Reflections on the Teaching of Vatican II Through the Magisterium of John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
(Talk 3, unscripted version of the October 3 talk) “EUROPE, RETURN TO JESUS!” by Pope Francis
“EUROPE, RETURN TO
(Talk 3, unscripted version of the October 3 talk)
by Pope Francis
Dear brother bishops,
I greet all of you with affection on the occasion of the plenary assembly
of the Council of the Bishops' Conferences of Europe. And I thank
Cardinal Peter Erdõ for the words with which he introduced this meeting.
I will have this address distributed to you and permit myself to say a
few things that are in my heart and that the words of His Eminence have
brought to the surface.
What is happening today in Europe? What is going on in the heart of our
mother Europe? Is she still our mother Europe, or grandma Europe? Is she
still fertile? Has she fallen into sterility? Is she unable to give new
life? For one thing, this Europe has committed a few sins. We must say
this with love: it has not wanted to recognize one of its roots. And
because of this it feels and does not feel Christian. Or it feels
Christian somewhat in secret, but doesn't want to recognize it, this
The Europe of today has been invaded. It may be the second invasion of
the barbarians, I don't know. First it opened its doors in order to
profit from labor. But now it feels this “invasion” of people who are
coming to look for work, who are fleeing from their homeland in search of
freedom and a better life.
Europe is wounded. I'll go back to that image that says so much to me,
and I say that the Church today seems to me like a field hospital because
there are so many wounded in the Church. But Europe is wounded too.
Wounded by all the trials it has undergone. It has gone from the time of
prosperity, of great well-being, to a worrying crisis in which young
people too are discarded. In the newspapers the other day it said that
here in Italy youth unemployment is up to 43 percent, I think. In Spain
it’s 50 percent. And the Spanish bishops have told me that in Andalusia
it is almost at 60 percent.
Cardinal Erdõ talked about the discarding of children and the elderly.
And it's true. But now there is also the discarding of a whole generation
of young people. I don't know if it is only in Europe, or in Europe and
in the developed countries, that there is talk of 75 million from the age
of twenty-five and down. But it's a whole generation. As European
bishops, what are we doing for the young people? Giving them something to
eat? Yes, that's the first thing. But that doesn't give dignity to a young
person, to anyone. Dignity comes from work. And there is the danger that
the children of mother, today practically grandma Europe, are losing
their dignity because they do not have jobs and cannot bring bread home.
Europe has discarded its children. A bit triumphantly. I remember that
when I was studying in one country the clinics that did abortions then
prepared everything to send it to cosmetic factories. Makeup made with
the blood of innocents. And this was something to brag about, because it
was progressive: the rights of the woman, the woman has the right over
I don't know about here in Italy, I don't want to say because I'm not
sure, but what will happen when the state is unable to pay the pensions,
because there aren't enough young people working according to the law,
because there is that black market for labor that they do, not always
but… And the elderly - I've said this about Latin America, about my
country, but I believe it's a universal problem or of many countries or
some other continents - the elderly are discarded with stealth
euthanasia. The social services cover medical treatment up to a certain
point, and then you're on your own!
A Europe weary with disorientation. And I don't want to be a pessimist,
but let's tell the truth: after food, clothing, and medicine, what are
the most important expenditures? Cosmetics, and I don't know how to say
this in Italian, but the “mascotas,” the little animals. They don't have
children, but their affection goes to the little cat, to the little dog.
And this is the second expenditure after the three main ones. The third
is the whole industry to promote sexual pleasure. So it’s food, medicine,
clothing, cosmetics, little animals, and the life of pleasure. Our young
people feel this, they see this, they live this.
I liked very much what His Eminence said, because this is truly the drama
of Europe today. But it's not the end. I believe that Europe has many
resources for going forward. It's like a sickness that Europe has today.
A wound. And the greatest resource is the person of Jesus. Europe, return
to Jesus! Return to that Jesus whom you have said was not in your roots!
And this is the work of the pastors: to preach Jesus in the midst of
these wounds. I have spoken of only a few, but there are tremendous
wounds. To preach Jesus. And I ask you this: don't be ashamed to proclaim
Jesus Christ risen who has redeemed us all. And for us too that the Lord
may not rebuke us, as today in the Gospel of Luke he rebuked these two
The Lord wants to save us. I believe this. This is our mission: to
proclaim Jesus Christ, without shame. And he is ready to open the doors
of his heart, because he manifests his omnipotence above all in mercy and
Let's go forward
with preaching. Let's not be ashamed. So many ways of preaching, but to
mama Europe -- or grandma Europe, or wounded Europe -- only Jesus Christ
can speak a word of salvation today. Only he can open a door of escape.
ADDRESS OF POPE
TO PARTICIPANTS IN THE PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE
COUNCIL OF THE BISHOPS' CONFERENCES OF EUROPE (CCEE)
Friday, 3 October 2014
Dear Brother Bishops,
I affectionately greet all of you on the occasion of the Plenary Assembly
of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences and I thank Cardinal
Péter Erdő for the words with which he introduced this meeting.
As Pastors close to your community and attentive to the needs of the
people, you know well the complexity of the situation and the pressing
challenges to which the mission of the Church is subjected, also in
Europe. As I wrote in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium,
we are called to be a Church which “goes forth”, moving from the centre
to the peripheries to go towards all, without fear and without
diffidence, with apostolic courage (n. 20). How many brothers and
sisters, how many situations, how many contexts, even the most difficult,
are in need of the light of the Gospel!
I would like to thank you, dear brothers, for the commitment with which
you have welcomed this text. I know that this Document is increasingly
the object of deep pastoral reflection and the starting point for paths
of faith and evangelization in many parishes, communities and groups.
This too is a sign of communion and the unity of the Church.
The theme of your Plenary: “Family and the Future of Europe” presents an
important occasion to reflect together on how to value the family as a
precious resource for pastoral renewal. I feel it is important for
Pastors and families to work together in a spirit of humility and sincere
dialogue so that the respective parish communities may become a “family
of families”. In this context interesting experiences have blossomed,
which call for proper attention in view of furthering fruitful
cooperation in your respective local Churches. Engaged couples who
seriously live marriage preparation; married couples who welcome foster
or adopted children; groups of families who in parishes or in movements
help each other on the path of life and faith. There is no lack of
experience of different types of pastoral care of the family and of
political and social commitment in supporting families, both those who
live traditional married lives and those marked by problems or by
breakup. It is important to take these important experiences in the
various contexts and in the life of the men and women of today, as a
propitious time to exercise careful discernment in order to “network”
them, thus involving other diocesan communities.
The cooperation between Pastors and families also extends to the field of
education. Indeed, the family, which already fulfills its role with
regard to its members, is a school of humanity, brotherhood, love,
communion which forms mature and responsible citizens. Open cooperation
between the clergy and families will favour the maturation of a spirit of
justice, of solidarity, of peace and the courage of one’s convictions.
This will come about by supporting parents in their responsibility to
educate their children, thus protecting their inalienable right to
provide their children with the education they deem most suitable.
Parents, in fact, remain the first and foremost educators of their
children, thus they have the right to educate them according to their
moral and religious convictions. In this way, you will be able to outline
common and coordinated pastoral directives necessary to promote and
effectively support Catholic schools.
Dear brothers, I encourage you to maintain your commitment to promote the
communion of the various Churches in Europe, facilitating appropriate
cooperation for fruitful evangelization. I also invite you to be a
“prophetic voice” within society, above all where the process of
secularization, taking place on the continent of Europe, tends to render
speaking of God increasingly marginal. May the heavenly intercession of
the Virgin Mary and Saints and Patron Saints of Europe sustain you in
this task. I ask you to please pray for me and I bless you from my heart.
Final note: This does not mean that this above text
is not correct. It is the text that was prepared for the occasion; so it
is correct. But, Pope Francis set it aside and spoke from the heart,
extemporaneously, and that text is the prior one, published yesterday for
the first time by Magister from the notes of an unknown source.
Anthropological Question - at the bottom of all Robert Moynihan letters:
in a deranged age, more deranged than usual, because, in spite of great
scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of
who he is or what he is doing."—Walker Percy
(1916-1990), American Catholic convert and writer, author of The
Message in the Bottle and Lost in the Cosmos