Europe: Bishops Invite People to Vote to Defend the “European Project”

Source: FSSPX News

The COMECE standing committee visits the State Secretariat in 2018

In the run-up to the European elections which will take place in June 2024, the bishops of the Commission of Episcopates in the European Union (COMECE) have published two documents. In a March 12 joint declaration they called on European citizens for “a responsible vote encouraging Christian values and the European project.”

This declaration was signed, for France, by Antoine Hérouard, Archbishop of Dijon and first vice-president of COMECE. In the second document, dated March 19, the prelates offer a “Catholic kit for young Europeans” (sic).

This pamphlet of around ten pages, published in 13 languages, aims to enable young people across Europe to actively engage in the democratic process. It seeks to encourage electoral participation, highlighting the importance of civic engagement and the central role of young people in building the future of Europe.

“We encourage young people to become aware of the importance of their vote as a concrete means of contributing to the European project which is their future,” declares Fr. Manuel Barrios Prieto, Secretary General of COMECE.

Divided into five sections, the “kit” addresses topics such as politics, citizenship, the common good, European identity, and critical thinking. It encourages young people to think about the ethical aspects of their political engagement by emphasizing values such as solidarity, justice, and human dignity.

European Bishops or Civil Servants?

In La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana of March 20, Stefano Fontana wonders whether the authors of these two documents are bishops or officials of the European Union. He recalls that COMECE which has its headquarters in Brussels “is chaired by the Italian Msgr. Mariano Crociata, former secretary of the Italian Bishops Conference, and made up of 24 bishops representing the national episcopal conferences of which four act vice -presidents.”

And he asks: “What are the European episcopates doing in Brussels? Seeing what 24 bishops have produced for the occasion, one is very embarrassed for them, if only one know in even a rudimentary way some minimum element of the Social Doctrine of the Church.”

The Italian intellectual comments: “It is well known that the European Union is in crisis and in a state of confusion. The list of its flaws would be very long. President Macron has expressed his desire to include the right to abortion in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, after having already included it in the French Constitution.”

“Throughout the Union, farmers are protesting, impatient with the policies of the Green New Deal wanted by Brussels which, pursuing the climate ideology of global warming attributed to human causes, imposes absurd and uneconomic measures. The countries of the Union, more or less, are invaded by uncontrolled clandestine migration while Islam reaches very high percentages in several cities, imposing its own civilization.”

“European institutions defend and spread a homogeneous culture inspired by relativist democracy and narcissistic subjectivism which with the ‘new rights’ kills the family and other natural dimensions of social life… And the list could continue…” Stefano Fontana is legitimately surprised:

“Faced with this real confusion that causes worrying deviations, the 24 bishops of COMECE invite citizens to participate in elections, even though they are only reiterating the validity of the European project while remembering that there were Catholic political personalities at its origin.” 

“They invite us to ‘vote for people and parties who clearly support the European project and who we reasonably believe will want to promote our values and our idea of Europe, such as respect and promotion of the dignity of each human person, solidarity, equality, family and the sacredness of life, democracy, freedom, subsidiarity, the protection of our common home.’”

The Europe of “Silent Apostasy”

For Stefano Fontana, “The invitation to vote for those who clearly support the European project is intended to dissuade voting for opposition parties, which many Catholics who are exasperated by this Union will do. Respect for the human person is now a versatile and meaningless concept since even Macron appeals to it.”

“Solidarity, equality, freedom, subsidiarity are only conventional and generic words if they are not substantiated in the light of the Social Doctrine of the Church. In the Treaties, for example, subsidiarity is foreseen, but it is not that of Catholic social thought.”

“It could not miss the defense of the environment (the ‘common home’), but there’s so much ideology today on this front, an ideological fog that the COMECE bishops in their statement do not think of dissipating.”

“Finally, family and life: but faced with today’s challenges, is it enough to simply quote two words on a list? Shouldn't we not speak a little louder and bang our fists on the table? This press release has all the flavor of a text written by bishop-officials, more bureaucrats than bishops, sanitized, cold, aligned, timid, and afraid of shuffling the cards laid out on the table.”

More severe on the second episcopal document, Stefano Fontana writes: “The Kit for young people is even more dull and soft. It consists of five short windows, all (except one) rigorously accompanied by quotes from Francis on politics, citizenship, the common good, and the protection of creation, the European Union as a community of belonging, critical thinking.”

“A young reader is led to think that the Social Doctrine of the Church is generic: “Let’s love one another and participate in elections.” No serious issue emerges. […] There is no critical assessment of the European project, nor any evaluation for the future. And above all, they never mention God and Christ.”

“In practice, it’s sentimental, with numerous concessions to platitudes invented by dominant thought: the accusation of ‘populism,’ the praise of ‘popular leaders,’ the focus on the use of social networks – a subject that costs nothing to address –, the European Union presented as a ‘community,’ the common good reduced to ecology, climate action, and the pathetic lament for the decrease in voter turnout. And at the end, of course, from good officials, practical instructions on how to vote.”

A Declining Europe 

It must be believed that the results of the next European elections are of great concern to bishops as much as politicians, because the prelates of the Euregio – which brings together the dioceses of Luxembourg, Trier (Germany), Metz, Verdun, Nancy-Toul and Troyes (France), Liège and Namur (Belgium) – also signed a joint pastoral letter, dated April 8, entitled, A New Lease on Life for Europe.

Here are a few extracts which demonstrate a declining Europe, no longer missionary but resigned. 

On Islam: “Of course, the question of refugees and that of Islam on European soil weigh heavily on the debate. But we believe that it is possible to live together, it is even vital to avoid and repel extremism. To do this, we must resist the temptation to withdraw into ourselves.”

And on the massive arrival of migrants: “The problem is real and we have no right to deny it. The Mediterranean has become a cemetery where more than twenty thousand people of all ages who dreamed of Europe have died.”

“Many migrant brothers and sisters are knocking on our door: the vast majority are fleeing the difficult and hopeless living conditions they experience at home and are ready to brave death to escape their current situation and its impasses. They shake us up, but they also help and energize Europe.”