Bishops Renew Call for Reference to Christianity in Constitution

European Popular Party Also Wants Mention in Text

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

BRUSSELS, Belgium, SEPT. 22, 2003 ( The presidency of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community is renewing its call for a reference to Christianity in the preamble of the future EU Constitution.

The president and vice presidents of COMECE outlined their request in a letter to Silvio Berlusconi, president of the European Council, on the eve of the Intergovernmental Conference. The conference, which opens Oct. 4 in Rome, will decide on the Constitutional Treaty.

German Bishop Josef Homeyer, Dutch Bishop Adrianus van Luyn and French Archbishop Hippolyte Simon, who met in Brussels last Friday, welcomed the proposed references to «Europe’s religious inheritance and values, to the protection of religious freedom, and to the identity and specific contribution of Churches and religious communities.»

Yet, they renewed their call for a reference to Christianity in the preamble of the Constitution, which they say «would complete the Constitution by giving concrete expression to what many citizens recognize as the source of the values on which the European project is founded.»

«Given that Christianity’s contribution to European civilization is undeniable, omitting such a reference would be difficult to understand for many citizens in Europe, whether or not they believe in the Transcendent,» they conclude.

COMECE, together with religious communities and groups, has made numerous contributions to the drafting of the Constitution over the last two years.

Meanwhile, the European Popular Party-European Democrats Group (EPP) said to plans to present an amendment «so that the Judeo-Christian roots» of the continent will appear in the European Constitution.

The announcement was made public by the Hans-Gert Pöttering, president of the political group that includes Christian Democratic and Conservative parties.

Pöttering said there is no intention «to claim the exclusivity of that religious legacy» with the proposal. Yet, «it is a historical legacy that must be defended before Parliament’s plenum,» he said.

The EPP Group president said he did not know if the proposal would be successful. «If we don’t have a majority, at least our position will have been made clear.»

«No doubt the heads of government [of the European Union] will agree,» at the forthcoming Intergovernmental Conference of Rome, that the Christian roots should appear in the future European Constitution, he added.

The EPP Group has 233 of the 626 deputies in the European Parliament; hence, it is its strongest political force.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation