SOURCE: The Splendor of the Church
Pope Francis has received the Charlemagne Prize, the most prestigious distinction in Europe, at the Vatican. A representative from the city of Aachen, justifies the reasoning for awarding Pope Francis the prize.
“In appreciation of his distinguished service on behalf of peace, understanding and mercy in a European society of values.”
Some heads of state and government attended the ceremony, such as the king of Spain, Felipe VI, and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. It was the major European authorities who intervened and explained the situation on the Old Continent during the ceremony.
President of the European Parliament
“Holy Father, let me be clear: Europe is going through a crisis of solidarity, our shared values are wavering.”
President of the European Commission
“Europe is more than an emsemble of institutions, indicators or processes, more than an economic partnership. Europe, as I see it, is a rallying of forces for humanity and for a peace that begins in our day-to-day lives.”
In his ambitious speech, the Pope lamented that the Europeans have set aside the common European project, and let themselves be dominated by self-interest, retirement and weariness.
“What has happened to you, the Europe of humanism, the champions of human rights, democracy and freedom? What has happened to you, Europe, the home of poets, philosophers, artists, musicians, and men and women of letters? What has happened to you, Europe, the mother of peoples and nations, the mother of great men and women who upheld, and even sacrificed their lives for, the dignity of their brothers and sisters?”
Given the political and identity crisis on the Old Continent, the Pope asked every citizen to remember the past, in order to rebuild the Old Continent once again. This means recreating the generosity and boldness of those, who after World War II, launched the European project.
“A Europe capable of giving birth to a new humanism based on three capacities: the capacity to integrate, the capacity for dialogue and the capacity to generate.”
The Pope has invited the people to build a Europe of solidarity, centered on the citizens, with an economy that rather than relying on speculation, invests in people and in full-time employment for young people.
He explained it in a moving speech.
“I dream of a Europe where being a migrant is not a crime but a summons to greater commitment on behalf of the dignity of every human being.
I dream of a Europe where young people breathe the pure air of honesty, where they love the beauty of a culture and a simple life undefiled by the insatiable needs of consumerism, where getting married and having children is a responsibility and a great joy, not a problem due to the lack of stable employment.
I dream of a Europe that promotes and protects the rights of everyone, without neglecting its duties towards all.
I dream of a Europe of which it will not be said that its commitment to human rights was its last utopia.”
Before leaving, he stopped with the King of Spain, who has given him a duplicate edition of the autographs of Cervantes.
The Pope greeted all the leaders who have come, and many other guests, such as former Prime Minister of Spain, Felipe González.
Pope: Europe Needs Capacity to Integrate, Dialogue, Generate
Posted by ZENIT Staff on 6 May, 2016
“A Europe capable of giving birth to a new humanism based on three capacities: the capacity to integrate, the capacity for dialogue and the capacity to generate” is what Pope Francis says he is hoping for. He made this remark today upon receiving the Charlemagne Prize, awarded by the foundation of the same name to those who distinguish themselves throughout the year for their work in favour of integration and union in Europe.
On 23 December 2015, in Aachen, Germany, it was announced by the executive committee that in 2016 the prize would be awarded to Pope Francis for the message of peace and understanding promoted during his papacy. On this occasion the jury affirmed, “In these times, in which many European citizens are seeking guidance, the Holy Father gives a message of love and encouragement.”
The ceremony, which was attended by major European figures such as King Felipe VI of Spain; the Grand-duke of Luxembourg, Henri of Orange-Nassau; the German chancellor Angela Merkel; the Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi; and the president of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaite, began with the “laudatio” pronounced by Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament; Donald Tusk, president of the European Council and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission.
In the Sala Ducale the choir of the Cathedral of Aachen performed four pieces: at the beginning of the event, before and after the Pope’s address, and at the end. Speeches were also made by the mayor of Aachen, Marcel Philipp and the president of the Charlemagne Foundation, Jürgen Linden, who read the reasons for the jury’s decision. The ceremony was attended by more than five hundred people, including previous prizewinners Andrea Riccardi, president of the Sant’Egidio Community, and Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank.
In his address, the Pope emphasises that European identity is and has always been dynamic and multicultural, and he encourages the “arming” of the young with the culture of dialogue and encounter to create “coalitions”, not only military and economic, but also cultural, educational, philosophical and religious.
He also evoked Europe’s founding fathers, who “were prepared to pursue alternative and innovative paths in a world scarred by war. Not only did they boldly conceive the idea of Europe, but they dared to change radically the models that had led only to violence and destruction”, daring to to seek multilateral solutions to increasingly shared problems.
He also reaffirmed that the Church can and must support the rebirth of a Europe that is weary but also still rich in energies and possibilities, as “her task is one with her mission: the proclamation of the Gospel, which today more than ever finds expression in going forth to bind the wounds of humanity with the powerful yet simple presence of Jesus, and His mercy that consoles and encourages”.