EUROPE & ITS FUTURE
An Oxymoron: Europe
By Kenneth L. Woodward
The New York Times, 16 June
Next week, leaders of the European Union will meet in Greece
to vote on a proposed constitution that will govern the lives of 450 million
Europeans. The most agitated debate at the convention that produced the draft
focused on the preamble, specifically whether God in general, and Christianity
in particular, ought to be mentioned among the sources of the "values"
that produced a common European culture and heritage.
No one can visit Italy, or the medieval core of any European city, without encountering evidence of the Christian humanism that gives Europe its enduring cultural identity and - even now - its particular glow. Who goes to Brussels except on business?
"At the center of culture is cult," observed
Christopher Dawson, the great historian of medieval Europe. And for more than a
millennium, the cult or "worship" of Europeans was manifestly
Christian. On that basis alone, Christianity has an unrivaled claim to a
privileged place among the sources of European culture.
As an American, I shouldn't much care what the bureaucrats in Brussels write in their preamble. But it should matter to Europeans - and to anyone anywhere who cares about history - because the eliding of the Christian foundations of Western culture is morally and intellectually dishonest. One can only hope that wiser heads at next week's summit meeting in Greece will set the historical record straight and reject the trahison des clercs manifest in Brussels. What kind of future can there be for a united Europe that disavows its own past?
® ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN COMMENT Editorial
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