VATICAN CITY, JUNE 20, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Here is the statement of Joaquín Navarro Valls, director of the Vatican press office, published Saturday following the decision by European leaders in Brussels to back the draft of the Constitutional Treaty of the European Union.
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The news media have reported the adoption by consensus in Brussels of the European Constitutional Treaty by the heads of state and government of the 25 member states.
The Holy See expresses satisfaction over this new and important stage in the process of European integration, which has always been supported and encouraged by the Roman Pontiff. Also a reason for satisfaction is the introduction in the treaty of the measure which safeguards the status of religious confessions in the member states, and commits the Union to maintain an open, transparent and regular dialogue with them, recognizing their identity and specific contribution.
The Holy See cannot but express its distress over the opposition of some governments to the explicit recognition of the Christian roots of Europe. It is a question of disregard of the historical evidence and of the Christian identity of European peoples.
The Holy See expresses heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to those governments that, aware of the past and of the historical horizon in which the new Europe is taking shape, worked to express concretely its recognized religious heritage.
Not to be forgotten is the intense commitment of different entities to have the Christian heritage of Europe mentioned in this treaty, stimulating the reflection of political leaders, citizens and public opinion on a question that is not secondary in the present national, European and world context.
[Translation by ZENIT]