Et Verbum caro factum est,
et habitavit in nobis:
et vidimus gloriam ejus,
gloriam quasi unigeniti a Patre
plenum gratiae et veritatis.
Europe is summed up in these words. Confident in her values, yet open to all. Confident out of conviction that the dignity of man is to defended everywhere, at all times, at all costs. Open to world and to all its cultures. This is the same old Europe that already existed before the Gospel was even preached there, marked by its pagan, Indo-European heritage. The Europe of Augustus, of Constantine, of Charlemagne, of Charles V, of Louis XIV, of Napoleon. But also of Florence Nightingale, of Victor Hugo, of Aristide Briant. It is the message that Europe carried the world over, meaning that this Europe is also the Europe of Gandhi, of Nelson Mandela and of Mother Teresa. It is shared by those who have fought for the Church (though perhaps not all of them) but also and, arguably, even more so, of those who have fought against the Church (though not all of them either). The Europe or, if you prefer, the universal humankind of those who believe the Gospel message, but also, indeed, above all, of those who don’t believe it, or who are tormented by doubt. Whether they like it or not, this Europe is shared even by those who reject Europe and the values it stands for, and for whom these five words, which are the foundation of all our civilisation stands for Et Verbum Caro Factum Est, no longer mean anything.