Published: Thu, 27 November 2014
Sean Kelly MEP and Leader of the Fine Gael delegation in the European Parliament welcomed comments by His Holiness Pope Francis who called for greater unity across the EU in an address to Parliament today (Tuesday). Mr Kelly also highlighted the appreciative standing ovation MEPs gave the Pontiff after his speech – the most resounding the MEP ever witnessed in Parliament.
“Pope Francis is seen as a visionary and an important figure not just for practicing Catholics, but for those of faith and atheists too. He speaks of equality, valuing individual worth, respecting human rights and building a unified society across Europe. Those are ideals that we all can agree upon,” MEP Kelly said following the momentous speech by Pope Francis in Strasbourg today.
Pope Francis challenged MEPs to work towards reuniting our citizens for a better Europe and to remember the ideals that it was founded on:
“…from the ideals which shaped Europe from the beginning, such as peace, subsidiarity and reciprocal solidarity, and a humanism centered on respect for the dignity of the human person.”
Pope Francis committed to working with the EU in an open dialogue: “I wish, then, to reiterate the readiness of the Holy See and the Catholic Church, through the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (COMECE), to engage in meaningful, open and transparent dialogue with the institutions of the European Union.”
In light of worrying extremism around the world and reflecting on ongoing conflicts, the Holy Father added: “I am likewise convinced that a Europe which is capable of appreciating its religious roots and of grasping their fruitfulness and potential, will be all the more immune to the many forms of extremism spreading in the world today, not least as a result of the great vacuum of ideals which we are currently witnessing in the West.”
Mr Kelly described today’s visit by Pope Francis as “a clear endorsement of European solidarity and unity” and noted his support for the EU project and for an approach to global issues that is peaceful, constructive and democratic.
Read the full speech by Pope Francis to the European Parliament here: http://www.eppgroup.eu/news/Speech-of-His-Holiness-Pope-Francis-at-the-European-Parliament