EU snubs Pope with no reference to God
All reference to God is to be omitted from the future European Union constitution, despite a personal plea by the Holy Father to retain a spiritual aspect to the document.
The Convention on the Future of Europe has announced that it had decided all references to divinity were to be removed from the key Article 2 of the new written EU framework.
Arguments have raged for some time as to the merits of putting God's name in the future constitution, with strongly religious members pushing the case and others more wary. And as the Convention prepared to discuss the matter, the Pope himself had called on its president, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, to include a "clear reference to God and the Christian faith" in the document and to "cement the extraordinary religious, cultural and civic heritage that has made Europe great down the centuries."
As the news of the decision broke, a Vatican spokesman described the decision as "completely unsatisfactory" as it "went against the explicit desires of a great part of Europe's peoples", but despite the anger there appears to be little the Church or other faith groups can do to alter the situation.
Meanwhile the EU is currently under pressure to allow Poland a clause guaranteeing that Brussels will not interfere with its pro-life stance should the Poles gain entry to the organisation.
John Paul II Touts a Way for Europe to Avoid Two Extremes (Zenit)
Pope renews appeal for EU constitution to recognize Christianity's roots in Europe (AP)
European Union Divided Over Invoking Name of God (AP)
Concerns for Europe Stimulate Catholic-Orthodox Dialogue (Zenit)
Moscow joins Rome in plea to EU (Independent Catholic News)
The future of Europe needs our values, our collaboration (Vatican Information Service)
Diplomatic crisis reflects clash of values between Europe and the US (The Olympian)
European Parliament Addresses Growing Role of Religion in European Policy; Experts Cite Rise of Religious Intolerance (Catholics for a Free Choice)
European Union Online
19 Feb 2003