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Report: European churches revive drive for EU “God clause”

January 23, 2007

From Reuters via The Scotsman:

Germany’s efforts to revive the stalled European constitution have encouraged church leaders to resurrect their failed campaign to have the EU document include a reference to the continent’s Christian heritage.

(…)

Catholic cardinals and archbishops have led the campaign, starting with a statement from their Brussels-based Commission of Bishops’ Conference of the European Community suggesting the Berlin Declaration mention Christianity among Europe’s roots.

Cardinal Karl Lehmann, head of the German Catholic bishops conference, and Munich’s Cardinal Friedrich Wetter have spoken out this month for a mention of faith among Europe’s roots. “We don’t want a God-less state and a God-less Europe,” Wetter said.

In Portugal, Lisbon Cardinal Jose Policarpo said “it would be a cultural disgrace and ignorant not to mention Europe’s Judeo-Christian past in the prologue to a future treaty.”

The Evangelical Church in Germany, one of Europe’s leading Protestant churches, said it “continues to stand for the inclusion of a clear reference to our responsibility before God and the importance of the Judeo-Christian tradition.”

German-born Pope Benedict has not taken the same leading role in the Catholic campaign as his Polish-born predecessor did when the constitution was drafted. “His stance on Europe is more nuanced than the idealism of Pope John Paul,” Brady said.

The EU was unlikely to accept a reference to Christianity in a revived constitution at a time when it was negotiating possible membership for mostly Muslim Turkey, he added.

“The geopolitics are against it,” he said. “For a renegotiation of the treaty, a reference to religion will be at the bottom of the list of priorities.”

Full report here.

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