Vatican Finds "Gaps" in European Constitution Draft

Response to First Draft Presented in Brussels

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VATICAN CITY, FEB. 7, 2003 ( The first official draft of the future European Constitution, presented yesterday in Brussels by former French president Valery Giscard d’Estaing, makes no mention of Europe’s religious roots nor the juridical status of churches.

Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants and members of other religious communities have asked the European Convention to include in Article 2 of what should be the future «Magna Carta» of Europe, which articulates «the Union’s values,» a reference to God and to the Christian values that forged Europe.

In the first draft, the article states: «The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, values which are common to the member states. Its aim is a society at peace, through the practice of tolerance, justice and solidarity.»

In a press statement today, following a meeting between German foreign affairs minister Joschka Fischer and Pope John Paul II, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls requested that the document be improved.

«The Holy See has noted that the values and elements already introduced in the plan — relating to the first three titles of the treaty — are fundamental for the life of the Union,» the Vatican Press Office statement acknowledges.
European Convention.

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