Christianity a Mere Footnote as Europe Looks Toward Constitution?

President of Italian Senate Warns of Widespread Relativism

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ROME, JUNE 26, 2002 ( Christianity has been relegated to the “et cetera” class in considerations about a European Constitution, warns an Italian lawmaker.

Marcelo Pera, president of the Italian Senate and a renowned intellectual, said, “I think that, contrary to what has happened up until now, in the European Union we should be aware, conscious and proud of Europe´s Christian roots, which are not the only ones, but are absolutely important.”

In statements to the Italian newspaper Avvenire, Pera explained: “I usually say that Europe has two great parents. The Christian tradition, which has given us the concept of the person, that is, of the individual who, as such, prior to being a citizen, is the bearer of dignity and rights. And the Greek-Roman tradition, which has placed the concept of institutions and public rights in the world market of ideas.”

“It would be myopic to construct Europe forgetting whose sons we are,” said Pera, a former professor of the philosophy of science at the University of Pisa.

“In a word, I who am a layman, have been surprised by this ´relegation to et cetera´ of one of my parents,” he stressed. “Christian tradition is far more than an et cetera: It is the condition of the fact that we are here today with our values.”

Pera recalled a brief conversation he once had with John Paul II: “I remember saying to him, ´Holiness, I am a layman, but this question of relativism which you refer to so much, also worries me.´”

“I see that over the past 50 years a philosophy has spread that always plays the same notes: ´There are no foundations, there are no longer demonstrations, there are no higher truths,´” Pera recalled.

He added: “I don´t like to generalize, but I see a dangerous nervousness about truth. We must free ourselves of this.”

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