Revised Euro Text Still Omits Mention of Christianity

Bishops’ Official Says Draft Shows Ignorance

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BRUSSELS, Belgium, JUNE 12, 2003 ( The revised draft of a European Constitution’s preamble is an improvement, but it still doesn’t respond «to the expectations of the Christian churches,» says a Catholic official.

Monsignor Aldo Giordano, secretary-general of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, made that evaluation of the new draft issued Tuesday by the Presidium of the European Convention.

Unlike an earlier draft, the latest redaction does not mention the Greek and Roman civilizations and the philosophical currents of the Enlightenment as part of the heritage of the Old World. Neither does it mention the Christian roots of Europe.

The new text of the preamble refers, explicitly, to «inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, which, always present in its heritage, has embedded within the life of society its perception of the central role of the human person and his inviolable and inalienable rights, and of respect for law.»

«One gets the impression,» Monsignor Giordano told Vatican Radio today, «that the text has improved, because by eliminating the phrase that referred to the roots of Europe — the Greco-Roman civilization, the spiritual impulse, and the Enlightenment — the crude historical error, of not mentioning Christianity, is avoided.»

«Naturally, the fact is considered positive that the word ‘religion’ is present in the text,» he said. «Hence, we are satisfied with the step taken, but we expect another.»

«Seeing the will to listen, which this improvement indicates, we hope that the European Constitution will not seek a consensus on the minimum, because I think that Europe and history have arrived at a moment in which a real leap in quality is needed,» the monsignor continued.

«A clear reference to the Judeo-Christian roots will allow Europe to become a new point of reference for the whole of humanity,» he said.

In Monsignor Giordano’s opinion, the fact that this reference is eluded is linked, deep down, to ignorance of what it would mean to mention God or Christianity.

«There is ignorance, but not just in some sectors,» he said. «Perhaps there is quite widespread ignorance among Christians. This debate is an invitation to go deeper into the richness of our faith.

«If we, as Christians, take advantage of this occasion to go deeper into the gift we have received, we will certainly make a contribution to Europe.»

On Friday, the plenary assembly of the Convention is expected to come to an agreement on the final text of the first part of the Constitution, which will be presented next week at the summit in Greece.

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