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Pope Francis invited to address European Parliament

Catholic World News - October 11, 2013

At the conclusion of an essay published in L’Osservatore Romano, European Parliament President Martin Schulz invited Pope Francis to address the 766-member body.

The piece was published on October 11, the day of a scheduled meeting between Schulz and the Pope.

“Twenty-five years ago, on this same day, John Paul II delivered before the European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg an inspirational speech,” Schulz wrote. “Today, for the European Parliament, it would be a great honor to hear again the message of the Holy Father, his words of foresight, solidarity, and hope.”

Concerned by the prospect of Europe’s “slow but inexorable decline,” Schulz wrote that Europe “must again be animated by a renewed sense of dedication to clear objectives. But what should these objectives be?”

Schulz’s answer was threefold: “Europe must be judged on the basis of how it treats the least,” “Europe must be a force for dialogue,” and “Europe needs to be judged on the basis of the prospects it offers to the youth.”

“The tragedy of Lampedusa and the deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean represent indelible scars for Europe,” said Schulz, who called for greater engagement with the countries of origin and the development of a rescue system.

Noting that the youth unemployment rate in Europe is 23.7% -- and 61.5% in Greece, 56% in Spain, and 40.1% in Italy -- Schulz added that Europe is betraying its young citizens, even as he defended the European Parliament’s efforts to address the problem. “Why should youth believe in the European project when their own personal projects have been so dramatically compromised?”

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