Cardinal Lluis Martinez Sistach, Archbishop of Barcelona,
Professor Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Community of Sant'Egidio,
Honorable Representatives of the great world religions,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First I would like to thank Cardinal Sistach and all the city of Barcelona for your wonderful hospitality. The initiative of the Community of Sant'Egidio has always impressed me for its wide vision. Sant'Egidio knows how to create the art of encounter.
These days of dialogue and prayer have testified how different religions can work together to improve our world. The President of the EU Commission, José Manuel Barroso, attributes great personal interest to this dialogue, as he showed in participating to the meeting in Krakow last year.
Recently, with the Presidents of the Commission, of the Parliament and of the European Council, I took part in an important meeting in Brussels with European religious leaders belonging to different faiths, during which we discussed about the fight against poverty and social exclusion. The European Union considers dialogue with other religions of great importance. We are conscious that Churches and religious communities contribute in a crucial way in terms of attention to the individual and the social development of our countries. The human person remains at the heart of our attention, the real core of the social market, in which the market is not the "end" but the "means" to produce and spread wealth.
I think we all share the need to focus once again on the centrality of man, in order to respond to the challenges of this complex – and sometimes dangerous – world. Europe can become a model: after sixty-five years of peace in our continent, it is definitely an example of peace in the world. It is a unity that stems from multiplicity.
The European Union is the result of a laborious journey that was able to mix differences together without suppressing them. Today, younger European generations think of themselves as one beside the other and increasingly envision their future together. As a Christian, I believe that the future of Europe is a vocation to become a willful unifying force for the world, capable of creating dialogue between peoples that were divided by history. Europeans know how to get out from the hell and hatred of war. In order to govern globalization we need a leap in European unity. From Barcelona, we raise a new call, to involve all Europeans in this great common enterprise.
Thank you once again for what you do to foster dialogue between different worlds and cultures!