Christians in Europe must break down “walls of fear and aggression” and try to understand people of other faiths and backgrounds, Pope Francis has said.
In a video message on Saturday to participants at the “Together for Europe” gathering in Munich, the Pope insisted that “invisible walls” are being strengthened and dividing people from one another.
“These walls are being built in people’s hearts,” the Pope said. “They are walls made of fear and aggression, a failure to understand people of different backgrounds or faith. They are walls of political and economic selfishness, without respect for the life and dignity of every person.”
Pope Francis told representatives of some 300 European Christian organisations, movements and communities from different churches that they and their fellow Christians need to find new, more vibrant ways to offer Christian values to European society and to the world.
“Europe is called to reflect and to ask itself whether its immense heritage, so permeated with Christianity, belongs in a museum or is still able to inspire culture and to offer its treasures to the whole of humankind,” he said.
The Christian organisations meeting in Munich, he said, are called to be models of networking “so as to welcome and show solidarity toward those who are weak and disadvantaged, to build bridges and overcome conflicts whether they are open or latent.”
“Every authentic unity draws on the wealth of diversity which forms it – like a family which grows in unity in so far as its members can fully and fearlessly be themselves,” the Pope said.
For Europe to be a family, he added, the good of the human person must be the central concern and groups and nations must find ways of working together that “are not only economic but also social and cultural.”