European Constitution

A Danger To Catholic Church


Europe developed into the most civilized society in the world, with the best educated people, the best science, and the best standard of living entirely because of the ethics and morals of a Catholic culture. This entire heritage has been eliminated from the language of the European Constitution and not even the word Christian is permitted to be used. If the majority was allowed to vote on these maters it would be different, but democracy does not count when it comes to religious rights. There is an attempt not only in removing all mention of religion from the history of Europe but eliminating any influence Churches or Religious groups might have on government. After successfully keeping all mention of the Christian heritage out of the Constitution, they now go so far as to condemn the Catholic Church. If you analyze the following news releases you will see that no Catholic could take office in Europe and swear to defend the constitution. I do not see how a Catholic country could sign this constitution.

European Constitution Condemns Catholic Church

On March 11,2002 the European Parliament debated a report that condemns the Catholic Church for its moral principles and its position on women priests. The document, written by Spanish Socialist María Izquierdo Rojo, was approved last October by the Women's Rights Commission and analyzed subsequently by the Citizens' Liberties and Rights Commission. Among other things, the document condemns "the administrations of religious organizations and the leaders of extremist political movements who promote racial discrimination, xenophobia, fanaticism and the exclusion of women from leading positions in the political and religious hierarchy."

The report also deplores "the interference of the churches and religious communities in the public and political life of the state, in particular when such interference is designed to restrict human rights and fundamental freedoms, for instance, in the sexual or reproductive sphere."

The European chamber's principle would thus deny the Catholic Church the right to proclaim the moral doctrine it has always preached. The proclamation of religious truths is guaranteed by Article 10 of the European Union's Charter of Fundamental Rights, on "Liberty of Thought, Conscience and Religion." Nonetheless the Parliament approved it. It is now part of the Constitution.

In Strasbourg, France on March 13, 2002 the European Parliament narrowly approved the report that purports to underline the violations suffered by women because of religious extremism. The report "Women and Fundamentalism," presented by Spanish Socialist deputy María Izquierdo, was approved by a vote of 242-240. There were 42 abstentions. Europarliamentarians either modified or eliminated some of the more controversial points of the report, such as the request to religious leaders, including John Paul II and Eastern patriarchs, to change their views on lesbianism. The "right to control one's own body," regarded by some groups as a justification of abortion, was also eliminated from the text. Vatican Radio described the text as "controversial" and of "secular stamp."

Even Feminist Sees Danger

The "Women and Fundamentalism" report approved by the European Parliament was severely criticized by Maria Antonietta Macciocchi, a leading feminist. Macciocchi recalls her meeting with John Paul II in 1989, which she wrote about in a book, "Women According to Wojtyla." Macciocchi was elected a deputy of the Italian Communist Party in Naples in 1968. She was awarded the French Legion of Honor in 1992 by President François Mitterrand, for her work as writer, professor and journalist. Macciocchi has had two meetings with John Paul II.

Q: Is the Church guilty of so many faults in its treatment of women?

Macciocchi: From this point of view, we can be at peace because John Paul II is the first Pope who has said he believes in the [unique] nature of women. That phrase of his had a profound effect in the years when he expressed it. In the course of an interview he granted me, I remember that he literally said: "Yes, I have in fact said that I believe in women's [unique] nature." I thought I hadn't understood well. The Church has made an historic gesture with this phrase, which was followed by the apostolic letter "Mulieris Dignitatem."

Q: Instead, Strasbourg requests that the Church be sidelined, confined in the privacy of faith.

Macciocchi: This is a direct attack, and it is precisely the aim of the report. What the resolution supports is not true.
As regards women, all the words spoken by the Church are words of understanding, which appreciate the sacrifice, effort and social injustices to which they are subjected -- to say nothing of the fact that religion has never developed in a private sphere. Rather, it is precisely its [The Catholic Church] public character that has contributed to give society a character. Q: There is nothing like it in Italy.

Q: How do you assess this interference by Strasbourg in matters that are proper to the Church? Is this what laicism means?

Macciocchi: The document begins with women and extends to all institutions of society. There is a separation between state and church, which means that in the ambit of the state itself or of religion itself, there is a right to be able to intervene on human affairs that affect others.

Q: The report's so-called point K, later amended, stated that when the Church intervenes publicly on this type of questions it goes against the legislation of member states.

Macciocchi: I really don't understand this. Many topics can be freely addressed, such as the school. What is required is that the ideas that are proposed be progressive and open. It all depends on what is said, on what the churches propose.

Pope John Paul II on Constitution

 To ignore the contribution of religion in education is an "error of perspective" and a "poor service to the truth about man," John Paul II said when he visited a public university on the outskirts of Rome.

"Suffice it to look at history with objective eyes to realize how important religion has been in the formation of cultures, and how it has suffused with its influence the whole of the human habitat," the Pontiff said, in an address to hundreds of students and professors gathered in the great hall of University Rome 3.

"To ignore this or to deny it is not only an error of perspective, but also a poor service to the truth about man," the Holy Father added.

"From this osmosis [of faith and culture], has not, perhaps, that humanism emerged of which our Europe is so justifiably proud, which today seeks new cultural and economic goals?" the Holy Father continued.

England Violates European Constitution

A Labor member of Parliament in London introduced a private member's bill to try to repeal the 300-year-old Act of Settlement which bars Catholics from succession to the British throne, the Guardian newspaper reported. Kevin McNamara's 10-minute rule bill would also amend the 153-year-old Treason Felony Act to make it no longer a criminal offense to call for the abolition of the monarchy. Bills introduced under the 10-minute rule have little or no chance of becoming law, but the procedure allows backbench members to raise important issues in Parliament. McNamara, the member of Parliament for Hull North, argues that the two acts -- which are cornerstones of the constitution -- clash with the United Kingdom's obligations under the European convention on human rights, which guarantees freedom of belief and freedom of speech.

The move comes as the Guardian newspaper prepares to go to the court of appeal to argue that the Treason Felony Act 1848 is incompatible with Article 10 of the European convention, which protects the right to free speech. The act makes it an offense punishable by life imprisonment to advocate ending the monarchy, even by peaceful means.

Catholic Church Fights Back

Conclusions of Annual Assembly at the Vatican on the European Constitution said, "The right to life is non-negotiable. The "fundamental rights of man (as the history of nations demonstrates) are inviolable and non-negotiable; hence, they can never be at the arbitrary mercy of any social pact or majority consensus." The assembly of the academy stated that part "of our contemporary culture, exasperating the right to individual rights, claims that the state should approve, decriminalize and allow the free carrying out of attacks against human life (especially the unborn and terminal)."

The object of these currents of thought is that they hope that "such actions will lose their 'criminal' character in the collective conscience and, paradoxically, assume the character of a 'right,'" the statement says. Experts in bioethics, law, science, medicine, philosophy and theology met to address the topic "Nature and Dignity of the Human Person as Foundation of the Right to Life: Challenges of the Contemporary Cultural Context."

Over three days, members of the academy stated that "one of the challenges of the present cultural context is the lack of recognition (by some currents of thought) of a universal human nature of which the natural moral law stems," the final text states. For every one of man's rights to be respected, it is indispensable to recover the sense of the "natural moral law," which they defined as "the light of intelligence infused in us by God."

"Thanks to it, we know what must be done and what must be avoided. God has given us this light and law in creation," they explained. Yet, if "the exigencies that arise from the natural moral law" are not to remain simply as good intentions, "they need the law to recognize and protect them in social life," the academicians added.

Professor Michel Schooyans of the University of Leuven, "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights gives a clear definition of the right to life," he said. "However, in the second half of the 20th century, legislation has been approved in favor of abortion and, more recently, of euthanasia, which explicitly violates the right to life."

Monsignor Schooyans, a leading specialist in the relation between demography and development, said he believes the right to life will be increasingly confronted with the "worrying tendency that favors and justifies artificial insemination for eugenic ends."

European Constitution Must Reflect Christian Values

The Parliamentary Observatory of Rome had a seminar on the convention that will elaborate a European Constitution, and it asked that the contribution of Christianity be kept in mind. Jurist Achille Chiappetti, professor of public law at the University of La Sapienza in Rome, a layman and relator of the seminar, said he was convinced that the European Charter would have to be Christian, because the history of the Old World is marked by natural values that are defended by Christianity. The seminar was held after John Paul II lamented the European Union's rejection last month of the contribution of communities of believers in the convention, which should serve to write the future Constitution.

"Religion entails enormous values for man," Chiappetti said. "Moreover, without the Christian religion, we would not have arrived at this level of our civilization."

Q: How do you explain the temptation to relegate Europe's Christian roots to the background, at the moment of undertaking the process that will lead to a European Constitution?

Chiappetti: It hasn't been said explicitly, but these roots are amply recalled in the Nice Charter of Rights which is completely laced, as is the whole of Western civilization, with the values of Christianity. The convention is now called to decide if that charter will be binding for all European states. "European rights" are precisely the contents of the text prepared in Nice. Articles 9 and 10, for example, safeguard marriage, the family and religions.

Q: In this phase preceding the Constitution, do you think it is necessary to listen to different religious confessions?

Chiappetti: Juridically, there is no obligation to listen to anyone in particular. In reality, the idea that was developed both in Nice as well as Laeken is that this process must be as open as possible to civil society.

There is the formal commitment to listen to all its constituents and even the obligation to take into consideration in the convention's discussions the proposals that are made.

Q: How will Christian values be translated into juridical norms?

Chiappetti: Through reference to Christian values. It would be something logical, even without the need to proclaim explicitly that Christian values are the basis of the conception of man in modern society -- in part, because such a proclamation might even seem to be a sign of weakness, of fear that these values have been lost.

Certainly, after the Sept. 11 attacks, there is a need to declare them again, but the values are so strong that there is no need. When it says that the "Republic recognizes and guarantees the inviolable rights of man" and that the fulfillment of inalienable duties of solidarity is imperative, can this not already been read as pure Christianity?

The Holy Father began by expressing a basic principle: "Agents of law in the civil area must avoid being personally involved in anything that might imply cooperation with divorce."

"In exercising a liberal profession, lawyers can always decline to use their profession for an end that is contrary to justice, such as divorce," the Pope clarified.

"They can only collaborate in an action of this kind when, in keeping with the client's intentions, it is not directed to the rupture of marriage, but to other legitimate effects, which can only be attained by a specific juridical ruling through the judicial avenue," he said.

No. 2383 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that "if civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense."

So the Holy Father made it clear that the lawyer's task is not to destroy families, but to help people "undergoing marital crises" to be reconciled.

Divorce Mentality Must Be Combated, Insists John Paul II

Indissolubility of Marriage is the foundation of every Society, He Says. "If marriage is not forever, it is not marriage, and without marriage the family, the very foundation of society, is undermined, John Paul II said and then suggested positive ways to combat the "divorce" mentality.

"The view of the indissolubility as a limitation to the liberty of the partners and, consequently, as a weight that at times can become unbearable, must be surmounted." John Paul II explained to the judges and lawyers that in this field, "the challenge for the Church and for those who believe in conjugal love consists in making a "positive presentation of the indissoluble union in order to rediscover its beauty."

This will be achieved, the Pope added, if this beauty is witnessed "by families, 'domestic churches' in which the husband and wife recognize mutually that they are bound to one another forever, with a bond that calls for an ever-renewed and generous love that is disposed to sacrifice." "It is not possible to give in to the divorce mentality," the Holy Father told the members of the tribunal, while encouraging them to defend the beauty of marriage in their work.

"It might seem that divorce is so rooted in certain social environments, that it is no longer worthwhile to continue to combat it, by spreading a mentality, a social custom, and civil legislation in favor of indissolubility," John Paul II said. "And yet, it is worthwhile! In fact, this good is part of the foundation of every society, as a necessary condition for the family's existence," he exclaimed.

"Therefore, its absence has devastating consequences, which spread like a plague in the social body -- according to the term used by Vatican Council II to describe divorce -- and have a negative influence on the new generations for whom the beauty of authentic marriage is obfuscated," the Pope stressed. "The value of indissolubility cannot be considered as the object of a simple private choice: It affects one of the pillars of the whole society," the Holy Father emphasized. Thus, John Paul II refuted "the rather widespread idea, according to which indissoluble marriage is proper for believers, but they cannot 'impose' it on civil society as a whole."