Pope Francis called on European leaders to work together in addressing the possible social and economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
The pope noted that 75 years have passed this month since Europe began the challenging process of reconciliation after World War II, and 70 years since the Schuman Declaration.
On May 9, 1950, France’s foreign minister Robert Schuman proposed the creation of a European Coal and Steel Community, which later developed into the European Union.
The pontiff noted in his address after the Regina Coeli prayer on May 10, that the process spurred both European integration and “the long period of stability and peace.”
In his prayer, the pontiff expressed hope that the same spirit that inspired European integration efforts “not fail to inspire all those who have responsibility in the European Union” to deal with the pandemic.
He urged leaders of the European Union to be inspired by the historic documents and called them to face the consequences of the pandemic “in a spirit of harmony and collaboration.”
Pope Francis called for prayers for Europe “that it might grow united, in this fraternal unity that allows all peoples to grow in unity in diversity.”
In his Sunday homily, the pontiff reminded church leaders, especially bishops, of their primary task to pray because it is “prayer that makes the Church progress.”
He reflected on Jesus’s intercessory role before His Father described in the Gospel, saying that it also applies to the role of the “successors of the apostles, the bishops.
He said, a bishop is “the first to go to the Father, with the confidence, the boldness, with which Jesus went in order to fight on behalf of his people.”
The pope said “something is not right if other things take away space for prayer” because it is “God who does things, we do very little. God does things in His Church.”
Pope Francis said the “Church progresses in this courageous prayer because she knows that without this ascension to the Father, she cannot survive.”