Bishops: EU citizens can 'no longer fathom' EU project
But this story has moved on even further since The Catholic Herald managed to catch up.
When David Miliband proudly boasted to Parliament that the Lisbon Treaty is supported by the ‘Commission of Bishops’, he could not have foreseen that just a few months later these very bishops would be criticising the EU for its inaccessibility, its opaqueness, and it obfuscational verbiage. Especially when these bishops are in receipt of EU funds to propagate their political soteriology.
Yet they have stated that the ‘aims and meaning’ of the European project ‘remain unanswered’, and that ratification of the reform treaty will still not solve these ‘crucial’ questions.
That was the keynote message to emerge from the plenary assembly of the commission of the bishops’ conference of the European community (COMECE).
COMECE president, Monsignor Adrianus van Luyn, said: “We are now all aware that, as a rule, the ‘how’ questions are the easiest. It is harder to answer questions that start with ‘why’ and ‘wherefore’. Behind the day-to-day business of politics, the vast majority of people can no longer recognise or fathom why things are going in one direction or another. Behind politics resides metapolitics, which forms the values upon which all political action is based, above and beyond party lines.”
The bishops’ agenda was clearly exposed when a COMECE spokesman said the plenary had given bishops ‘the chance to reflect on the fundamental question of how citizens' support for the EU can be mobilised and how this might be translated into concrete goals’.
At the bishops’ Spring Plenary Assembly, they examined ‘the institutional and political revival of Europe’, primarily in respect of the adoption of the Treaty of Lisbon. The main topic of discussion was ‘Respecting human dignity and safeguarding the creation – incarnation of the Common good in the EU policies of the 21st century’. And they have invited EU leaders to ‘express clearly their understanding of human development’ which is envisaged in the European unification process.
Yet it is curious that ‘human dignity’ should be at the forefront of their thinking when the EU is antithetical to their beliefs and pathologically ‘pro-choice’. And heaven help any MEP or commissioner who dares to articulate a pro-life stance or argue for the traditional Christian view of the family. There is growing social inequality, and Socialist group chairman Martin Schulz has told President Barroso: ‘We have achieved progress, unemployment is down, productivity is growing, but precarious jobs in Europe are increasing, they’re not secure or permanent. There is still social imbalance.’ In short, the Lisbon strategy is not helping the poor.
But it is even more curious that the bishops should be so concerned with ‘safeguarding the creation’ that they set up a reflection group on ‘Climate change and Christian Lifestyle’. His Holiness is rather with Lord Lawson on this matter, concerned that the whole ‘green’ agenda is becoming a pseudo religion in an 'age of unreason'.
Finally, the COMECE Bishops acknowledged the achievements of Mgr Noël Treanor, Secretary General of COMECE since 1993, and his efforts ‘to assist the Catholic Church as a proactive partner in dialogue with the EU institutions’.
Precisely what is it about the EU that makes the Roman Catholic Church wish to be a partner to it at all? In what ethical areas is it winning the argument? Where is its spiritual authority causing political compromise? How is its influence manifest in the thousands of regulations and directives that flood the UK every year?
Lord Shore in his book Separate Ways shows just how unnatural and uncomfortable the EU has become - for Britain certainly, but for Christians more than any. This is what he says about EU treaties:
"…no one who has been engaged seriously in the business of examining draft EC laws and treaties can have any doubt about their quite extraordinary – and deliberate - complexity. Every new article or treaty clause is, with reference to articles in earlier treaties - generally to be located in a separate treaty volume. Indeed part of the whole mystique of Community Law is its textual incomprehensibility, its physical dispersal, its ambivalence and its dependence upon ultimate clarification by the European Court of Justice: and the Brussels Commission and their long-serving, often expert officials are, in interpreting and manipulating all this, like a priestly caste - similar to what it must have been in pre-Reformation days, when the Bible was in Latin, not English; the Pope, his cardinals and bishops decided the content of canon law and the message came down to the laymen, only when the Latin text was translated into the vernacular by the dutiful parish priest.”