Pope Francis has urged Europe to rediscover its identity as it copes with waves of refugees, Britain’s exit from the EU and the “homicidal madness” of religious-inspired violence.
Francis devoted his annual foreign policy speech to promoting peace at a time of mass migrations, economic stagnation and extremist terror across the globe.
He praised several European nations for welcoming refugees and insisted that others give them a “dignified welcome” while also fighting poverty and other social ills that can fuel religious fundamentalism.
Speaking to ambassadors accredited to the Holy See, Francis urged Europe to rediscover its ideals as it marks the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome – one of the founding agreements of the European Union.
He said: “This requires recovering its roots in order to shape its future.”
He called for the creation of a new European humanism to update the very concept of Europe as a unified community of shared common values that was born from the ashes of World War II.
“In response to currents of divisiveness, it is all the more urgent to update ‘the idea of Europe’ so as to give birth to a new humanism based on the capacity to integrate, dialogue and generate that which made the Old Continent great,” he said.
Overall, he once again denounced violence committed in God’s name as “homicidal madness” and the fruit of a “spiritual poverty” often borne of material poverty.
He urged religious leaders to preach God’s message of love and peace, and political leaders to ensure economic opportunities for young people.
Governments, he said, must not only protect their own citizens but “ensure that conditions do not exist that can serve as fertile terrain for the spread of forms of fundamentalism.”