*** DEBUG END ***

Francis at the EU

28 November 2014

THE idea that something as large and diverse as a continent can have an image seems bizarre. Europe has not only an image, but an image problem. Pope Francis, with no political constituency to cosy up to, can be relied upon to present things more truthfully than others: "In many quarters we encounter a general impression of weariness and ageing, of a Europe which is now a grandmother, no longer fertile and lively. 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." It might have been expected that his audience of MEPs, implicated in that bureaucracy, would receive this coldly. Instead, they applauded for more than a minute. It is a sign, perhaps, that holiness can gain a hearing where hectoring cannot.

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear alongside your letter.

The Church Times Podcast

Interviews and news analysis from the Church Times team. Listen to this week’s episode online

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)