John Paul II Criticizes European Charter of Rights

“Denies God and the Family,” Pontiff Says

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2000 (
John Paul II is unhappy with the European Charter of Fundamental Rights because it “denies God and the family.”

In a message Saturday to a symposium marking the 1,200th anniversary of Charlemagne´s crowning, John Paul II referred to the European Union´s recent effort to formulate a charter of rights to summarize the fundamental values that should inspire the coexistence of European peoples.

The Pontiff did not hide his “disappointment over the fact that the charter´s text does not include a reference to God, who is … the supreme source of human dignity and its fundamental rights.” The nonbinding charter was approved Dec. 7 at the EU summit in Nice, France.

“It must not be forgotten,” John Paul II insisted, “that it was the denial of God and his commandments that created the tyranny of idols in the last century, expressed in the glorification of a race, class, state, nation, party, instead of the living and true God. Indeed, in light of the misfortunes poured on the 20th century, it can be understood that the rights of God and man are either affirmed together or they fall together.”

The Holy Father stressed that, “despite many noble efforts, the text written for the European charter has not satisfied the just expectations of many. In particular, the defense of the rights of the person and the family could be more courageous.

“Concern for the safeguarding of rights is, in fact, more than justified as they are not always adequately understood and respected. They are threatened in many European states, for example, by the policy that favors abortion, legalized almost everywhere; the increasing openness to the possibility of euthanasia; and, recently, by certain draft laws concerned with genetic engineering, which are not sufficiently respectful of the embryo´s human quality. It is not enough to emphasize the dignity of a person with big words, if it is then gravely violated by the very norms of juridical legislation.”

The Holy Father concluded: “In the search for its identity, Europe cannot do without an energetic effort to recover the cultural patrimony left by Charlemagne and preserved in the course of more than a millennium.

“Education in the spirit of Christian humanism guarantees intellectual and moral formation and helps youth address the serious problems arising from scientific and technological development. In this connection, the study of classical languages in schools can also be a valid help to introduce new generations to knowledge of a cultural patrimony of inestimable richness.”

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