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In new interview, Pope reflects on European malaise

February 09, 2016

European society needs to re-examine its responsibilities and its cultural roots, Pope Francis said in an interview published February 8 by the Italian daily Corriere della Sera

The Pope also revealed that his meeting with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill had been carefully arranged in "two years of secret negotiations." He said that the meeting between the world's two most prominent Christian leaders: "We must build bridges, not walls, because they aid the cause of peace."

Europe, the Pope said, "must and can reform itself." He lamented: "An educational system has been broken: the one that transmitted values from grandparents to grandchildren, from parents to children." That system must be revived, he said.

Pope Francis disclosed that after his speech to the European Parliament, in which he compared today's Europe to a barren woman, he received a phone call from Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was "a bit angry" at that figure of speech. He said that he had told her: "Europe can still have children-- and many-- because it has strong and deep roots." 

The Pontiff said that Europe should be prepared to accept migrants, and to recognize its own responsibilities toward the countries of the troubled Middle East. He remarked that the consequences of the "Arab Spring" have been disappointing for the cause of popular rule: "Before there was just one dictatar; now there are fifty."

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  • Posted by: jplaunder1846 - Feb. 10, 2016 12:51 AM ET USA

    The European malaise is alive and unwell in all of Western societies.

  • Posted by: Thomas429 - Feb. 09, 2016 10:04 PM ET USA

    The problems of evangelization and formation in Europe are to a large extent due to the Church's support of socialism. The Church and government should not mix it is harmful to both of them.