(Brussels) “Courage and hope”. These are the two key words that Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising and president of the German Bishops’ Conference, entrusts to the Churches in Europe at the end of his 6-year mandate at the helm of COMECE, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community. In an interview with SIR news agency, the archbishop takes stock of these years spent in the heart of Europe. In the face of populism, Brexit, and migration crises, “the Church must be a sign of hope”, he says. And he adds: “Do not be afraid. I was a young seminarian when Pope John Paul II uttered those words at the beginning of his Pontificate. Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors to Christ. And those words marked the beginning of one of the greatest revolutions in modern history”. Pope Francis, too, cares about the destiny of Europe. “His speeches were always inspired and European leaders need to hear words of encouragement. The Pope sees all critical aspects of this historical moment but encourages us to go forward, to see opportunities, not just the risks. It is an invitation to trust in the ability of the peoples of Europe to stand together and work for the people”.