Christians to Present 3 Proposals for European Constitution
Respect for Legal Status of Churches Is Among Requests
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ROME, MARCH 14, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A Christian group will ask that the future European Constitution explicitly state its respect for the legal status of churches and religious communities.
The convention of Christians for Europe will present three proposals in all at a congress on the future Constitution, convoked for April 3 by the European Parliament.
The announcement was confirmed on Vatican Radio by Giorgio Salina, vice president of the association and adviser of the apostolic nunciature to the European Community.
Christians for Europe, a permanent convention of Europarliamentarians, politicians, diplomats, educators, academics and lay professionals, elected Josep Miró i Ardevol its president. The convention has vice presidents in various countries.
With the help of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the convention fosters relations with European Christian denominations, including Orthodox, Protestants and Anglicans.
To the first articles of the draft of the European Convention's Constitutional Treaty, Christians for Europe wants to add three petitions.
Miró said: "In Article 1, concerned with the creation of the European Union, it is stated that the Union will respect the national identity of the member states. It should also say that it will respect the legal status of the churches, religious communities and non-confessional organizations, because it is an essential part of the said national identity."
"In Article 2, concerned with the Union's values, reference is made to human dignity, freedom, democracy, the state of law, human rights, tolerance, justice and solidarity," Miró observed. "This seems very good to us, but there are concepts missing, which are also real European values that should be mentioned."
He enumerated the values that the writers of the new Constitution should incorporate: "centrality of the human person, defense of the family, promotion of peace, subsidiarity, and the social -- not just individual -- dimension of human rights. These are European values that the writers should incorporate in this article."
"In article 3, concerned with the Union's objectives," he continued, "we think that indispensable objectives for Europe are missing: the primacy of the person, respect among peoples, eradication of poverty, protection of children and families, promotion of peace, and compliance with acquired international commitments."
Lastly, the group Christians for Europe asks: What is the basis of European values?
According to Antonio Arcones, its secretary, "we wish to remind the political power that the civil and political sphere is independent of the ecclesiastical sphere, but not of the moral sphere. When political power gives up the moral sphere, civil coexistence pays for it."
"In our opinion, if we remove from European values their transcendent base -- which is the way the majority of Europeans live these values -- the values are then emptied of content, and the political power can then dictate its own norms, turning against man himself," Arcones warned.