Vatican Wants Religion Mentioned in Preamble of Euro-Constitution

VATICAN CITY, MAY 26, 2003 ( The Vatican wants the future European Constitution to include a reference to the «religious heritage, especially Christian,» which has forged the continent.

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In an interview Sunday with the newspaper Il Corriere della Sera, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Vatican secretary for relations with states, made this suggestion on the eve of the meeting of the presidium of the European Convention, which is entrusted with the redaction of the constitution.

Rejection of the proposal, he said, would involve «rewriting European history.»

Article 37 of the draft of the Constitutional Treaty calls for respecting the existing status of churches and religious communities in the laws of European Union countries, something that Archbishop Tauran hopes will be included in the final version.

As mention of spiritual and religious values in the text sparked debate, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, president of the convention, requested that this reference be included in the Constitution’s preamble.

Archbishop Tauran believes that it might be the right place to mention the «religious heritage, especially Christian» of Europe.

He said this formula, «proposed by the episcopal conferences of the Union» is valid, «as it keeps in mind the contribution made by the various religions, without disregarding the altogether particular contribution of Christianity.»

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