European Prelates' Official Laments Draft of Preamble

Constitution Should Mention Christianity, He Says

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ST. GALL, Switzerland, JUNE 4, 2003 ( A lack of understanding about the «religious dimension» is one reason why the draft of the European Constitution’s preamble fails to mention Christianity, a Church official says.

The draft published last week refers to «the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe which … [was] nourished first by the civilizations of Greece and Rome» and «later by philosophical currents of the Enlightenment» [see European Convention’s Web page at].

According to Father Aldo Giordano, secretary-general of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE), «Given that reference is made to the roots [of Europe], it is incomprehensible that no reference is made to Christianity.»

It is good that at least the word «religion» has been accepted, he said. But it is a «great disappointment» that no mention is made of Christianity, a reference that is «absolutely necessary,» he said.

The absence can be explained «in part by the intention to articulate formulas that everyone agrees with. There is a debate,» Father Giordano told Vatican Radio.

To the above must certainly be added «a lack of understanding of what the religious dimension really is and, in particular, the Christian dimension,» he said. «There is fear to refer to Christianity, which in the opinion of some might not be reconcilable with the existence of other religious experiences.»

In Brussels, Belgium, work continues on a new draft of the European Constitution, which is expected to be presented June 20 at the European summit in Greece.

Meanwhile, Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski denounced the draft European Constitution, calling it shameful to highlight the pet ideologies of the Left but omit mention of the continent’s Christian heritage in the opening words.

«I am an atheist and everybody knows it,» he said Tuesday, in an interview with the London Telegraph. «But there are no excuses for making references to ancient Greece and Rome, and the Enlightenment, without making references to the Christian values which are so important to the development of Europe.»

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