"Church Hopes Its European Citizenship Will Be Recognized"

Vatican Secretary for Relations with States Says

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ROME, MAY 14, 2002 (Zenit.org).-The Church «feels at home in Europe,» the reason why it hopes that its «European citizenship» will be recognized, the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States said.

Archbishop Jean Louis Tauran made the above statements yesterday, when he addressed a Congress on «The Future of the New Europe,» organized by Communion and Liberation´s international center in Rome.

The Archbishop spoke at a time when the working sessions of the European Convention were underway. The process is open to the political and civil participation of States, including those that are candidates for membership in the European Union, to delineate the latter´s institutional future.

The French Archbishop recalled that «the first time that there was talk of Europe in the modern age it was due to a Pope, Nicholas V, in 1453, the year of the fall of Constantinople. In fact, for many centuries the term fell into disuse.

Was not the very idea of a united Europe first uttered by Dante Alighieri, who «spoke about it as early as the beginning of the 14th century?» the Archbishop added.

Hence, the Church «feels at home in Europe and has molded the great institutions on which the Old World is founded because, as Paul VI said, Europe was born from the cross, the book, and the plough.»

Even today, «the Christian legacy is always active and a creator of culture.» Therefore, it is natural that in the future » Churches will hope to see their own juridical ordering recognized,» above all to remove them for the arbitrary «decision of the political moment.»

Italian Vice-Prime Minister Gianfranco Fini also addressed the meeting on the Continent´s need for «a supplement of soul.» Its Constitution should not make a generic reference to «spiritual values» (as is the case in the UE Charter of Fundamental Rights), but rather to the «concretely religious and Christian,» he stressed.

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