Pope Francis spoke to a room full of EU leaders about the bloc's future
The Pope launched the blistering attack on the EU as he met with leaders at the 60th anniversary of the bloc’s foundation at the Vatican in Rome on Friday.
He told them that the EU was losing “its sense of direction.”
The pontiff said: “When a body loses its sense of direction and is no longer able to look ahead, it experiences a regression and, in the long run, risks dying.”
The Pope added that the growing anti-EU sentiment, Brexit, and the parties that opposed the bloc could signify an imminent split.
He also urged Europe to come together and use international solidarity to heal its wounds and fend off modern forms of populism.
He added that it was important for them not to forget the "tragedy" that division caused in the past.
The Pope launched the blistering attack on the EU as he met with leaders at the 60th anniversary
The heads of Government from 27 EU members states are meeting in Italy to mark the signing of the 1957 Treaty of Rome when the bloc was founded.
However, Prime Minister Theresa May did not attend the meeting of leaders at the Vatican.
Brexit has caused the EU to undergo some careful self examination as Ms May gets ready to trigger Article 50.
The Pope used the opportunity to urge European leaders to resist the “false forms of security” promised by those who want to wall themselves off, days before Britain triggers Article 50 on March 29.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
The Pope greets Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni at the gathering of leaders
The leaders were gathered to have an audience with the Pope and receive a blessing.
But the head of the Catholic church used the event to highlight the EU's growing list of problems.
Referencing the terror attacks in London this week by Khalid Masood, 52, he said that European leaders needed to promote unity among nations to prevent extremism growing.
Massood murdered four people in a rampage in which he ploughed his car into innocent people in Westminster.
The terrorist was shot dead in Parliament after he stabbed a policeman to death with two knives.
The Pope arrived in Milan on Saturday to hold a mass
He said: “For it is the best antidote against the vacuum of values of our time, which provides a fertile terrain for every form of extremism.”
The Pope also addresssed the refugee crisis, which has seen millions of migrants from Syria, North Africa and parts of the Middle East flood into Europe by land and sea.
He blasted the leaders for handling the crisis poorly.
He said: "It is not enough to handle the grave crisis of immigration of recent years as if it were a mere numerical or economic problem, or a question of security.”
The Pope greeted crowds in Milan on Saturday
Jean Claude Juncker branded it sad that the UK was not present at the event
On Saturday, the Pope moved on to Milan where he greeted throngs of well-wishers.
He will hold mass at Milan's cathedral at Piazza Duomo and have a meeting with detainees at San Vittore Prison.
In a seperate event, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker signed the new Rome declaration.
But he couldn't resist a swipe at Britain's impending divorce from the EU.
He said it was "sad" that the UK was not present at such a "festive occasion."
- Poland: Giant Tetris game marks 60th anniversary of Stalin s gift…
- Trump fires back at judges who blocked the new 'travel ban'
- Angela Merkel arrives for the EU's 60th Anniversary celebrations