Pope Urges EU Recognition of Christian History

( [email protected] ) Dec 24, 2003 10:46 AM EST

VATICAN CITY – Pope John Paul II encouraged Europe to recognize the important contributions Christianity has made to the continent over the centuries, reiterating the Vatican’s position in the ongoing debate over the inclusion of Christian themes and traditions in European Union’s constitution.

"I can't but note that Europe is going through a crucial phase of its history while widening its borders to other peoples and nations," John Paul said on Monday before a Christmas gathering of Vatican cardinals. "It is important that Europe, enriched through the centuries by its Christian faith, confirms these origins and revives its roots."

In recent debates, the Vatican has lobbied that a proposed EU constitution mention Christian history. However, highly secular France among other nations opposed it during a recent European summit. Formal talks have been postponed to an undetermined date.

John Paul also stressed the need to educate people to achieve peace, expressing concern over the "risks and threats on the horizon for peace coexistence."