Статья из еженедельника “The Tablet
”, критикующая то, что в будущей Европейской Конституции не будет упоминания о христианстве.
(К сожалению – на английском.
Europe without God
You thought Christianity had something to do with European culture? Tell that to the drafters of the European Constitution
IT LOOKS as though the secularists have won – there will be no mention of Christianity in the future European Constitution. Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the French president of the European Convention, which finalised the main part of the draft constitution on 13 June, has turned a deaf ear to the numerous appeals and demands – from the Vatican, the European episcopal conferences and French Protestant Federation – that the document’s Preamble should include a reference to those religions which have contributed to European civilisation. Giscard’s specious reasoning was that “to mention one religion would entail mentioning them all, which was unacceptable to a majority of the convention’s members”.
The only concession is a grudging reference to this continent’s “religious and humanist heritage”, and to the “spiritual fervour” present in its history. The original version of the preamble spoke of Europe’s Greek and Roman heritage and mentioned the Age of Enlightenment, without breathing a word about the contribution of the Jews, Christians or Muslims to European civilisation. The new version, published last week, has dropped the mention of Greece, Rome and the Enlightenment, but refers only to Europe’s “cultural, religious and humanist heritage”. To reduce Europe’s religious traditions to a “heritage” or “spiritual fervour” takes little account of the millions of believers for whom cathedrals are more than architectural treasures, the works of Bach more than sublime music and the notion of God not merely an empty myth.
Those who want the constitution to recognise Europe’s religious past are not asking that the document should include a profession of faith, even less are they nostalgic for a return to some mythical theocracy, they simply wish to correct the text’s incomprehensible amnesia. How can one build the Europe of tomorrow if one ignores the debt owed to Judaism, to Islam and especially to Christianity? These religions have structured European society and provided the building blocks of European culture and civilisation.
The Church, with its common language (Latin), scholars and scientists (Erasmus, More, Copernicus, Pascal) and monastic missionaries who travelled the continent unceasingly, did more for European unity in the Middle Ages than the present feeble attempts, based largely on national rivalry, greed and commerce. It was Christianity which developed agriculture, preserved culture and learning from the barbarians in its monasteries, founded schools and hospitals and based its laws on the Judaic tradition, namely the Decalogue. The Christian Churches were the principal patrons of the arts, producing masterpieces of architecture, painting and music, unrivalled throughout the world.
And medieval Europe owes as much to the Muslim tradition as to its Greco-Roman heritage. It was Islam’s philosophers, doctors, scientists, mathematicians, astronomers and architects who fashioned European culture and influenced Europe’s greatest thinkers. The Arab philosopher and physician Avicenna (980-1037) played a central role. His major medical work Qanun, the greatest single influence on medieval medicine, was taught in European universities until the seventeenth century. His philosophical writings, combining Aristotelian with neo-Platonist ideas, greatly influenced scholasticism. Another Arab philosopher and physician, Averroës (1126-88), who attempted to reconcile Aristotelian philosophy with Islam, influenced Thomas Aquinas.
Those who invoke the notion of laïcité (secularism) to ban God from the European Constitution should not forget that this concept (laicus = “lay” from the Greek laos = “people”) is itself of Christian coinage. The founding fathers of the European Union – Konrad Adenauer, Robert Schuman and Alcide de Gasperi – were all committed Catholics, as is the principal architect of the EEC, Jacques Delors. In France, which is the staunchest defender of the separation of Church and State, a growing body of opinion favours redefining the concept of laïcité, recognising the crying need to teach the history of religions in state schools, where the religious amnesia of the majority of pupils cuts them off from their cultural heritage. How can they understand Pascal’s Lettres provinciales if they know nothing of the doctrine of grace, or appreciate Western art if they are ignorant of the defining Christian events (the Annunciation, the Nativity, the Passion and Crucifixion, Pentecost and the rest)?
The major fallacy held by those who want to keep religion out of the public sphere (and hence from the European Constitution) is their fear that this will somehow undermine the principle of the separation of Church and State. This was the line taken by Lionel Jospin and Jacques Chirac in December 2000, before the Treaty of Nice, when the French demanded that the word “religion” be removed from the Preamble of the European Charter of Human Rights. Such a fear is groundless, however, since article 51 of the draft of the future constitution states clearly that the laws governing the place of religion in each of the member states will be fully respected. So the separation of Church and State in France will not be threatened, any more than will the status of state Churches such as the Church of England, the Orthodox Church in Greece or the Lutheran Church in the Scandinavian countries. Neither will the concordats with the Holy See in Italy or Ireland be affected.
The rise of sectarianism, fundamentalism and Muslim extremism in many countries explains the legitimate fears of the secularists that religion will be reintroduced into the public domain through the back door. On the other hand, many religious bodies and charitable institutions are tired of being called upon by the State to palliate its own weaknesses (in dealing with delinquents, drug addicts, illegal immigrants, extreme poverty, and the rest), while at the same time being accused of interfering when they ask to be consulted on major ethical problems (bioethics, sexual mores, racial discrimination, refugees).
Whatever one’s opinion on the place of religion in society and the role of the Churches in the body politic, no one can honestly deny the part played by the major religions – for better and for worse – in European history. Those who want Christianity mentioned in the constitution merely wish to state the obvious.