France: Cardinal Tauran in favor of a Yes vote in the referendum on the European Constitution

Source: FSSPX News


If France rejects the European Constitutional Treaty in the referendum on May 29, 2005, there will be a crisis of credibility with serious consequences for the European Union, in the opinion of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, Librarian and Archivist of the Holy See, and former Secretary of the Holy See for relations with States.

The French prelate was voicing his opinion at the end of a debate on “One hundred years of French secularity”, on May 13, organized by the French Ambassador to the Holy See. “The Constitutional Treaty as a whole is a valid treaty,” said the cardinal. “It is not a masterpiece, but it includes principles such as solidarity and the respect of human rights which are very important for believers.”

Like all treaties it could be perfected, but for the moment, I believe it would be very grave if the people of France declared themselves against this treaty. It would be a bad sign.” The rejection of the treaty by the French, in his opinion, would create “a massive crisis of credibility for Europe, and the European cause would suffer grave consequences because people would say: this Europe, does it exist or not, what is it?”

 According to the former “minister of Foreign Affairs of the Holy See”, the absence of any reference to Europe’s Christian roots in the preamble of the constitutional text is not an obstacle to the ratification of the treaty. “We shouldn’t confuse things.” This reference in the preamble “has no legal meaning,” but is a matter of historical evocation. Of course, the Holy See regretted this inability to read history and recognize Christianity as the only religion which had participated and contributed to the formation of European institutions through schools, the exercise of democracy in Benedictine monasteries, etc… “It is regrettable, but we should not overdramatize things.”

 Concerning religious liberty, he said the most important thing was article 52 of the treaty which ensures permanent and clear dialogue between religious communities and civil leaders. For this high ranking prelate, this is “a positive thing.” Finally, he recalled that the Holy See was neither for or against Turkey’s future entry into the European Union.

Making his views clear in an interview given to I.MEDIA, on May 24, the French cardinal was keen to hark back to the absence of any reference to the Christian roots of Europe, an absence which he preferred to call an “omission”: “this oversight is without doubt regrettable. If we are not capable of re-reading our history or if we re-read it through the prism of simplistic ideologies, it is to be feared that the Europeans may have hazy ideas about their own identity. What would be their response to the question: what is Europe? Having said that, I consider it a positive thing, that thanks to the intervention of John Paul II and his associates, a debate took place on this subject and that the final wording of the text “religious heritage” refers implicitly to Christianity.” We take note and we will remember.

 Concerning the entry of Turkey, Cardinal Tauran qualified very diplomatically what he said on May 13: “What permits any country access to the European Union, is that it shares and lives by the founding values of this Union. There are the famous criteria of Copenhagen, which include genuine respect for fundamental human rights, as well as the respect and protection of minorities. We can understand that the popes and their associates have always insisted that, like the other countries, Turkey actively respect the religious liberty of minorities, not only on the legislative and administrative level, but also on the social level. And if my memory serves me well, the European Commission has pointed out serious shortcomings in this domain. Nothing on Christian Europe in the face of Islam.

 In answer to the question: “What would be the consequences of a rejection of the Constitution on May 29?”, Cardinal Tauran replied: “Such an eventuality would complicate enormously the ratification process, given that France was one of the founding countries of the European Union. “Political” Europe would remain a project. Only the Europe of “the Euro” would be working… We would remain at the Treaty of Nice and the Commission would pursue its work as it is today.”