Tuesday, June 29, 2004


Ratzinger Fan Club: "Papal passions were again on display June 20 when he delivered his Sunday Angelus address, his first public comment since the European Union adopted its new constitution. It acknowledges the "cultural, religious and humanist inheritance" of Europe, but omits the specific reference to the continent's Christian heritage that had long been requested by John Paul. It also makes no mention of God. The result embittered the Pope, and it showed. "I want to thank Poland for faithfully defending in European institutions the Christian roots of our continent, from which have grown our culture and the civil progress of our time," he said in his native Polish. Poland was among the handful of European nations -- Italy, Portugal, Malta, and the Czech Republic -- that persevered until the end in requesting a reference to Christianity, but in the end they were blocked by more powerful nations, especially France. (Former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing headed the drafting commission). Thus the papal barb: "One does not cut off the roots from which one is born."

Vatican repercussions: "Finally, I suspect the outcome will to some extent embolden the pro-American faction within the Vatican and the College of Cardinals. Broadly speaking, church leaders have long been divided between those who want Europe to emerge as a third pole in global affairs with a more Catholic vision of society, and those who think the church ought to cast its lot with the Americans because they're the only game in town. This second group would include figures such as Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the pope's vicar for the diocese of Rome, and Bishop Rino Fisichella, rector of the Lateran University. The failure of European leaders to even use the word "Christian," let alone articulate a Christian social vision, in their new constitution makes the pro-American argument that much more convincing. "

On EU "Christopohobia": "To deny that Christianity had anything to do with the evolution of free, law-governed, and prosperous European societies is more than a question of falsifying the past; it is also a matter of creating a future in which moral truth has no role in governance, in the determination of public policy, in understandings of justice, and in the definition of that freedom which democracy is intended to embody. Were these ideas to triumph in Europe, that would be bad for Europe; but it would also be bad for the United States, for that triumph would inevitably reinforce similar tendencies in our own high culture, and ultimately in our law".


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