Monday, March 26, 2007

Pope: EU is committing ‘a form of apostasy’

His Holiness was unlikely to have been reading Cranmer’s blog yesterday, but his conclusion on the ultimate fate of the EU was identical – oblivion. While the politicians were enjoying a birthday party of banter, beer, and Beethoven, another meddlesome priest introduced a sour note of pessimism.

There, however, the coincidence ends. Cranmer prophesied the EU was ‘doomed to failure’ because of its diminution of the nation state and the lack of a distinctly European demos; the Pope prophesied ‘oblivion’ because the EU failed to mention God or Europe's Christian roots in The Berlin Declaration to mark the 50th anniversary of its founding.

That God should get a mention in the EU Constitution was a favoured theme of Pope John Paul II, because this was the ‘very soul’ of the continent. Pope Benedict is simply perpetuating the dream of Rome, and he asks: ‘If on the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome the governments of the union want to get closer to their citizens, how can they exclude an element as essential to the identity of Europe as Christianity, in which the vast majority of its people continue to identify?... Does not this unique form of apostasy of itself, even before God, lead it (Europe) to doubt its very identity?’

It is this ‘identity’ that divides Protestants and Roman Catholics, and even the Jesuit-educated Dr Richard North has observed this principal fissure:

The question of whether references to Christianity should be included in the European Constitution had come up before with the countries dividing mostly but not exclusively along Catholic/Protestant lines, though ultimately the suggestion was blocked by President Chirac for political rather than religious reasons. Much of post-1789 French history has been taken up with battles between the Church and the State with the latter now in firm ascendance.

And Cranmer likes the observations of Dutchman Derk-Jan Eppink, who worked behind the scenes of the European Commission in Brussels. He said: ‘I arrived in 1984 as a Calvinist, I'm leaving in 2007 as a Jesuit’, referring to the differences between the principle-driven approach of the protestant Dutch and the devious conspiracies which are sometimes attributed to the Roman Catholic order of the Jesuits. But this is the modus operandi of the EU, and the tendency is to ‘get sucked in’. Indeed, one tends to lose one’s job, or find oneself indefinitely suspended, if one fails to conform.

The Pope's compatriot, Chancellor Angela Merkel, has made consistent pleas for the revived Constitution to include references to Christianity. This has led the Pope’s co-religionists across the Union to once again echo the call. Italy’s Romano Prodi said he had pushed for inclusion of 'Catholic roots' in the document but that ‘the main task ahead for Catholics was to carry on a dialogue with religions like Islam and Judaism’ (Note the supplanting of 'Christian' with 'Catholic', for therein lies the concern of many Protestants...)

But the EPP, which Mr Iain Dale has established is Roman Catholic to the core, has taken matters into its own hands by including mention of the EU’s religious roots in its own anniversary declaration: ‘Europe's Judeo-Christian roots and common cultural heritage, as well as the classic and humanist history of Europe and the achievements of the period of enlightenment, are the foundation of our political family,’ said the EPP statement, adopted at a meeting attended by Chancellor Merkel and other EU leaders.

Pope Benedict warned the bloc could not deny its ‘historical, cultural and moral identity’ that Christianity helped to forge. He continued: ‘A community that builds itself without respecting the true dignity of the human being, forgetting that each person is created in the image of God, ends up doing good for no one.’

Now, who said the EU was about mere matters of economics and trade?


Anonymous m.d. said...

Do you really think that a token gesture towards religion in the EU constitution is really going to make a difference?

26 March 2007 at 10:59  
Anonymous The Clarendon Code said...

Europe's Judeo-Christian

How American....whatever happened to Judaeo ? or weren't the English invited to use their language ?

26 March 2007 at 11:05  
Anonymous Colin said...

"His Holiness was unlikely to have been reading Cranmer’s blog yesterday"

His Grace is too humble. His Holiness has yesterday read Cranmer's blog. I have sent him a copy by email and he kindly replied and asked me to convey his best regards to His Grace. With regard to His Grace's worries concerning the role and power of the CoE within the EU, His Holiness suggested to specifically mention the importance of the God of the CoE, i.e. Cranmer, in the EU constitution. I replied that this is all nice and beautiful but what about the other religions originating in Europe such atheism, socialism and environmentalism. Shouldn't they also deserve a place in the constitution? Furthermore, what about the religions already present in Europe such as Orthodox Christian faith, Judaism and Islam? I shall keep you informed about His Holiness answer as soon as it arrives.

However, don't worry because the Roman Canon Law of 1685 clearly states: "To believe that our Lord God the Pope has not the power to decree as he is decreed, is to be deemed heretical."

26 March 2007 at 11:52  
Anonymous Colin said...

His Grace might be interested to know the future of Christianity with or without the mentioning of God in the constitution. Olli Rehn, currently European Commissioner for Enlargement, has just published an article Why Turkey clearly belongs into the EU. He wrote "In my opinion the image of borders is limiting and is static. Already the concept "Border" sounds like an end, not like a departure. This restricts our imagination. I rather talk about new horizons."

26 March 2007 at 12:19  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

You Grace, as Brussels' headlong dash to a bright new secular and federalist future continues unabated, we see it is not Protestantism or Catholicism per-se it has rejected but rather the complete Christian ethos, tradition, beliefs and rationale (not to mention truth). We know it is only a matter of time before the 'constitution' is reengineered and reintroduced in such a way as to avoid the embarrassment and inconvenience of being rejected by the ignorant European masses and that it will again avoid any mention of Christianity.

Unlike yourself the EU apparatchiks being mostly confirmed relativist atheists do not make the distinction of the reformation, they take the Enlightenment as their foundation, source and summit, and proceed by ignoring all the difficult questions that entails being true disciples of Neitche, Kant, Hume and Heidegger. If there is any contention the confirmed Europhile sees it more in terms akin to British empiricism versus Continental idealism rather that the Rome/Geneva fault line.

I would urge your grace to put aside your reservations regarding Rome in favour of the greater good of tackling this many headed hydra that is even now getting fat on the lack of any real opposition and support His Holiness in his astute and well timed intervention. If there is to be a Union of European Nations, (and I think unfortunately there is, at least in the short term) is it not better to work together to ensure it has at least some shred of a Christology at its core, rather than petty infighting over what shade that opposition should take. Other than this I see very little to object to in what Pope Benedict has said, Your Grace needs to pick his battles, The Pope is not your opponent unless you chose him to be.

26 March 2007 at 13:52  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Six of the 27 EU Commissioners are former Communists. The changes to the EU in the next 5 years already agreed mean Britain will only have a Commissioner once every 11 years......the rest of the time it will be ruled by foreigners without British input

26 March 2007 at 15:11  
Anonymous bob said...

Colin - I think you should invest in a better library as Canon 1685 states - Can. 1685 As soon as the sentence is executed, the judicial vicar must notify the local ordinary of the place in which the marriage was celebrated. The local ordinary must take care that the declaration of the nullity of the marriage and any possible prohibitions are noted as soon as possible in the marriage and baptismal registers.

Or were you trying to be humourous?

26 March 2007 at 17:53  
Anonymous Colin said...

"the rest of the time it will be ruled by foreigners without British input"

Excellent point, Voyager!

I am wondering how long the British people, the heirs of a centuries-old tradition of freedom, will accept foreign rule?

26 March 2007 at 17:54  
Anonymous Colin said...


"Or were you trying to be humourous?"

Indeed, I tried. Apologies for my failed attempts.

26 March 2007 at 17:58  
Anonymous bob said...

Just wanted to be sure Colin.

26 March 2007 at 18:16  
Anonymous Colin said...

BTW, I agree with the Recusant. But we already have discussed this topic several times without the slightest change in His Grace's view. Apparently, His Grace would rather follow Cat Stevens' example than form an alliance with the sinister forces of the Vatican. Hence, "Nothing New in the West".

27 March 2007 at 17:14  
Anonymous Nicholas Bennett said...

Your Grace should heed the wise words of the Recusant & Colin. A House divided will not be able to oppose the secular tide.

29 March 2007 at 05:45  

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