Numerous dignitaries of all nationalities and beliefs have been the honoured guests of the Council of Europe. These men and women, often instrumental in the implementation of political, social and cultural initiatives, illustrate the dynamism and values which, since the 1950s, have governed the work of the Council of Europe
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His Holiness Pope John Paul II [1920 - 2005]
8 October 1988
If Europe today wishes to play a part, it must, in unity, calmly base its action on what is most human and most generous in its heritage
...For centuries Europe played a
considerable role in other parts of the world. It must be
admitted that it did not always show its best side in its
encounters with other civilisations, but no one can contest
that it did felicitously share many of the values which it
had matured over a longperiod. Its sons played a key part in
disseminating the Christian message. If Europe today wishes
to play a part, it must, in unity, calmly base its action on
what is most human and most generous in its heritage.
An important token of the seriousness of that desire for peace and understanding may be seen in the quality of the welcome afforded to anyone arriving from elsewhere, be he a partner from the outset or someone compelled to seek refuge. Christians for their part, who are themselves endeavouring to rebuild their unity, wish also to show their respect for those of other religions present in their regions, and wish to maintain a clear and fraternal dialogue with them.
Peace depends on this respect for the cultural and spiritual identity of peoples. May Europeans found upon this conviction their disinterested contribution to the good of all nations...