EU Constitution Should Mention God, Say Bishops

Contribution of European Prelates to Debate on Convention

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BRUSSELS, Belgium, MAY 24, 2002 ( European Catholic bishops have requested that the future European Constitution make reference to God.

The Secretariat of the Commission of the Bishops´ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) today submitted its initial contribution to the debate on the future of the European Union.

The secretariat presented a series of reflections and recommendations to the European Convention, an assembly of delegates from the European Parliament and national parliaments, as well as national governments and the European Commission.

«The establishment of the European Convention offers a unique opportunity for citizens and the variety of institutions, associations and communities in both the member and candidate states to be directly involved in the building of the future of Europe,» the document states.

It says the success of the convention´s proposals will be determined by «their capacity to enhance the European Union´s contribution to peace and prosperity in Europe and fulfill its responsibility for promoting development, justice, and freedom elsewhere in the world.»

The aim of the document is to help the European Union meet the needs of governance in the future. In particular, it recommends that an EU constitution should contain an invocation of God, with an inclusive reference to the Transcendent.

This would facilitate citizens´ identification with the values of the European Union, acknowledge that public power is not absolute, and guarantee the freedom of the human person, the secretariat´s document states.

It further urges that fundamental rights should be recognized, including religious freedom in its individual, collective and institutional dimensions. The pursuance of the common good should be integrated as a core principle and objective of the European Union, and the principle of subsidiarity should be recognized, the document says.

Moreover, the great religious, spiritual and intellectual movements and traditions should be recognized as a living heritage of Europe, it contends. Specifically, the contribution of churches and religious communities to society should be acknowledged, and the constitution should provide for a structured dialogue between European institutions and churches and religious communities, the secretariat recommends.

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