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Pope Disappointed by Text of EU Constitution

by Christopher A. Ferrara

As reported by Zenit on June 20, 2004, "John Paul II publicly expressed his disappointment over the text of the constitution, backed by European Union leaders on Friday, which fails to mention the continent’s Christian roots."

This column has noted the Vatican’s curious preoccupation with the question whether the EU constitution would "mention" Europe’s "Christian roots." What this "mention" was supposed to accomplish for the moral order of society is a mystery. Suppose the EU draft text included the following statement: "The signatories acknowledge the Christian roots of Europe." What of it? Would that change the regime of abortion, contraception and gay rights firmly established in the EU countries? Obviously not, as the EU countries absolutely reject the organic union of Church and State through which the Social Kingship of Christ was maintained throughout Christendom for nearly 800 years before the Protestant revolt.

Lamenting the constitution’s failure to "mention" Europe’s "Christian roots," the Pope further stated, "We cannot be severed from our roots." But it will take far more than a mention of Europe’s "Christian roots" in one document to return Europe to her roots in Catholic  —  to repeat, Catholic  —  social order. It will take the re-conversion of all of Europe to the Catholic faith, beginning with the conversion of Russia, and the re-establishment of the organic Church-State union described by Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Immortale Dei:

There was once a time when States were governed by the philosophy of the Gospel. Then it was that the power and divine virtue of Christian wisdom had diffused itself throughout the laws, institutions, and morals of the people, permeating all ranks and relations of civil society. Then, too, the religion instituted by Jesus Christ, established firmly in befitting dignity, flourished everywhere, by the favor of princes and the legitimate protection of magistrates; and Church and State were happily united in concord and friendly interchange of good offices.

But this happy state of affairs is about the last thing the current Vatican apparatus is prepared to advocate in this epoch of "ecumenism" and "dialogue." Instead, Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls complains that the "Holy See cannot but express its distress over the opposition of some governments to the explicit recognition of the Christian roots of Europe … It is a question of disregard of the historical evidence and of the Christian identity of European peoples."

Well, the problem is a bit more fundamental than "disregard of the historical evidence" and of "the Christian identity of European peoples." The problem, as Pope Leo taught, is disregard of the divine claims of the Holy Catholic religion on Europe (and the whole world) and of the proper relation between Church and State. It is this turning away from Catholic social order that threatens Europe’s very survival today. To recall Pope Leo’s words:

A similar state of things would certainly have continued had the agreement of the two powers [Church and State] been lasting. More important results even might have been justly looked for, had obedience waited upon the authority, teaching, and counsels of the Church, and had this submission been specially marked by greater and more unswerving loyalty. For that should be regarded in the light of an ever-changeless law which Ivo of Chartres wrote to Pope Paschal II: "When kingdom and priesthood are at one, in complete accord, the world is well ruled, and the Church flourishes, and brings forth abundant fruit. But when they are at variance, not only smaller interests prosper not, but even things of greatest moment fall into deplorable decay."

Sad it is to call to mind how the harmful and lamentable rage for innovation which rose to a climax [by Luther and the other Protestant rebels] in the sixteenth century threw first of all into confusion the Christian religion, and next, by natural sequence, invaded the precincts of philosophy, whence it spread amongst all classes of society. From this source, as from a fountain-head, burst forth all those later tenets of unbridled license which, in the midst of the terrible upheavals of the last century, were wildly conceived and boldly proclaimed as the principles and foundation of that new jurisprudence which was not merely previously unknown, but was at variance on many points with not only the Christian, but even with the natural law.

Compare Pope Leo’s fearless diagnosis of the consequences of overthrowing Catholic social order with the present-day Vatican’s feeble request for a "mention" of Europe’s "Christian roots" in a useless piece of paper. The Vatican apparatus cannot even bring itself to say Catholic roots; and its vague notion of "Christian roots" now apparently includes the same Protestant rebels who, as Leo noted, brought about the total destruction of  —  irony of ironies  —  Europe’s true "Christian roots" in the Catholic faith.

It is no wonder the Church currently seems incapable of arresting the catastrophic decline of the moral order throughout Europe and the world. How can She do so when Her own leaders have abandoned Her teaching on the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ? This (as Our Lady of Fatima surely foresaw) is why the Church today is in crisis.