New Draft of Constitution Fails to Mention Christian Roots

ROME, DEC. 10, 2003 ( A new draft of the European Constitutional Treaty does not mention the continent’s Christian roots, a topic that has attracted much papal concern.

The text’s failure to mention Christianity was confirmed in a press meeting today by Franco Frattini, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Italian presidency of the European Union will present the document at the Brussels summit this Friday and Saturday. Frattini said that “the heads of government will decide directly” on the issue.

Monsignor Aldo Giordano, secretary of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, said that the prelates look with “great expectation” to the Brussels meeting.

At the same time, Monsignor Giordano thinks that Article 51 guarantees a “transparent and regular” dialogue between European institutions and the churches and religious communities, “an important novelty for the churches, from the juridical point of view.”

“In addition,” he told Vatican Radio in an interview, “the fact that the Constitutional Treaty includes the Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union means that there are elements that guarantee freedom and freedom of religion.”