Christianity Should Be in Constitution, Say Europe's Bishops

COMECE President Writes to Giscard d’Estaing

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BRUSSELS, Belgium, JUNE 6, 2003 ( A bishops’ commission official expressed astonishment to the European Convention over the lack of an explicit reference to Christianity in the draft of the continent’s future Constitution.

In a letter to Valery Giscard d’Estaing, president of the European Convention, Bishop Josef Homeyer, president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE), stated: «Without wishing to detract from other contributions, no other religion or philosophical movement has inspired Europe as much as Christianity.»

A draft of the Constitution preamble 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.»

Bishop Homeyer in his letter Thursday wrote: «Allow me also to renew our proposal for a reference to God in the Constitution. A reminder of the limits of human power, and of responsibility before God, humankind and creation, would be an important sign that public power is not absolute.»

«The Union would thus explicitly recognize that its citizens, be they Christians, Jews or Muslims, are free to invoke God,» the COMECE president stated.

«This recognition would represent a guarantee of the freedom of the human person and would help many citizens to identify with the values of the European Union and the future Constitution,» he added.

That such a reference need not be discriminatory is demonstrated clearly by, for example, the German and Polish constitutions, the bishop noted.

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

COMECE is a commission of the Catholic bishops’ conferences of the member states of the European Union. The conferences of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland are associate members.

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