Putting people at the center

Putting people at the center

Before the deliberations of the EU heads of state and government on the future of the new EU Treaty, the chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, unequivocally declared his support for the Treaty of Lisbon. He expressly supports the treaty, even if it does not fulfill all the expectations of the church, said Zollitsch on Wednesday evening in Brussels.

The archbishop criticized that in the Irish referendum campaign, the "no" campaigners had used arguments "that are clearly not true". As examples, the bishops' conference president cited abortion, equality for homosexual unions and the country's neutrality. Opponents of the treaty had argued that Ireland would lose its decision-making powers here if the Lisbon Treaty came into force. In the process, he said, fears had been worked on "that do not correspond to the facts". Zollitsch reported that the Catholic bishops in Ireland were in favor of the new EU treaty. He was therefore very confident that "Ireland is on the right track" and will find a way to ratify the treaty. Time is needed for this, he said, and a lot of detailed work needs to be done. The archbishop admitted that the church would have liked to see a reference to God or a commitment to the Christian-Jewish heritage in the preamble of the new EU treaty. Zollitsch called for ways to breathe life into the dialogue with the churches provided for in the new EU treaty. The large annual rounds of meetings between EU leaders and religious leaders were not enough for this purpose. What is needed is an exchange of views and a genuine dialogue at various levels, the archbishop said. At the EU summit this afternoon, Irish head of government Brian Cowen is to report on the consequences of the "No" vote on the Lisbon Treaty in the June referendum. After that, the heads of state and government want to find a way to get the treaty to enter into force after all. Observers expect Ireland to vote a second time in fall 2009. Zollitsch held talks with EU leaders on Wednesday and Thursday. His interlocutors included European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pottering, German EU Commissioner Gunter Verheugen, the leader of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, Martin Schulz (SPD) and CDU MEP Hartmut Nassauer. The bishops' conference president also spoke with the chairman of the European Parliament's catch committee, Jo Leinen (SPD) and German EU ambassador Edmund Duckwitz. When asked, the archbishop said he had found a lot of understanding everywhere in his talks about what was a concern for the church. In addition to the Treaty of Lisbon and the values of the EU, the growing relationship between church and state was also a topic of discussion. His interlocutors had expressed a wish for the Church to help explain to people what Europe means.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.