Vatican Surprised by Draft's Omission of Christianity

Reiterates the Need to Mention It in European Constitution

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 30, 2003 ( The Vatican expressed surprise over the draft Preamble of the European Constitution, which omits any reference to Christianity.

Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls explained in a press statement today that, although the text mentions «several important elements that have contributed to mold the European patrimony, it is surprising to note the absence of an explicit mention of Christianity.»

Navarro-Valls was referring to the document which mentions «the cultural, religious and humanist heritage of Europe … nourished initially by the Greek and Roman civilizations, … and later by the philosophical currents of the Enlightenment.»

The text does not include reference to the Christianity that forged the continent, as suggested by some members of the European Convention. Such a proposal was supported by Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Vatican secretary for relations with states.

The press statement adds that the Vatican «shares the opinion of those members of the convention, who have already proposed the inclusion of such an element in the subsequent version of the Preamble, out of respect for the historical truth and in order to have a more balanced text.»

The text of the draft will be debated by the convention over the next few weeks and presented to the European leaders at their June 20 summit in Athens, Greece. They will have the last word on the final document.

Lastly, the Vatican expressed satisfaction with Article 51 of the draft Constitution, which provides for «a constant dialogue with the churches and religious communities, recognizing their identity and specific contribution.»

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