Bishops renew call for Christian reference in EU constitution

 The bishops of Europe have renewed their call for a reference to Christianity in the preamble of the future EU Constitution. In a letter to Silvio Berlusconi, the President and Vice-Presidents of COMECE welcome the achievement of the European Convention, which drafted the proposed Constitutional Treaty and which they describe as "a successful innovation in the European democratic process". As the current President of the European Council, Mr Berlusconi will open the Inter-Governmental Conference that will decide on the Constitutional Treaty in Rome on 4 October. Bishop Josef Homeyer from Hildesheim, Germany, Bishop Adrianus van Luyn from, Rotterdam, Netherlands and Archbishop Hippolyte Simon, from Clermont, France, who met in Brussels last Friday, also welcome 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". This represents, in their view, "significant progress in the way in which religion is taken into account in the European Union's constitutional architecture". They nevertheless renew 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 recognise as the source of the values on which the European project is founded". "Given that Christianity's contribution to European civilisation 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 the Church and Society Commission of the Conference of European Churches and other Churches and religious communities, has made numerous contributions to the drafting of the Constitution over the last two years. For more information, visit COMECE is a commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conferences of the member states of the European Union. The Bishops' Conferences of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland are associate members.

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