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As the 50 th anniversary of the creation of the European Union approaches, the principles and values on which modern Europe was founded are once again under threat.
Angela Merkel, who as German Chancellor will preside over the celebrations, in cooperation with the Vatican, is also drafting a "Berlin Declaration" - reportedly to be a Charter of traditional values that she sees as spearheading her avowed attempt to reintroduce Christian values into the European Constitution.
A leading contender to become the next Pope launched a fierce attack on the forces of secularism yesterday, arguing that they were fostering intolerance in Europe and forcing Christianity underground.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 77, one of the Vatican's most powerful figures, issued a rallying cry to the faithful, saying that the liberal consensus had now evolved into a "worrying and aggressive" ideology. (Filed: 20/11/2004)
It is said that he was turned from a moderate liberal (whatever the that is) to a conservative by student demands for equality and the right to question authority while a faculty member of University of Tübingen. The End of the Enlightenment - John Kelley
Recent events have thrown into sharp focus the divisions that exist between those who share the liberal, humanitarian values of the great majority and those who seek to create a more authoritarian society or would use our culture of tolerance to promote intolerance and undermine democracy.
Not only is the Christian emphasis we foresee for this document divisive and ill-suited to a community as diverse in its fundamental beliefs as the EU: it is also unlikely, to say the least, to emphasise individual freedom, the autonomy of women or other essential values.
The Brussels Declaration is backed by Catholics for Free Choice and by the European Humanist Federation (of which I am president) and other organisations and by the European Parliament's All Party Working Group on Separation of Religion and Politics.
We now have representatives across Europe beginning to seek prominent supporters prepared to put their names to it and I am hoping you will be willing to lend it your support.
On September 18, 1942, Pius received a letter from Monsignor Montini (future Pope Paul VI), saying, "the massacres of the Jews reach frightening proportions and forms. " Later that month, Myron Taylor, U. S. representative to the Vatican, warned Pius that the Vatican's "moral prestige" was being injured by silence on European atrocities—a warning which was echoed simultaneously by representatives from Great Britain, Brazil, Uruguay, Belgium, and Poland
— the Cardinal Secretary of State replied that the rumors about genocide could not be verified.  In December 1942, when Tittman asked Cardinal Secretary of State Maglione if Pius would issue a proclamation similar to the Allied declaration "German Policy of Extermination of the Jewish Race, " Maglione replied that the Vatican was "unable to denounce publicly particular atrocities. "
Christian heritage Poland is meanwhile set to reignite the debate on a reference to the union's Christian heritage in the EU constitution - now proposing to include "God" in the anniversary declaration. "We support chancellor Merkel's proposal for a reference to Christianity in the declaration. We think that is very good and we hope this will be realised, " Polish sherpa Marek Cichocki told EUobserver.
So far in the UK we have the support of Lord (Paddy) Ashdown, John Austin, MP, Mohammed Aziz (member of the CRE), Professor Simon Blackburn, Baroness Blackstone, Michael Cashman MEP, Sir Bernard Crick, Lord Desai, Frank Dobson MP, Andrew Duff MEP, Bill Newton Dunn MEP, Baroness Flather, Paul Flynn MP, Professor Frank Furedi, Professor A C Grayling FRSA, Professor Jagdish Gundara, Mike Hancock MP, Patrick Harvie MSP, Professor Steve Jones, Jean Lambert MEP, Lord (Anthony) Lester, Lord (Gus) Mac. Donald, Professor Neil Mac. Cormick, Lord (Andrew) Mc. Intosh, Professor Sheila Mc. Lean, Professor Richard Norman, Philip Pullman, Professor Joseph Raz, Lord Russell-Johnston,
Professor Udo Schuklenk, Struan Stevenson MEP, Professor Laurie Taylor, Gary Titley MEP, Polly Toynbee, Baroness Turner, Baroness Uddin, Rudi Vis MP, Marina Warner, Graham Watson MEP, Baroness Whitaker and Glenis Willmott MEP that I know of, but a very large number of others are currently being approached. You can read more about this campaign at www. vision 4 europe. org. If you are ready to support the Declaration, or have any questions, please by preference reply by e-mail to david. [email protected] net. If you can suggest - or approach - other possible signatories, that would also be very welcome.
Unless we stand firm and defend our values now, we risk seeing fundamentalism and authoritarianism once again ride roughshod over our rights.