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.
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
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Bishops, Statement, Europe, Treaty
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
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.
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
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Prisoners use lunch with Pope Francis to escape HD Video
- Profit For The Common Good
- Respecting life demands linking all life issues
- Daily Readings for Friday, October 20, 2017
- Daily Reading for Saturday, October 21st, 2017 HD Video
- Cardinal shares the Five Keys to Catholic Education
- St. Paul of the Cross: Saint of the Day for Friday, October 20, 2017
- Deacon Keith invites you... HD
- It was the Clintons! Clinton family took millions in bribes from Russia to sell off U.S. uranium HD
- Daily Reading for Friday, October 20th, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Thursday, October 19th, 2017 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way