Pope criticises EU declaration

Pope Benedict has strongly criticised the EU for excluding a mention of God and Europe's Christian roots in declarations marking the 50th anniversary of its founding.

Pope criticises EU declaration

Pope Benedict has strongly criticised the EU for excluding amention of God and Europe's Christian roots indeclarations marking the 50th anniversary of its founding.

European Union leaders kicked off festivities to mark its50th anniversary on Saturday with a gala concert at the Berlin Philharmonichosted by Angela Merkel, Germany'schancellor.

The official part of the celebrations, the signing on Sundayof a Berlin Declaration on the principles and goals uniting the 27-member bloc,made no mention of Christianity, which Benedict calls a form of "apostasyof itself".

The Pope, who - like his predecessor John Paul II - oftencalls for a mention of God and Christianity in the European Constitution, saidleaders could not exclude values that helped forge the "very soul" ofthe continent.

Christian heritage

He said:"If on the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome the governments of theunion want to get closer to their citizens, how can they exclude an element asessential to the identity of Europeas Christianity, in which the vast majority of its people continue to identify.

"It isno surprise that today's Europe,while it purports to be a community of values, seems to increasingly contestthe existence of absolute and universal values.

"Doesnot this unique form of apostasy of itself, even before God, lead it [Europe] to doubt its very identity?"

Apostasy isa total desertion of or departure from one's religion.

Merkelto promote Christian references

Merkel aimsto re-launch the EU constitution and last month made a plea for the bloc toinclude references to Christian roots.

Plansto include such a reference in the original EU treaty, rejected by French andDutch voters in 2005, were blocked by Jacques Chirac, the French president.

Merkel, asholder of the EU's rotating presidency, is now in the process of reviving theconstitution.

Commentsfrom Merkel, the daughter of a pastor, have encouraged religious leaders aroundEurope toredouble efforts to modify the constitution.

RomanoProdi, Italy'sprime minister, also said he had pushed for inclusion of Catholic roots in theEuropean Constitution, but that the main task ahead for Catholics was to carryon a dialogue with religions like Islam and Judaism.

Prodi onSaturday, said: "I fought silently and for long for the insertion ofChristian roots in the European Constitution."


Thesigning on Sunday of the Berlin Declaration is to be livened upduring the weekend with cultural events throughout the German capital.

Museumswill open their doors to the public into the small hours on Sunday whilethe city's discotheques will fire up a European Club Night.

And afestival at the Brandenburg Gate, a symbol of European division, then unityafter the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, will
feature national delicacies from eachof the member states and a rock concert.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16