Christian Group Calls for a Constitution That Respects Key Rights

Barcelona Manifesto Asks Recognition of the Faith

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BARCELONA, Spain, DEC. 8, 2002 ( The convention of Christians for Europe ended with a manifesto calling for the recognition of Christianity’s contribution to the continent.

The weekend convention also called for respect of fundamental rights, such as the right to life and to religious liberty, in the future European Constitution.

The event attracted 150 participants, including politicians, Europarliamentarians, university presidents, businessmen, doctors, lawyers, teachers, Christian labor unionists, nongovernmental organizations and Church figures.

In response to those who believe that the European Constitution should be «neutral» and not mention the religious reality of the Continent, the convention participants said that «neutrality does not consist in denying the social dimension of the Christian conscience of the majority of the people of Europe, but in recognizing it, together with other religious and non-religious global conceptions with which it dialogues, to obtain the European common good and universal fraternity.»

The manifesto recognizes that «the dignity of the person, in all his/her dimensions, must be recognized as a basic constitutional principle and foundation of the European construction.»

Hence, it clarifies, «the right to life must be respected at all times of existence, from conception until natural death.»

«This also implies the need to protect the embryo from any attack against its integrity and from all genetic manipulation contrary to its human dignity; and the elderly and sick from every temptation of physical elimination for supposed humanitarian reasons,» the document states.

The convention explains that a new constitutional treaty must recognize that «religious liberty constitutes a fundamental right, without which liberty and democracy are not possible.» Likewise, it continues, «it requires the right of social expression of such religious convictions.»

Lastly, the convention presents four petitions to the future constitution:

— recognition of the unique character of marriage and the family («differentiating them from other forms of living together»);

— conciliation between family life and work;

— respect and support for the responsibility of parents in the education of their children;

— the search for peace through justice and forgiveness.

The Web page of Christians for Europe ( has more details.

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