Our Christian heritage should be recognized

I was very surprised by the way Mr Pantelis Boukalas manages to reinterpret history in his commentary: «From One Man Every Nation,» published on the front page of your newspaper on July 1, 2003. It would seem that the distinguished commentator has neither read the preamble to the draft European Constitution nor the homilies of His Holiness Pope John Paul II. The Pope, together with all the other European Christian leaders, including His Beatitude Christodoulos, is not asking for an exclusive reference to Christianity in the European Constitution but rather that the Christian heritage be recognized alongside the fundamental contributions of Greek and Roman civilizations and that of the Enlightenment. (Cfr. Paragraph No. 2 of the preamble) Everyone knows that ideologies always try to rewrite history. The arbitrary exclusion of any reference to the Christian heritage of Europe from the draft Constitution’s preamble written by Mr Giscard d’Estaing seems to point in the same direction. How can one understand what Europe is today without any reference to almost 15 centuries of its history? It is also strange that so much emphasis is put on the sins and misdeeds of the sons and daughters of the Christian Churches, without truly recognizing the immeasurable contribution of Christians in all spheres of the cultural, social and spiritual life of the Continent. Did not Christianity also inspire the foundation of universities and hospitals? Did not all the arts, from literature to painting, from architecture to science, benefit from the Christian inspiration? Or are we to suppose that the ancient Greek and Roman societies were perfect? And did not the Enlightenment utopia cause the massacre of thousands during the French revolution and afterward? Human history, being human, reflects the ongoing struggle between good and evil. If we do not accept all our historical background, with its moments of glory and of anguish, of splendor and of darkness, with its fantastic achievements but also with its terrible failures and catastrophes, we will not be able to understand fully who we are, nor what future we desire to build for our children’s children. PRESS OFFICE, HOLY SYNOD, Catholic Hierarchy of Greece.

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