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What Pope Francis told European Parliament, and what Pope John Paul II said

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Nov 25, 2014

If you are convinced the Pope Francis has made a radical break from the policies and pronouncements of his predecessors, I have two challenges for you:

First, read the text of the Holy Father’s address to the European Parliament and pick out a sentence (other than the time-sensitive references) that would be out of place if it were inserted into the speech delivered by St. John Paul II to the same body in 1988.

Next, try to determine (without peeking!) which of the quotations below come from today’s speech by Pope Francis, and which are from the 1988 speech by Pope John Paul II. Scroll down for the answers.

  • In many quarters we encounter a general impression of weariness and aging, of a Europe which is now a “grandmother”, no longer fertile and vibrant. As a result, the great ideas which once inspired Europe seem to have lost their attraction, only to be replaced by the bureaucratic technicalities of its institutions.
  • Men and women risk being reduced to mere cogs in a machine that treats them as items of consumption to be exploited, with the result that-- as is so tragically apparent-- whenever a human life no longer proves useful for that machine, it is discarded with few qualms, as in the case of the terminally ill, the elderly who are abandoned and uncared for, and children who are killed in the womb.
  • A Europe which is no longer open to the transcendent dimension of life is a Europe which risks slowly losing its own soul and that “humanistic spirit” which it still loves and defends.
  • A two-thousand-year-old history links Europe and Christianity. It is a history not free of conflicts and errors, but one constantly driven by the desire to work for the good of all.... This history, in large part, must still be written. It is our present and our future. It is our identity.







All four quotes are from Pope Francis.




Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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