging and giving new life to the spiritual roots at the heart of this continent's history and culture."

John Paul II thanked Patriarch Bartholomaios "for the kind words and prayerful good wishes His Holiness recently offered at two conferences marking the approaching 25th anniversary of my pontificate."

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 28, 2003 (VIS) - This evening, the vigil of the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, the Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Europa" was promulgated by the Holy Father during first vespers in St. Peter's Basilica.

The full title of the document, dated today, is Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Europe" of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to the Bishops, Men and Women in the Consecrated Life and All the Lay Faithful on Jesus Christ, Alive in His Church, the Source of Hope for Europe.

The 130-page document, published in Italian, English, French, Spanish, German and Portuguese, is divided into an introduction, six chapters and a conclusion. Following are extracts from "Ecclesia in Europa."


"From the outset, a deeper appreciation of the theme of hope was the principal goal of the Second Special Assembly for Europe of the Synod of Bishops."

"The preceding Synod for Europe ... was held in 1991, following the collapse of the walls, on the theme: 'That we may be witnesses of Christ Who has set us free'. That first Special Assembly emphasized the urgent need for a 'new evangelization'.

"The (second) synodal Assembly, which met from 1 to 23 October 1999, was a precious opportunity for encounter, listening and dialogue."

"The Synod experience, lived with evangelical discernment, also led to a growing awareness of the unity that, without denying the differences derived from historical situations and events, links the various parts of Europe. It is a unity which, rooted in a common Christian inspiration, is capable of reconciling diverse cultural traditions."

"The Synod Fathers saw that possibly the most urgent matter Europe faces, in both East and West, is a growing need for hope, a hope which will enable us to give meaning to life and history and to continue on our way together."


"I. Challenges and signs of hope for the Church in Europe.

"This message is also addressed today to the Churches in Europe, often tempted by a dimming of hope. ... There are many troubling signs which at the beginning of the third millennium are clouding the horizon of the European continent."

"I would like to mention in a particular way the loss of Europe's Christian memory and heritage, accompanied by a kind of practical agnosticism and religious indifference whereby many Europeans give the impression of living without spiritual roots and somewhat like heirs who have squandered a patrimony entrusted to them by history. It is no real surprise, then, that there are efforts to create a vision of Europe which ignores its religious heritage, and in particular, its profound Christian soul, asserting the rights of the peoples who make up Europe without grafting those rights on to the trunk which is enlivened by the sap of Christianity."

"In many social settings it is easier to be identified as an agnostic than a believer. The impression is given that unbelief is self-explanatory, whereas belief needs a sort of social legitimization which is neither obvious nor taken for granted.

"This loss of Christian memory is accompanied by a kind of fear of the future. ... The signs and fruits of this existential anguish include, in particular, the diminishing number of births, the decline in the number of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and the difficulty, if not the outright refusal, to make lifelong commitments, including marriage.

"We find ourselves before a widespread existential fragmentation. A feeling of loneliness is prevalent; divisions and conflicts are on the rise."

"In connection with the spread of individualism, we see an increased weakening of interpersonal solidarity."

"At the root of this loss of hope is an attempt to promote a vision of man apart from God and apart from Christ. This sort of thinking has led to man being considered as 'the absolute centre of reality, a view which makes him occupy'falsely'the place of God and which forgets that it is not man who creates God, but rather God who creates man. ... A vast field has opened for the unrestrained development of nihilism in philosophy, of relativism in values and morality, and of pragmatism'and even a cynical hedonism'in daily life."
"This is the context for those attempts, including the most recent ones, to present European culture with no reference to the contribution of the Christian religion which marked its historical development and its universal diffusion."

"Yet, as the Synod Fathers made clear, 'man cannot live without hope: life would become meaningless and unbearable."

"If we look at Europe as a civil community, signs of hope are not lacking. ... the Synod Fathers described these signs in the following way: ... the growing openness of peoples to one another, the reconciliation between countries, ... the progressive opening up to the countries of Eastern Europe, ... mutual recognition, forms of cooperation and exchanges of all sorts are being developed, a European consciousness, is being created. ... We sincerely hope that, in creative fidelity to the humanist and Christian traditions of our continent, there will be a guarantee of the primacy of ethical and spiritual values.

"I want to point out to everyone, so that it will never be forgotten, that great sign of hope represented by the many witnesses to the Christian faith who lived in the last century, in both East and West. They found suitable ways to proclaim the Gospel amid situations of hostility and persecution, often even making the supreme sacrifice by shedding their blood."

"The Gospel continues to bear fruit in parish communities, among consecrated persons, in lay associations, in groups devoted to prayer and the apostolate and in various youth communities, as well as through the presence and growth of new movements and ecclesial realities."

"In today's Europe too, both in the post-Communist countries and in the West, the parish, while in need of constant renewal, continues to maintain and to carry out its particular mission."

"The different apostolic associations and organizations ... are a cradle for different vocations. .. They favour the holiness of the people. ... Frequently they promote the journey of ecumenism. ...They are an antidote to the spread of sects and an invaluable aid to the spread of joy and life in the Church.

"II. Returning to Christ, the source of all hope.

"From the synodal Assembly there emerged the clear and passionate certainty that the Church has to offer Europe the most precious of all gifts, a gift which no one else can give: faith in Jesus Christ, the source of the hope that does not disappoint; a gift which is at the origin of the spiritual and cultural unity of the European peoples and which both today and tomorrow can make an essential contribution to their development and integration."

"Many are the spiritual roots underlying the recognition of the value of the human person and his inalienable dignity, the sacredness of human life and the centrality of the family, the importance of education and freedom of thought, speech and religion, the legal protection of individuals and groups, the promotion of solidarity and the common good, and the recognition of the dignity of labor. These roots have helped lead to the submission of political power to the rule of law and to respect for the rights of individuals and peoples. Here we should mention the spirit of ancient Greece and Rome, the contributions of the Celtic, Germanic, Slav and Finno-Ugric peoples and the influence of Jewish and Islamic culture. Yet it must be acknowledged that these inspiring principles have historically found in the Judeo-Christian tradition a force capable of harmonizing, consolidating and promoting them. This is a fact which cannot be ignored; on the contrary, in the process of building a united Europe there is a need to acknowledge that this edifice must also be founded on values that are most fully manifested in the Christian tradition. Such an acknowledgment is to everyone's advantage."

"The Particular Churches in Europe are not simple agencies or private organizations. Rather, they carry out their work with a specific institutional dimension that merits legal recognition, in full respect for just systems of civil legislation."

"The mission of each Particular Church in Europe is to take note of every person's thirst for truth and the need for authentic values which can enliven the people living on the continent, ... demonstrating by action and by convincing arguments how the new Europe needs to rediscover its ultimate roots."


"I. The Lord calls to conversion.

"Europe has been widely and profoundly permeated by Christianity. 'There can be no doubt that, in Europe's complex history, Christianity has been a central and defining element, established on the firm foundation of the classical heritage and the multiple contributions of the various ethnic and cultural waves which have succeeded one another down the centuries. The Christian faith has shaped the culture of the Continent and is inextricably bound up with its history, to the extent that Europe's history would be incomprehensible without reference to the events which marked first the great period of evangelization and then the long centuries when Christianity, despite the painful division between East and West, came to be the religion of the European peoples."

"Down the centuries the Church has been closely linked to our continent, so that Europe's spiritual face gradually took shape thanks to the efforts of great missionaries, the witness of saints and martyrs, and the tireless efforts of monks and nuns, men and women religious and pastors. From the biblical conception of man Europe drew the best of its humanistic culture, found inspiration for its artistic and intellectual creations, created systems of law and, not least, advanced the dignity of the person as a subject of inalienable rights. The Church, as the bearer of the Gospel, thus helped to spread and consolidate those values which have made European culture universal.
"The Church in Europe is called to grow in the certainty that the Lord, through the gift of his Spirit, is ever present and at work in her midst and in all human history."

"In the face of recurring impulses to division and opposition, the different Particular Churches in Europe, strengthened also by their bond with the Successor of Peter, must be committed to being a true locus and means of communion for the whole People of God in faith and love."

"If communion in the Church is to be experienced more fully, there is a need to make the most of the variety of charisms and vocations which increasingly converge on unity and can enrich it. In this regard, the new movements and the new ecclesial communities must 'abandon every temptation to claim rights of primogeniture and every mutual incomprehension', advance along the path of more authentic communion between themselves and, with all other ecclesial realities, 'live with love in full obedience to the Bishops'.

"In order to respond to the Gospel's call to conversion, 'we must join in making a humble and courageous examination of conscience, in order to acknowledge our fears and our mistakes, sincerely confess our slowness to believe, our omissions, our infidelities and our faults'."

"Finally, the Gospel of hope is also a forceful summons to conversion in the field of ecumenism, ... essential today for greater credibility in evangelization and the growth of European unity."

"Dialogue must continue with firm resolve, undaunted by difficulties and hardship."

"We may not halt on this journey nor may we turn back!"

"I ask everyone to acknowledge and appreciate, in love and fraternity, the contribution which the Eastern Catholic Churches can offer for a more genuine building up of unity. ... At the same time I wish to assure once more the pastors and our brothers and sisters of the Orthodox Churches that the new evangelization is in no way to be confused with proselytism, without prejudice to the duty of respect for truth, for freedom and for the dignity of every person."

"II. The whole Church is sent on mission

"In a special way priests are called by virtue of their ministry to celebrate, teach and serve the Gospel of hope."

"In this context priestly celibacy also stands out as the sign of hope put totally in the Lord. Celibacy is not merely an ecclesiastical discipline imposed by authority; rather it is first and foremost a grace, a priceless gift of God for his Church."

"Celibacy is esteemed in the whole Church as fitting for the priesthood, obligatory in the Latin Church and deeply respected by the Eastern Churches. ... A revision of the present discipline in this regard would not help to resolve the crisis of vocations to the priesthood being felt in many parts of Europe."

"Together with priests I also wish to mention deacons, who share, albeit to a different degree, in the one Sacrament of Holy Orders."

"Particularly eloquent is the witness of consecrated persons. In this regard, acknowledgment must first be made of the fundamental role played by monasticism and consecrated life in the evangelization of Europe and in the shaping of its Christian identity."

"In an atmosphere poisoned by secularism and dominated by consumerism, consecrated life, as a gift of the Spirit to the Church and for the Church, becomes an ever greater sign of hope to the extent that it testifies to life's transcendent dimension."

"Some mention must be made of the disturbing shortage of seminarians and aspirants to religious life, especially in Western Europe. This situation calls for everyone to be involved in an effective pastoral programme of promoting vocations."

"The contribution of the lay faithful to the life of the Church is essential: they have an irreplaceable role in the proclamation and the service of the Gospel of hope."

"Europe yesterday and today has experienced the presence of important and illustrious examples of such lay persons."

"Equal esteem is due to the work carried out by Christian lay persons, often in the hiddenness of daily life, ... their fearless witness of charity and forgiveness, values which bring the Gospel to the vast frontiers of politics, social life, the economy, culture, ecology, international life, family life, education, professional life, the world of labor and the caring professions."

"The Church is very much aware of the specific contribution of women in service of the Gospel of hope.... Mention must be made of how much they have done, often in silence and obscurity, to receive and pass on the gift of God through physical and spiritual motherhood, education, catechesis, the accomplishment of great charitable works, through the life of prayer and contemplation, and through mystical experiences and writings rich in the wisdom of the Gospel."

"The dignity of women must be promoted above all in the Church, inasmuch as woman and man enjoy equal dignity, for both have been created in the image and likeness of God and each has been given proper and specific gifts."

"The Church has not failed to raise her voice in denunciation of injustice and the violence perpetrated against women wherever and however this occurs. She demands that laws protecting women be enforced, and that effective measures be taken against the demeaning portrayal of women in advertising and against the scourge of prostitution. She also expresses the hope that the domestic work done by mothers will be considered, like that of fathers, as a contribution to the common good, even through forms of financial retribution."


"I. Proclaiming the mystery of Christ

"Church in Europe, the 'new evangelization' is the task set before you! Rediscover the enthusiasm of proclamation. ... Let the proclamation of Jesus, which is the Gospel of hope, be your boast and your whole life."

"In various parts of Europe a first proclamation of the Gospel is needed: the number of the unbaptized is growing, both because of the significant presence of immigrants of other religions and because children born into families of Christian tradition have not received Baptism, either as a result of the Communist domination or the spread of religious indifference."

"On the 'old' continent too, there are vast social and cultural areas which stand in need of a true 'missio ad gentes'."

"A renewed proclamation is needed even for those already baptized. Many Europeans today think they know what Christianity is, yet they do not really know it at all. ... The great certainties of the faith are being undermined in many people by a vague religiosity lacking real commitment; various forms of agnosticism and practical atheism are spreading: ... some people have been affected by the spirit of an immanentist humanism, which has weakened the faith and often, tragically, led to its complete abandonment."

"Proclaiming the Gospel of hope calls for steadfast fidelity to the Gospel itself. The Church's preaching, in all its forms, must be increasingly centered on the person of Jesus and increasingly converge on him. Vigilant care must be taken that Christ is presented in his fullness."

"Europe calls out for credible evangelizers, whose lives, in communion with the Cross and Resurrection of Christ, radiate the beauty of the Gospel. Such evangelizers must be properly trained."

"Our contemporaries 'listen more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if they do listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses'."

"Christians are therefore 'called to have a faith capable of critically confronting contemporary culture and resisting its enticements; of having a real effect on the world of culture, finance, society and politics, ... of joyfully passing on the faith to new generations."

"II. Bearing witness in unity and dialogue
"The individual Particular Churches cannot face alone the challenge before them. There is need for genuine cooperation between all the Particular Churches of the Continent as an expression of their essential communion."

"The duty of fraternal and committed ecumenical cooperation also emerges as an irrevocable imperative."

"So too proclaiming the Gospel of hope calls for the establishment of a profound and perceptive interreligious dialogue, particularly with Judaism and with Islam."

"It is necessary to encourage dialogue with Judaism, knowing that it is fundamentally important for the self-knowledge of Christians and for the transcending of divisions between the Churches, and to work for the flowering of a new springtime in mutual relations. ... This engagement also implies that 'acknowledgment be given to any part which the children of the Church have had in the growth and spread of antisemitism in history; forgiveness must be sought for this from God, and every effort must be made to favour encounters of reconciliation and of friendship with the sons of Israel'."

"A proper relationship with Islam is particularly important. ... This 'needs to be conducted prudently, with clear ideas about possibilities and limits, and with confidence in God's saving plan for all his children. It is also necessary to take into account the notable gap between European culture, with its profound Christian roots, and Muslim thought."

"In this regard, Christians living in daily contact with Muslims should be properly trained in an objective knowledge of Islam and enabled to draw comparisons with their own faith. ... It is on the other hand understandable that the Church ... should feel the need to insist that reciprocity in guaranteeing religious freedom also be observed in countries of different religious traditions, where Christians are a minority."

"In this context, 'one can understand the astonishment and the feeling of frustration of Christians who welcome, for example in Europe, believers of other religions, giving them the possibility of exercising their worship, and who see themselves forbidden all exercise of Christian worship' in countries where those believers are in the majority and have made their own religion the only one admitted and promoted. The human person has a right to religious freedom, and all people, in every part of the world, should be immune from coercion on the part of individuals, social groups and every human power."

"III. Evangelizing the life of society

"The proclamation of Jesus Christ must also reach contemporary European culture. ... Pastoral practice must undertake the task of shaping a Christian mentality in ordinary life: in families, in schools, in social communications, in cultural life, in the workplace and the economy, in politics, in leisure-time, in health and in sickness."
"An important part of any program for the evangelization of culture is the service rendered by Catholic schools."

"Nor should we overlook the positive contribution made by the wise use of the cultural treasures of the Church."

"I encourage the Church in Europe to give greater attention to the training of young people in the faith. As we look to the future, we cannot but think of them: we need to make contact with the minds, the hearts and the character of the young in order to provide them with a sound human and Christian formation."

"To this end, there is need for a renewed youth ministry, organized by age groups and attentive to the varying situations of children, adolescents and young adults. It will also be necessary to provide this ministry with a more organic structure and consistency, and to be patiently concerned with the questions raised by young people, in order to make them protagonists of the evangelization and the building of society."

"Given the importance of the means of social communication, the Church in Europe must necessarily pay particular attention to the multi-faceted world of the mass media. This would include, among other things: the adequate training of Christians who work in the field of communications and of those who make use of the media, for a better understanding of the new kinds of language employed in the media.

"As I stepped through the Holy Door at the beginning of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, I held high the Book of the Gospels, showing it to the Church and to the world. This same ritual action, carried out by all the Bishops in the different cathedrals of the world, points to the task awaiting the Church of our Continent now and for ever.

"Church in Europe, enter the new millennium with the Book of the Gospels! ... May the Holy Bible continue to be a treasure for the Church and for every Christian."

"Let us take up this book! Let us receive it from the Lord who continually offers it to us through his Church. Let us devour it so that it can become our very life. Let us savour it deeply."


"Church of God dwelling in Europe, you too are called to be a community which prays, celebrating your Lord in the Sacraments, in the liturgy and in your whole life."

"I. Rediscovering the Liturgy

"Despite the dechristianization of vast areas of the European Continent, there are signs which suggest an image of a Church which, in believing, proclaims, celebrates and serves her Lord."

"Together with the many examples of genuine faith, there also exists in Europe a vague and at times deviant religiosity. ... There are evident signs of a flight to spiritualism, of religious and esoteric syncretism, of a frantic search for extraordinary events, even to the point of making aberrant decisions, such as joining dangerous sects or engaging in pseudo-religious experiences."

"I urgently invite you, the Church living in Europe: be a Church that prays, praises God, recognising his absolute primacy, magnifying him with joyful faith. Rediscover the sense of mystery: .... Celebrate the salvation which comes from Christ."

"It is, therefore, urgent that the authentic sense of the liturgy be revived in the Church."

"This involves experiencing the liturgy as a work of the Trinity."

"The liturgy must be lived as proclamation and anticipation of our future glory."

"Although in the period following the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council real progress has been made towards experiencing the authentic meaning of the liturgy, much remains to be done. Continual renewal and constant training are needed for everyone: the ordained, consecrated persons and the laity."

"II. Celebrating the Sacraments

"A prominent place needs to be given to the celebration of the sacraments, as actions of Christ and of the Church ordered to the worship of God, to the sanctification of people and to the building up of the ecclesial community. ... The Synod Fathers have stressed the need for this in order to respond to two dangers: on the one hand, certain sectors of the Church seem to have lost sight of the genuine meaning of the sacraments and might trivialize the mysteries being celebrated; while on the other hand, many of the baptized, following customs and traditional practices, continue to have recourse to the Sacraments at significant moments of their life, yet do not live in accordance with the Church's teaching."

"Faced with the widespread loss of the sense of sin and the growth of a mentality marked by relativism and subjectivism in morality, every ecclesial community needs to provide for the serious formation of consciences. The Synod Fathers have insisted on the recognition of the reality of personal sin and the necessity of personal forgiveness by God through the ministry of the priest. Collective absolutions are not an alternative way of administering the Sacrament of Reconciliation."

"Together with the celebration of the Eucharist, there is also a need to promote other forms of community prayer. ... In particular, in fidelity to the tradition of the Latin Church, different forms of Eucharistic worship outside of Mass should be promoted: private adoration, Eucharistic exposition and processions, which should be seen as an expression of faith in the continuing real presence of the Lord in the Sacrament of the Altar."
"Special consideration also needs to be given to popular piety."

"With regard to popular piety, constant vigilance is needed in order to prevent ambiguities in certain of its manifestations, to preserve them from secularizing influences, crass commercialization or even the risk of superstition, and to keep them within sound and authentic forms."

"Consequently I renew my encouragement to 'recover the deepest meaning of the day of the Lord. Sunday should be sanctified by sharing in the Eucharist and by rest enriched with Christian joy and fellowship. ... There should be no fear, then, of defending the Lord's day against every attack and making every effort to ensure that in the organization of labor it is safeguarded, so that it can be a day meant for man, to the benefit of all society."


"In order to serve the Gospel of hope, the Church in Europe is also called to follow the path of love."

"I. The service of charity

"By its very nature the witness of charity must extend beyond the confines of ecclesial communities and reach out to every person, so that love for everyone can become a stimulus to authentic solidarity in every part of society."

"II. Serving men and women in society

"Preferential love for the poor is a necessary dimension of Christian existence and service to the Gospel."

"There is a need, then, to confront the challenge of unemployment, which in many nations of Europe represents a grave blight on society. To this can be added the problems connected with the increase in migration."

"Due importance must also be given to the pastoral care of the sick. Since sickness is a situation which raises fundamental questions about the meaning of life, 'in a prosperous and efficient society, in a culture characterized by idolatry of the body, dismissal of suffering and pain and by the myth of perennial youth, the care of the sick is to be considered a priority'."

"The Church in Europe at every level must faithfully proclaim anew the truth about marriage and the family. ... The value of marital indissolubility is increasingly denied; demands are made for the legal recognition of de facto relationships as if they were comparable to legitimate marriages; and attempts are made to accept a definition of the couple in which difference of sex is not considered essential.

"In this context the Church is called to proclaim with renewed vigour what the Gospel teaches about marriage and the family, in order to grasp their meaning and value in God's saving plan."

"With respect to young people and engaged couples, particular attention must be given to providing education in love."

"The faithful who are divorced and civilly remarried ... are not excluded from the community; rather, they are encouraged to share in its life, while undertaking a journey of growth in the spirit of the Gospel's demands."

"The (ageing population) and the declining population in various European countries cannot fail to be a cause of concern."

"Together with the decline in the birthrate, ... mention should be made of other factors. ... Sadly, among these factors must be numbered, first of all, the spread of abortion, also through the use of chemical-pharmaceutical preparations which make abortion possible without the involvement of a physician and in a way detached from any form of social responsibility. This is favored by the fact that the legal systems of many European countries contain legislation permitting an act which remains an 'abominable crime' and which always constitutes a grave moral disorder. Mention must also be made of attacks involving 'forms of intervention on human embryos'."

"We must also mention the presence of a tendency in certain parts of Europe to consider it permissible to make a conscious decision to end one's own life or that of another human being: the result is the spread of covert, or even openly practiced euthanasia, the legalization of which is often sought and, tragically, at times achieved.

"Given this state of affairs, it is necessary 'to serve the Gospel of life' through 'a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life'."

"The challenges presently facing our service of the Gospel of hope include the growing phenomenon of immigration, which calls on the Church's ability to welcome each person regardless of the people or nation to which he or she belongs. This phenomenon is also prompting European society and its institutions as a whole to seek a just order and forms of coexistence capable of respecting everyone, as well as the demands of legality, within a feasible process of integration."

"The phenomenon of migration challenges Europe's ability to provide for forms of intelligent acceptance and hospitality."

"Everyone must work for the growth of a mature culture of acceptance which, in taking into account the equal dignity of each person and need for solidarity with the less fortunate, calls for the recognition of the fundamental rights of each immigrant. Public authorities have the responsibility of controlling waves of migration with a view to the requirements of the common good. The acceptance of immigrants must always respect the norms of law and must therefore be combined, when necessary, with a firm suppression of abuses."
"III. Let us commit ourselves to charity!

"To you, the Church of Christ in Europe. The joys and hopes, the sorrows and anxieties of contemporary Europeans, especially the poor and the suffering, must also be your joys and your hopes, your sorrows and your anxieties. May nothing which is genuinely human lack an echo in your heart."


"I. Europe's spiritual vocation. The history of the European continent has been distinctively marked by the life-giving influence of the Gospel."

"There can be no doubt that the Christian faith belongs, in a radical and decisive way, to the foundations of European culture. Christianity in fact has shaped Europe, impressing upon it certain basic values. Modern Europe itself, which has given the democratic ideal and human rights to the world, draws its values from its Christian heritage."

"In the process of transformation which it is now undergoing, Europe is called above all to rediscover its true identity."

"In the process of the continent's integration, it is of capital importance to remember that the union will lack substance if it is reduced to its merely geographic and economic dimensions; rather, it must consist above all in an agreement about the values which must find expression in its law and in its life. "

"More recent ethnic conflicts, which have again led to bloodshed on the continent of Europe, have once more demonstrated to everyone how fragile peace is, how it requires an active commitment on the part of all, and how it can be ensured only by opening up new prospects of exchange, forgiveness and reconciliation between individuals, peoples and nations.

"In this state of affairs, Europe, with all its inhabitants, needs to work tirelessly to build peace within its borders and throughout the world."

"II. The Building Up of Europe

"Together with the Synod Fathers, I ask these same European institutions and the individual states of Europe to recognize that a proper ordering of society must be rooted in authentic ethical and civil values shared as widely as possible by its citizens; at the same time I would note that these values are the patrimony, in the first place, of the various social bodies. It is important that the institutions and the individual states recognize that these social bodies also include Churches and Ecclesial Communities and other religious organizations."

"In the light of what I have just emphasized, I wish once more to appeal to those drawing up the future European constitutional treaty, so that it will include a reference to the religious and in particular the Christian heritage of Europe. While fully respecting the secular nature of the institutions, I consider it desirable especially that three complementary elements should be recognized: the right of Churches and religious communities to organize themselves freely in conformity with their statutes and proper convictions; respect for the specific identity of the different religious confessions and provision for a structured dialogue between the European Union and those confessions; and respect for the juridical status already enjoyed by Churches and religious institutions by virtue of the legislation of the member states of the Union."

"For Europe to be built on solid foundations, there is a need to call upon authentic values grounded in the universal moral law written on the heart of every man and woman."

"I repeat to you again today: Europe, as you stand at the beginning of the third millennium, 'Open the doors to Christ! Be yourself. Rediscover your origins. Relive your roots'."

"Do not be afraid! The Gospel is not against you, but for you. This is confirmed by the fact that Christian inspiration is capable of transforming political, cultural and economic groupings into a form of coexistence in which all Europeans will feel at home and will form a family of nations from which other areas of the world can draw fruitful inspiration."

"Be confident! In the Gospel, which is Jesus, you will find the sure and lasting hope to which you aspire."

"Be certain! The Gospel of hope does not disappoint!

"CONCLUSION. Entrustment to Mary

"Church in Europe! Continue to contemplate Mary, in the knowledge that she is 'maternally present and sharing in the many complicated problems which today beset the lives of individuals, families, and nations' and is 'helping the Christian people in the constant struggle between good and evil, to ensure that it 'does not fall', or, if it has fallen, that it 'rises again'."

"To her, Mother of hope and consolation, we confidently lift up our prayer: to her we entrust the future of the Church in Europe and the future of all the women and men of this continent."

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 28, 2003 (VIS) - Today at noon in the Holy See Press Office, there was the presentation of the Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Europa." Cardinals Jan P. Schotte, C.I.C.M., and Antonio Maria Ruoco Varela, respectively secretary general of the Synod of Bishops and archbishop of Madrid, Spain, spoke during the press conference, as did Archbishops Vincent Gerard Nichols of Birmingham, England and Jozef Miroslaw Zycinski of Lublin, Poland.

Cardinal Schotte recalled that the Synod of Bishops' Special Assembly for Europe, which took place from October 1 to 23, 1999 on the theme "Jesus Christ Alive in His Church, Source of Hope for Europe," was the second synod celebrated for this continent. The first one took place in 1991, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Cardinal Ruoco Varela emphasized that the main theme of the document is hope. Along with the shadows, he said, "there are also signs of hope in Europe. The Church is convinced that it has a treasure to offer to Europe, really its only treasure and hope: Jesus Christ. It is the best and most specific contribution that can be made for the building of Europe. It knows from experience, since she has contributed to shaping Europe's identity in a decisive way. If the values that have given a place to the humanist culture of Europe have many roots, these influences have historically found in Christianity the strength to harmonize, consolidate and promote them."

Archbishop Nichols spoke of the significance of the post-syndol exhortation for the Catholic communities of Western Europe, which can be presented under three headings: "The clear statement of a vision and expectations for our European venture, and the part the Christian faith plays in it; The call to conversion and renewal, in communion and mission, for the Catholic Church; and the relationship it envisages between the shared public and political life of Europe and the faith - or faiths - of its people."



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!"



VATICAN CITY, JUN 29, 2003 (VIS) - At 6 p.m. today in St. Peter's Square, the Pope presided at a Eucharistic celebration during which he blessed and imposed the palliums on 40 metropolitan archbishops from different countries who were appointed in the last year. A delegation of the ecumenical patriarchate from Constantinople headed by His Eminence Demetrios, Greek-Orthodox archbishop of America, was present.

In his homily, the Pope invited those present to think about the "vocation and the personal history of the apostles Peter and Paul, whose apostolic duty and mission was proportional to the depth of their conversion. Tried by the bitter experience of human misery, they were freed by the Lord."

Addressing the 40 metropolitan archbishops (two other archbishops will receive the pallium in their respective sees), the Holy Father said: "Imitating the Good Shepherd, take care of the faithful of your communities. Convey to them my cordial greetings, and assure them that the Pope prays for everyone, especially for those undergoing harsh trials and great difficulties."

"The joy of today's feast," he continued, "becomes more intense due to the presence of the delegation sent this year by His Holiness Bartholomaios I, ecumenical patriarch. The Lord, who knows our weaknesses and doubts, promises us His help to overcome the obstacles that impede the concelebration of one Eucharist. For this reason, beloved brothers and sisters, to welcome you and to have you alongside us in this solemn liturgical gathering makes our hope more firm and gives specific shape to that desire that induces us to full communion."

"As bishop of Rome and successor of Peter, in the significant setting of this feast, I renew today my full availability to put my person at the service of communion among all disciples of Christ. Help me, dear brothers and sisters, with the incessant help of your prayer. Invoke for me the heavenly intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, and the apostle saints Peter and Paul."

The Pope concluded by saying: "May God help us to fulfill the mission which he has entrusted to us in complete fidelity to the last day, in order to form one heart and one soul in the bond of his love."

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 29, 2003 (VIS) - At noon today, Pope John Paul appeared at the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square and, in remarks made before praying the Angelus, noted that "we are celebrating the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul whom we venerate as the 'pillars' of the Church."

"The diocese of Rome is especially festive today as its very roots are in the witness given by the two great Apostles. Peter, chosen by Christ as the 'rock' on which He built His Church, was crucified not far from here on the Vatican hill, and his tomb is the symbolic center of the Catholic faith. Paul, decapitated at the gates of Rome, was a model of evangelization and his Letters, a notable part of the New Testament, never cease to attract to Christ men and women of today."

"As I do every year," said the Holy Father, "at 6 this evening in St. Peter's Square, I will preside at a Eucharistic celebration and bestow on numerous metropolitan archbishops the sacred pallium, a sign of communion with the Holy See."

"According to a long tradition which is reason for great joy," he concluded, "a delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarch, His Holiness Bartholomaios I, will be present this evening. The exchange of delegations by Rome and Constantinople for the feasts of their respective patrons, goes well beyond an act of ecclesial courtesy. It mirrors the deep and well-rooted intention of reestablishing full communion between the East and West. I thank Patriarch Bartholomaios who entrusted to his delegation the duty of representing him."

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 30, 2003 (VIS) - Today in the Holy See Press office, Archbishops Jean-Louis Tauran, secretary for Relations with States, and Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, presented the book "Words That Matter," which gathers in one volume speeches by representatives of the Holy See to international institutions between 1970 and 2000. The book was edited by Archbishop Andre Dupuy, apostolic nuncio in Venezuela. He also spoke during the presentation.

Archbishop Tauran said he hoped that leaders and diplomats will be inspired by this book "in their search for reasonable, peaceful, fair and impartial resolutions, capable of solving conflicts and of banning force from international life. May this book help (people) to better understand the basic reason for the presence of the Holy See in the midst of the community of Nations: to be the voice that human consciences await!"

Archbishop Martino affirmed that the volume, nearly 800 pages long, covers topics that go from "the right to religious freedom to social development, from the right to peace to the right to life, from the rights of women and children to the rights of refugees."

For his part, Archbishop Dupuy made it clear that this "is a work instrument meant for experts in international law, a text for diplomats to consult and for whoever wishes to better know the Holy See's position on certain international questions."

"Words That Matter," he added, "contains speeches given by Holy See delegations before international organizations and during international conferences and meetings that took place over a period of 30 years, from 1970 to 2000. There are 1,310 documents. The speeches given by the Holy Father John Paul II in the context of bilateral and multilateral diplomacy will be part of another volume in the future."
The nuncio in Venezuela concluded by noting that "a CD-ROM published with the book contains the complete text of the majority of the speeches cited in the sources. In fact, for several of them, a very small number, there are only summaries."



VATICAN CITY, JUN 30, 2003 (VIS) - This morning in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father welcomed the 40 metropolitan archbishops who received the pallium last evening, accompanied by their relatives and friends. He addressed those present in their native languages, including Italian, French, English, German, Spanish. Portuguese, Hungarian and Russian, and named each of the individual sees represented.

"Your presence reflects the universality of the Church," he told the archbishops. "Wearing the pallium, which symbolizes the very close bond that links you to the See of Peter, promote the spirit of communion of your particular Churches, announcing and giving witness of the Risen Jesus Christ through ecclesial action that infuses hope and animates charity."

"In naming your sees," the Pope stated, "we have touched upon numerous and diverse regions of the world. It is the world that God so loved that He sent His only Son to save it. It is to this world, through the same love, that the Church in which you are pastors is sent. Armed with the pallium, a sign of communion with the Apostolic See, go forth! Put out into the deep. May the saintly Apostles Peter and Paul always watch over your ministry, and may Mary Most Holy, Queen of the Apostles, protect you!"

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VATICAN CITY, JUN 30, 2003 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father received in audience three prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India:

- Archbishop Ignatius Paul Pinto of Bangalore.

- Bishop Joji Govindu of Nalgonda.

- Bishop Doraboina Moses Prakasam of Cuddapah.

On Saturday June 28 the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Members of the Presidency of the Latin American Episocopal Council (CELAM):

- Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, archbishop of Santiago de Chile, Chile, president.

- Bishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Texcoco, Mexico, first vice-president.

- Bishop Geraldo Lyrio Rocha, archbishop of Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil, second vice-president.

- Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Saenz, archbishop of Bogota, Colombia, president of the Economic Committee.

- Bishop Ramon Benito de la Rosa y Carpio of Nuestra Senora de la Altagracia en Higuey, Dominican Republic, secretary general.

- Two prelates from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India:

- Bishop Johannes Gorantla of Kurnool.

- Bishop Paul Maipan of Khammam.

- Professor Carl Albert Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus.

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VATICAN CITY, 30 JUN 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Macao, China presented by Bishop Domingos Laam Ka Tseung upon having reached the age limit. Coadjutor Bishop Jos‚ Lai Hung-Seng succeeds him.

- Appointed Fr. Datus Hilarion Lega, director of Caritas in Indonesia, as bishop of Manokwari-Sorong (area 111,835, population 556,583, Catholics 54,567, priests 25, religious 81), Indonesia. The bishop-elect was born in 1956 in Kupang, Indonesia and was ordained a priest in 1984. He suceeds Bishop Francis Xavier Sudartana Hadisumarta, O. Carm, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted in accordance with Canon 401, para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

It was made public on Saturday June 28 that the Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, O.C.D., of Malolos, Philippines, as bishop of the Prelature of the Infant (area 7,189, population 430,734, Catholics 387,660, priests 37, permanent deacons 1, religious 40), Philippines. He succeeds Bishop Julio X. Labayen, O.C.D., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same prelature the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Erected the diocese of Cubao, the Philippines, with territory taken from the archidiocese of Manila, the Philippines, making it a suffragen of the same metropolitan Church.

- Appointed Bishop Honesto F. Ongtioco of Balanga, the Philippines, as bishop of Cubao (area 76, population 1,238,760, Catholics 1,090,108, priests 15, religious 1,587), Philippines.

- Erected the diocese of Kalookan, the Philippines, with territory taken from the archdiocese of Manila, making it a suffragen of the same metropolitan Church.

- Appointed Bishop Deogracias S.Iniguez of Iba, the Philippines, as bishop of de Kalookan (area 55, population 1,221,412, Catholicss 1,099,270, priests 26, religious 47), the Philippines.

- Erected the diocese of Pasig, the Philippines, with territory taken from the archdiocese of Manila, making it a suffragen of the same metropolitan Church.

- Appointed Bishop Francisco C. San Diego of San Pablo, the Philippines, as bishop of Pasig (area 67, population 1,156,000, Catholics 1,040,400, priests 36, religious 104), the Philippines.

- Appointed Fr. Heriberto Andres Bodeant Fernandez, pastor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Paysandu, Uruguay, as auxiliary bishop of Salto (area 50,248, population 320,000, Catholics 290,000, priests 37, religious 107), Uruguay. The bishop-elect was born in 1955 in Young, Uruguay and was ordained a priest in 1986.

- Appointed as members of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches: Archbishops Lucian Muresan of Fagaras and Alba Iulia, Romania and Cyril Baselios Malancharuvil of Trivandrum of the Syro-Malankars, India.

- Appointed Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel of Addis Abeba, Ethiopia as consultor of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

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