Following the news that the EU leaders have settled on a constitution, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See Press Office, made the following statement on Saturday: "The Holy See express its satisfaction for this new and important step in the process of European integration that has been hoped for and encouraged by the Roman Pontiff. The introduction in the document of a measure which safeguards the status of religious confessions in the Member States, and commits the Union to maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with them, recognizing their identity and specific contribution, is also a reason for satisfaction." "The Holy See cannot but express its distress over the opposition of some governments to the explicit recognition of the Christian roots of Europe. It is a question of disregard of the historical evidence and of the Christian identity of European peoples." "The Holy See expresses heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to those governments that, aware of the past and of the historical horizon in which the new Europe is taking shape, worked to express concretely its recognized religious heritage." "Not to be forgotten is the intense commitment of different entities to have the Christian heritage of Europe mentioned in this treaty, stimulating the reflection of political leaders, citizens, and public opinion on a question that is not secondary in the present national, European and world context." On Sunday the Pope reminded pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square, of the duty to welcome and care for refugees. After the Marian prayer, addressing his compatriots in Polish, John Paul II expressed his disappointment that the Christian roots of Europe were not recognized in the European constitution: "We cannot forget our roots. I thank Poland who in the European forum has faithfully defended the Christian roots of our continent from which our culture and the development of the civilization of our time has come." Source: VIS
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