COMECE Pleads for EU Enlargement

Source: FSSPX News

A COMECE meeting

On April 19, 2024, the members of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) published a statement calling for the acceleration of the Union’s enlargement. A text with a progressive tone, judged by its detractors as an “ungrounded” position some weeks before European elections where national conservative parties are popular.

“Beyond being a geopolitical necessity for stability on our continent we, above all, regard the prospect of a future EU membership as a strong message of hope for the citizens of the candidate countries and as an answer to their desire for living in peace and justice.” The joint statement released by COMECE does not really give visibility to the line followed by the body tasked by the Church with “dialoguing” with European institutions.

Not long before, representatives of European episcopal conferences had, however, expressed their opposition to the inclusion of a so-called “right” to abortion in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, as decided by the parliamentarians on April 11.

On this occasion, the bishops repeated their “no to abortion and ideological imposition,” saying that “The European Union must respect the different cultures and traditions in the Member States and their national competences.” But how could “respect” for these different cultures grow if the 27 States of the EU become 34, or even 35?

Because, in the queue of applicants that the COMECE seems to be calling for there are first of all the six Balkan States and former Yugoslavia, which have been candidates since 2003. Then three other countries which want to extract themselves from the Russian sphere of influence since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine: Ukraine first of all, but also Moldova and perhaps even Georgia.

To those who would reproach “a form of naivete” in European prelates, Archbishop Antoine Hérouard, first vice-president of COMECE and Archbishop of Dijon, claims to defend “a position of moral order, which is part of the perspective of the project of European unity, pursued by the founding fathers.” Founding fathers, who, like Jean Monnet, have above all contributed to circumventing a healthy idea of Europe by establishing the reign of technocracy and economics.

In the same vein, the April 19 statement recalls that “The Catholic Church has accompanied closely the European integration process since its beginnings, considering it a process of bringing together the peoples and countries of Europe in a community to guarantee peace, freedom, democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and prosperity.”

Somewhat disappointing, when a reminder of the common base of Europe’s Christian roots would have been more appropriate on the part of members of the teaching Church, and without which it is only a rudderless ship.

The savagery of the world and the proliferation of violence--notably that which affects the right to life in all its forms--require rethinking the Union in terms of sovereignty and a community of destiny founded on Christianity. It alone is able to provide collective discipline: but the Church must first remember to make Christ reign in hearts and institutions, otherwise it only becomes a humanitarian NGO.

The stance of the COMECE is also a rather risky form of political positioning, since it could have been interpreted as support for the progressive lists that encourage the enlargement of the EU in the campaign for the upcoming European elections on June 9: lists to which praticing Catholics do not necessarily feel very close.

“The Union is a paradise seen from elsewhere, but the door of this paradise must remain narrow,” a French parliamentary report examining the EU’s enlargement policy noted in July 2023. This is something to give pause to COMECE, which should remember that, for fifty years, it has often been those who call themselves the most “European” who have done the worst harm to Europe.