Christianity in Europe

Expanded EU Nations Seek Christian Reference in Constitution
( [email protected] ) Sep 05, 2003 10:04 PM EDT

Lithuania and Poland, two Roman Catholic countries, have responded favorably to a statement by Pope Paul John II of seeking reference to the European Union constitution that will inscribe specifically on Christian values. Both countries are currently scheduled to join EU next year.

President Rolandas Paksas and President Aleksander Kwasniewski, leaders of Lithuania and Poland respectively, have both commented on sharing support for Pope Paul John II’s initiative on this issue.

Lithuanian Christian Democratic Party parliamentary deputy Petras Grazulis have prepared a draft resolution asking support from his government for the issue and have stirred controversy in the EU.

John Paul II told EU leaders on Sunday that the draft constitution under discussion will compose of an enlarged EU with clear reference to Europe’s Christian heritage. To the leaders of EU who failed to mention Christianity in the draft document that was finalized in July, the pope stated that the enlarged EU should rediscover its true identity.

"The Catholic Church is convinced that the gospel of Christ, which has been a unifying element for the European people through centuries, still remains an unfailing source of spirituality and brotherhood today," the pope said, renewing an appeal he has made on several occasions this summer.

During the summer near Rome while addressing to pilgrims at the weekly angelus prayer, the pope claimed that incorporating Christianity into EU draft constitution would be an advantage to everyone.

Earlier this year, the EU leaders drafted a constitution calling for an expanded 25-state EU. Despite the intensive campaign of Christian church leaders, there was no mentioning whatsoever of what the pope so called “Europe’s Christian roots.”

The final text will be presented at an Intergovernmental Conference on October which will be hosted by EU president Italy, one of the most staunchly Catholic countries. The president of the EU body Valery Giscard has strongly defended the draft on the ground that some member states would not accept the draft with the presence of the reference.