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Saturday, December 10, 2016
Bishops appeal Christianity and God in EU Constitution
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 Bishop Josef Homeyer, President of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community, has today written to Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, President of the European Convention, to advocate references to Christianity and God in the Preamble of the new EU Constitution. Bishop Homeyer welcomes the inclusive reference to Europe's religious heritage in the Preamble proposed last week by the Presidium of the European Convention. However, he expresses astonishment that an explicit reference to Christianity is excluded from a list of important elements in the development of European civilisation. The Bishop also renews the proposal for a non-discriminatory reference to God in the Preamble of the Constitution as a guarantee of the freedom of European citizens, be they Christians, Jews or Muslims. This is the full text of the letter: Dear Mr Giscard d'Estaing, In these days and weeks you are working hard in the interest of all Europeans. Allow me first to express my deep recognition and gratitude for your tremendous efforts. With the publication of the entire draft EU Constitution, you have launched the final stages of the debate on the European Union of the future. My brother Bishops and I have read with great interest the keenly awaited draft Preamble of the EU Constitution. The Presidium proposes a Preamble to the Constitution which recognises in an inclusive way the contribution of Europe's religious heritage in determining the common values that underlie the process of European integration. As you know, this recognition is particularly important for the Christian Churches and I welcome it. A Europe which disavowed its past and which had no spiritual dimension would be greatly impoverished in facing up to the ambitious project which calls upon all its available energy: constructing a Europe for all. I should nevertheless like to express my astonishment that the Preamble includes a list of important elements in European civilisation but does not refer explicitly to Christianity. Without wishing to detract from other contributions, no other religion or philosophical movement has inspired Europe as much as Christianity. Allow me also to renew our proposal for a reference to God in the Constitution. A reminder of the limits of human power, and of responsibility before God, Humankind and Creation, would be an important sign that public power is not absolute. The Union would thus explicitly recognise that its citizens, be they Christians, Jews or Muslims, are free to invoke God. This recognition would represent a guarantee of the freedom of the human person and would help many citizens to identify with the values of the European Union and the future Constitution. That such a reference need not be discriminatory is demonstrated clearly by, for example, the German and Polish Constitutions. I am writing to you because similar concerns have been expressed to me not only by my brother Bishops, but also by many other people in the EU and the accession countries. Aware of the enormous challenges facing you in the coming days and weeks, I should nevertheless be very grateful if you would bear our concerns in mind. I wish you and all members of the Convention inspiration, courage and God's blessing for your work towards a final consensus. Yours sincerely + Josef Homeyer Bishop of Hildesheim President of COMECE Source: COMECE
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