Disappointment at the Vatican faced with a European constitution devoid of Christian references

Source: FSSPX News


“More than anti-Christian prejudice – which is no surprise – it’s the cultural myopia which astounds us”, declared Msgr. Giovanni Lajolo, Secretary of the Holy See for Relations with States, to the Italian national daily La Stampa in its October 29 2004 edition, regarding the lack of reference to the Christian roots of Europe in the European Constitution signed the same day in Rome. “The mention of the Christian roots of Europe in the preamble of the Constitutional Treaty was strongly desired by numerous citizens of the continent, Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants” and this reference would not have threatened, as some feared, the neutrality – the healthy neutrality – of political structures vis-à-vis religion”, said with regret the Italian archbishop who just a year ago succeeded to the post formerly held by French cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, that of Vatican “minister of foreign affairs”.

For the Holy See, inserting in the constitutional text a Christian reference “would serve on the contrary to keep alive the consciousness of the concrete historical identity of Europe and its inalienable values”. “If the new ’old Europe’ wants to have a future role worthy of its past, it must not fade into vague reminiscences, but on the contrary be more aware of the very thing which forged its spiritual character”, affirmed Msgr. Lajolo.

When, on October 28th, John-Paul II received the Italian Romano Prodi, the outgoing president of the European Commission, at the Vatican, he did not fail to remind him how much the Christianity “contributed to the common consciousness of the European peoples” and “made a big contribution in forming their civilizations”. “Whether or not it’s recognized in the official texts, it’s an undeniable fact that no historian can forget”, the pope declared.

To avoid explicitly mentioning the Christian roots of Europe is not only to deny the historical evidence, but it is also to debase the principle of the secular state into a sort of secular ideology”, wrote the Vatican daily L’Osservatore Romano, in its October 28 edition. Questioned by APIC news service on the evening of the 28th, the Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano likewise spoke of the “lacuna of historical identity” in the European Constitution. Another reaction in Rome: the Catholic missionary agency Asia News on October 29 called the signing of the European Constitution “lame” in an editorial by its director, Father Bernardo Cervellera, former director of the Vatican agency Fides: “It’s a lame body which will have trouble getting around, which has given itself a constitution”.

Exceptional security measures were taken for this signing. The historic center of the Italian capital was placed under high security, with the mobilization of some 7,000 police officers and members of the security forces. A large area around the Capitoline hill was off-limits to traffic and pedestrians on the morning of the 29th. These measures did not stop a group of about 100 people from participating in a sit-in at the piazza della Reppublica, to demand the recognition of Europe’s Christian roots in the Constitution. “Europe is either Christian or it is not”, affirmed a banner carried by the demonstrators who were part of various Christian youth movements. The demonstration took place without incident.