Skip to content

Grand Re-Opening
* FREE Shipping all orders to lower 48 US states

Catholic Online SHopping

Bishops' Statement on the Draft Treaty of European Constitution

"Some Serious Reservations ..."

BRUSSELS, Belgium, JUNE 19, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is the statement of the Executive Committee of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) on the draft treaty establishing a Constitution for the European Union. The statement was published today.

_________________________________

The consensus reached by the European Convention, after intense work and discussion, on the Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for the European Union marks an important step in preparing the Union to address the challenge of its enlargement and to promote the common good in Europe and the world. We should therefore like to welcome this remarkable achievement, whilst also expressing some serious reservations regarding certain points.

We believe that the fact that Europe's religious inheritance is explicitly invoked as one of the sources of inspiration for this Constitution is a significant advance for the European Union. Accordingly, we welcome the recognition in the Preamble that "the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe has embedded within the life of society its perception of the central role of the human person and his inviolable and inalienable rights."

The Constitution will form the basis for future decisions on EU legislation and policy. It is therefore appropriate that Member States' respect for the values outlined in Article 2 should be objectively verifiable. We welcome the fact that those values -- "respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights" -- as well as the principal objective of the Union set out in Article 3 -- "to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples" -- also reflect Christian anthropology and social teaching.

The proposal to accord the Union legal personality strengthens its identity as a community of values and actor on the international stage. In our view, it should now sign the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Liberties, which has served as the benchmark for human rights protection in Europe for more than fifty years.

The incorporation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights as the second part of the Constitution is another important step towards strengthening the protection of citizens' rights at the level of the Union. Nevertheless, we should like to point out again some important lacunae in the text of the Charter, especially with regard to cloning, marriage and family, and religious liberty (see Observations of the COMECE Secretariat on the draft Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, 18 October 2000, available at www.comece.org or on request from the COMECE Secretariat). We therefore welcome the confirmation that the Charter will be applied only to the policies and actions of the EU and thus will respect Member States' prerogative to legislate in these sensitive areas.

Draft Title VI of the Constitution on the Democratic Life of the Union should help citizens to participate more actively in the European democratic process by recognizing the horizontal dimension of subsidiarity as well as its vertical dimension; that is, that different actors in civil society have different characteristics and competences, and that these must be taken into account in the democratic process. The increasing complexity of modern society makes the need for novel approaches to democratic participation all the more urgent.

We particularly welcome draft Article 51, which guarantees the European Union's respect for the status of Churches and religious communities in the Member States based on their different constitutional traditions. The provision for open, transparent and regular dialogue reflects the specific contribution of churches and religious communities, distinct from secular authority, at the service of European society as a whole.

The final draft of the Preamble is an improvement on the original proposal made by the Presidium of the Convention. By removing the references to Greece, Rome and the Enlightenment, the historical inaccuracy of omitting Christianity has been corrected. In our view, however, an inclusive reference to the contribution of Christianity, without which Europe would not be what it is today, remains essential. Moreover, we believe that the reference to "responsibilities towards the Earth" raises questions as it seems to personalize the Earth. Likewise, the identification of Europe as a "special area of human hope" would seem to require qualification as it suggests an overly Euro-centric worldview. Along with many of our fellow citizens, we also continue to believe that a reference to God should be included in this constitutional text as a guarantee of the freedom and dignity of the human person. We think that this completion is necessary and could be achieved without discriminating against anyone.

The Convention has developed further the debate on the future of Europe. It is to be hoped that this will be continued. We call upon the Heads of State and Government and the forthcoming Inter-Governmental Conference to ensure that the progress made by the Convention is not undermined.

___________________________________

NOTES

The President of COMECE is Bishop Josef Homeyer of Hildesheim, Germany. The Vice-Presidents are Bishop Adrianus van Luyn of Rotterdam, Netherlands, and Archbishop Hippolyte Simon of Clermont, France.

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.

Your Catholic Voice is a movement to promote faithful citizenship based on the fundamental truths of the Catholic Church relating to Life, Family, Freedom and Solidarity. For information go to Your Catholic Voice

Contact

Catholic Online
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000

Email

colirf@catholic.org

Keywords

Bishops, Statement, Europe, Treaty

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.