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Monday, July 21, 2003


VATICAN CITY, JUL 20, 2003 (VIS) - This morning, in the courtyard of the summer papal residence, the Holy Father recited the Angelus with the pilgrims who had come to Castelgandolfo, and also reflected on the future European constitution and Europe's strong bonds with Christianity.

He noted that recent months had been dedicated to editing the new constitution, "whose definitive version will be approved by an intergovernmental conference starting next October. Even the Church feels the duty to offer her contribution to this important task which involves all components of European society."

He went on to say that the Church "recalls, among other things, as I noted in the Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation 'Ecclesia in Europa', that 'Europe has been broadly and deeply penetrated by Christianity'. This constitutes, in the continent's complex history, a central and qualifying element that has become consolidated on the basis of the classic legacy and the diverse contributions offered by the cultural-ethnic flow that has taken place over the centuries."

"We could say that the Christian faith has formed the culture of Europe, becoming one with its history and, notwithstanding the painful division between East and West, Christianity has become 'the religion of the Europeans themselves'. Its influence has remained notable, even in the modern and contemporary era, despite the strong and widespread phenomenon of secularization."

In concluding remarks, John Paul II said: "The Church knows that her interest for Europe comes from her very mission. As the deposit of the Gospel, she has promoted those values which have made the European culture universally appreciated. This patrimony cannot vanish. Rather, the new Europe must be helped 'to build itself in revitalizing the Christian roots that gave origin to it."



VATICAN CITY, JUL 19, 2003 (VIS) - This morning, in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, Pope John Paul welcomed 1500 participants in the European symposium taking place in Rome to mark the seventh centenary of the city's oldest university, La Sapienza. The theme of the meeting, which has drawn university rectors, professors and students as well as priests and bishops from throughout Europe, is "The University and the Church in Europe."

The Pope noted that the relationship between the Church and universities "leads us directly to the heart of Europe, where civilization succeeded in expressing itself through one of its most symbolic institutions. We are in the 13th and 14th centuries: the era in which humanism took form as a happy synthesis between theological and philosophical knowledge and the other sciences. This is a synthesis that is unthinkable without Christianity and therefore without the centuries-long work of evangelization undertaken by the Church in her encounter with the multiple ethnic and cultural realities of the continent."

The university plays an irreplaceable role in building Europe's present and future culture, said the Holy Father. He underscored that the university "is, par excellence, the place of research of the truth" and, though the university must be well inserted into the social and economic fabric, it cannot be servile to their needs, or the price will be the loss of its own nature, which is mainly cultural."

John Paul II noted two ways the Church can contribute to universities: "with the presence of teachers and students who now how to unite scientific competency and rigor with an intense spiritual life" and "through Catholic universities which actuate the legacy of ancient universities, which were born 'ex corde Ecclesiae' (from the heart of the Church)."

He also stressed "the importance of 'cultural laboratories' ... in which a constructive dialogue takes place between faith and culture, between science, philosophy and theology, and ethics are considered an intrinsic need of research for an authentic service to man."

In closing remarks, the Pope asked everyone to make good use of their talents and said he hoped they would "collaborate in always promoting the life and dignity of man."

Following greetings in French, English, German, Spanish and Polish, the Holy Father then lit a torch which a relay team would bring to the Church of St. Ivo at Sapienza, visiting various other universities in Rome on the way.



VATICAN CITY, JUL 20, 2003 (VIS) - Following the recitation of the Angelus with the faithful who had gathered in the courtyard of the Apostolic palace at Castelgandolfo, the Pope recalled the death, 100 years ago today, of his predecessor, Leo XIII. Pope Leo XIII reigned for 25 years and five months, making his the third longest pontificate in history. Pope John Paul's is the fourth longest.

The Holy Father noted that Leo XIII, "remembered above all as the Pope of 'Rerum novarum', the encyclical that marked the start of the modern social doctrine of the Church, developed a broad magisterium; in particular he relaunched Thomistic studies and promoted the growth of the spiritual life of the Christian people. In this year of the Rosary, we cannot forget that Leo XIII dedicated 10 encyclicals to the Rosary. Today we fervently thank the Lord for this great Pontiff."

The Pope's remarks were followed by greetings in French, English, German, Spanish and Portuguese.

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