“The future of Europe,” the Pope said, depends on the recovery of the “vital connection” between heaven and earth. The peoples of Europe, he added, have always been distinguished by “openness to the transcendent – to God.” Therefore, a “Europe which is no longer open to the transcendent dimension of life is a Europe which risks slowly losing its own soul,” he said.
Christianity’s contribution to Europe, the Pope continued, “does not represent a threat to the secularity of states or to the independence of the institutions of the European Union, but rather an enrichment.”
Citing an ancient text, the Pope said that “Christians are to the world what the soul is to the body.” The role of Christians in society “is to support the body, to be its conscience and its historical memory,” the Pope said. “A two-thousand-year-old history links Europe and Christianity… This history, in large part, must still be written. It is our present and our future. It is our identity,” he said.