Rome (AsiaNews) - After more than three weeks of debate, the EU has managed to produce a text that explicitly mentions Christians as victims of persecution and the object of violent attacks. An earlier text had been prepared in January, after the terrorist attack on the Church in Baghdad and the massacre at the Church in Alexandria, but was it rejected because of the lack of references to Christians, since the EU preferred to use generic term "religious minorities".
The new text approved yesterday explicitly mentions "Christians and their places of worship" victims of "acts of religious intolerance and discrimination," but now hastens to include among the victims of such acts "Muslim pilgrims and other religious communities" as well .
The Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, one of the promoters of the text, had condemned the draft as a sign of 'excessive secularism "present in the EU, but expressed satisfaction with the text adopted yesterday. Moreover, recalling that the European Constitution does not mention the Christian roots among the historic foundations of Europe, yesterday’s statement really is a gigantic departure.
Yet even this text does not satisfy in full. It seeks to balance the anti-Christian violence with those against other religious communities, in an "excess" of balance and equidistance, not taking into account that at least 70% of persecution in today’s world is carried out against Christians. Yet these impressive figures are the result of statistics (from the World Christian Encyclopedia to the Pew Research Centre) and not partisan reports, so much so that Pope Benedict XVI used the word "Christianophobia" for the first time in a papal speech (see the speech Roman Curia on 20 December 2010. See: 12/20/2010 Pope: Future of the World Depends upon Rediscovery "of Truth and Goodness" and 22/12/2010 Benedict XVI and the Synod: dialogue and forgiveness in the face of violence).
Above all, the text approved by the EU does not go beyond some general exhortation on the defense of religious freedom as a universal human right that must be defended everywhere and for all. "
In stark contrast to the EU’s timid text, Benedict XVI's solid address to the diplomatic corps (10/01/2011 Pope: Religious freedom attacked by terrorism and marginalisation). Defending religious freedom for all religious traditions, the Pope addressed the governments demanding security and the repeal of unjust laws (such as the blasphemy law); room for free education; guarantees that the contribution of religious communities to society will be welcomed etc. ...
Europe’s stuttering timidity on religious freedom is underscored by the continents approximation and inanity faced with the riots taking place in North Africa and the Middle East. As an epochal change unfolds before our very eyes - with non-violent demands for justice, equality and democracy - the EU is ineptly concealing its remorse, calling for a "transition" while it secretly sheds tears over all the fabulous economic contracts drawn up with fallen dictators, null and void or hanging in the balance.
It is said that the world and Europe have been taken by surprise by the riots in Tunisia, Egypt, etc. .. We think that this blindness is due to the fact that in all these years, the sole motivation for our Europe’s relationship with these countries was its own its narrow economic interests and thus "stability", not a shared communication of values, attentiveness to social questions, dialogue between cultures and religions. In practice, Europe’s identity was its wallet: and little more.
Benedict XVI’s appeal during his papal journeys to France, the Czech Republic, Malta, the United Kingdom now echoes urgently in our ears: if Europe does not rediscover its Christian roots, it will remain silent in the concert of nations, incapable of identity and true friendships with the rest of the world.