Constitution's Silence on Christianity Decried as "Cultural Myopia"

Assessment by Vatican Secretary for Relations With States

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ROME, OCT. 31, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See believes that the absence of the mention of the Christian roots in the European Union’s Constitution is due to “cultural myopia,” more than to “anti-Catholic prejudices.”

The expression was used by Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, Vatican secretary for relations with states, in an interview with the newspaper La Stampa on Friday, the day of the signing of the Constitutional Treaty in Rome.

“The mention of the Christian roots of Europe in the preamble of the Constitutional Treaty was intensely desired by many Christians of this continent — Catholics, Orthodox and evangelicals,” the prelate said.

“It could not endanger, as some feared, the secularism — healthy secularism! — of the political structure. It was necessary, on the contrary, to keep alive the awareness of the concrete historic identity of Europe and of its values, which can never be given up,” he continued.

“If the new ‘old Europe’ wants to carry out, in the history of the coming years, a role worthy of its past, it cannot be content with vague reminiscences, but will have to be conscious of that which, specifically, has traced its spiritual physiognomy,” added the prelate in his statements to the Turin newspaper.

“More than anti-Christian prejudice — which is not surprising — one is astonished by the cultural myopia, because, to say ‘Christian roots’ does not mean ideological limitation, but memory of the ferment produced in the history of Europe, and from Europe spread to the whole world,” Archbishop Lajolo added.

To recall “the greatest revolution of the spirit that humanity has known, does not mean to hope for the return of seasons that have passed, but to hope for a new humanism, which will not lose its vigor through relativism or be sterilized by technology,” he said.

What is hoped for, he added, is “a new humanism that will naturally respect and be open to other cultures, more than that, oriented to a new and more lofty form of civilization.”

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