A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
principality, it is only 370 acres—approximately the size of New York’s Central Park—one has to wonder why it is that the Principality of Monaco is repeatedly plagued by this biased unilateral and myopic media coverage of its secular social and cultural life, while its more serious political, diplomatic, moral/religious and intellectual life is summarily ignored by the global media.
The Principality of Monaco is an official sovereign nation, actually a constitutional monarchy, which became a voting member of the United Nations in 1993, and a member of the Council of Europe ion 2004, with moral, legal, diplomatic and political fiduciary obligations and responsibilities to its citizens, the Church and the world. Thanks to a revision of its 1918 treaty with France in October 2002 under Prince Rainier III, Monaco now maintains formal diplomatic relations, active and passive legation at the ambassadorial level, with a host of nations, including the U.S., the Holy See, Japan, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, among others.
The Principality even has its own university, the International University of Monaco, formerly known as the University of Southern Europe. Monaco also has a world famous oceanographic museum dedicated to oceanographic research and marine exploration, founded by the scientist-prince, and Prince Rainier’s great-grandfather, Albert I in 1910, and formerly directed by the famous oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau. The museum will mark its 100th anniversary in the year 2010 with a host of public events dedicated to oceanographic exploration and marine preservation. There is, however, intricately more to Monaco than meets the eye.
Monaco is one of the few remaining sovereign nations in the world which has chosen to retain the Roman Catholic religion as the official religion of the state. Moreover, Monaco’s decision to retain the Roman Catholic religion as its state religion, obligates the Government of the Principality, and indeed the whole nation, to work to preserve, protect and enforce the Catholic rule of faith in the life and public works of the state. The year prior to Prince Rainier’s death, in July 2004, the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace published The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. The purpose of this publication was to synthesize and make accessible to every Catholic, in one official document, the official moral and social doctrinal teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Compendium outlines the Catholic Church’s posture on the most important international issues of our time, including, human rights, and the urgency to protect the dignity of each human person from the moment of conception to natural death, the need to fight for social justice, the obligation to work to end poverty and to defend the weakest of the global human family, i.e., women, children, the elderly, the ill, the immigrant and the refugee, the necessity for financial equity among nations, the imperative to protect the environment, accurately evaluate the use of armed conflict, human cloning, and biotechnologies, among others.
Thus, Monaco, as an officially Catholic nation, has the highest moral obligation to ensure that its society, rooted in the Catholic Faith and its Traditions, is not only a society of secular glamour and indulgent entertainment, but that it is also a faith-based society accountable, and in transparent compliance with its Catholic social, moral, political and diplomatic obligations, especially the ecclesiastical human rights rule of law.
Complementing the commitment to the ideals of the Catholic Faith exhibited by Prince Rainier III, Princess Grace was also consciously aware of her sovereign role as a Catholic public witness to Christ and the teachings of the Catholic Faith in the affairs of the Catholic monarchy of Monaco, and she became involved in the social, moral and humanitarian matters of the monarchy early on in her reign. Due to her involvement the new constitution of the Principality promulgated in 1963 hailed as a “Coup de Grace,” gave women full voting rights for the first time, and made the women citizens of Monaco eligible to hold office in the National Council. These interventions would be the first of many socio-political developmental and human rights accomplishments to be attributed to Princess Grace in her lifetime.
But, one asks, what progress has been made in promoting the social, moral and political Catholic witness of Monaco as a Catholic nation since the reign of Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace? This is the question upon which Prince Albert II, Monegasque statesmen, politicians, diplomats, civil servants, businessmen, social elites, and a new generation of Catholic Monegasque citizens and Monaco inhabitants need to prayerfully meditate.
Since Monaco has been blessed with an exceptionally stable economy, religious-political peace, a ...
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