"Subiaco Charter" Gives Monasticism Its Due in Europe

Will Be Used by European Convention in Writing the Constitution

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ROME, JAN. 24, 2003 (Zenit.org).- In its task of writing a future Constitution for the continent, the European Convention has received a new contribution -- one that highlights the role of Christianity and monasticism in culture.



The document, entitled the "Subiaco Charter," was presented Wednesday by Abbot Mauro Meacci of Subiaco, by Italy's ambassador to the Vatican and by the president of the Forum of Family Associations, the VID news service reported.

The text recognizes that in the work of evangelization of Europe, "which was also the work of civilization," St. Benedict and monasticism played a very important role.

The figure of St. Benedict binds classical antiquity with the Middle Ages, and "this extraordinary capacity of synthesis between religious faith and reason, between work and contemplation, knew how to give life to a wise humanism capable of constituting for centuries the bond of men and of the people of Europe," the document reads.

Moreover, the promoters of the Charter have urged that the Convention recognize "the value of the fundamental rights of the human person."

Among these rights, they mention "the right to life from conception to natural death, juridical protection of the family," constituted only in a heterosexual union in matrimony, "and the absolute prohibition of any form of human cloning."

St. Benedict of Nursia, known as the father of Western monasticism, was born in 480. Educated in Rome, he led the secluded life of a hermit and was joined, eventually, by disciples. He founded several monasteries in Subiaco.

In time he founded the famous monastery of Montecassino, where he died in 547, after writing the monastic rule that bears his name.

Pope Paul VI proclaimed him patron of Europe because of the influence he and his monks had in establishing the Christian roots of the continent.