Saturday, March 24, 2007

No religion. No babies. No past. No future.

Benedict's speech to the European bishops gathered in Rome has got a lot of coverage. It's curious which aspects of the speech have been highlighted. In most of the English-language media, the big story was his fear of European demographic decline, and the articles then go on to give the figures for the various European states.

There is another side to Benedict's lament for the continent. It is Europe's refusal to acknowledge his Christian heritage as the second pillar of its culture. This was the main story in Corriere della Sera this morning, and Aljazeera didn't miss it either.

If on the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome the governments of the union want to get closer to their citizens, how can they exclude an element as essential to the identity of Europe as Christianity, in which the vast majority of its people continue to identify.

It is no surprise that today's Europe, while it purports to be a community of values, seems to increasingly contest the existence of absolute and universal values.

Does not this unique form of apostasy of itself, even before God, lead it [Europe] to doubt its very identity?
[Obviously trying hard to compensate for the religious ignorance of its English-speaking audience, Aljazeera helpfully adds, "Apostasy is a total desertion of or departure from one's religion."]

Angela Merkel evidently wants references to Christianity in the boomerang EU constitution (coming back to hit you soon). Even the 2005 one was supposed to have a few words, but they were rejected by Jacques Chirac (who would have thought?).

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