As the European Union discusses its future in Brussels—including the possibility of a new constitution—many churches are pushing for a preamble acknowledging "the religious and spiritual heritage of Europe and its contribution to the formation of European values."

"It's not an attack on the separation of church and state," Keith Jenkins, associate general secretary of the Conference of European Churches, told the Associated Press. "It's a recognition of history." The Vatican has seemingly supported such an inclusion, but French and Swedish leaders are among those opposing it, saying it gives Christianity too much weight.

While some worry the EU may neglect its Christian past, others worry it may be damaging its Christian present. The good news is that the EU has offered funds to refurbish several Orthodox monasteries on the Greek peninsula of Athos. But some members of the European Parliament (mainly Swedes and Finns) are now demanding that the monastery relax its ban on women, reports The Guardian.

A Macedonian monk named Hector promised the British newspaper, "We will never change."

Related Elsewhere

Other news articles include:

EU argues enshrining its Christian HistoryThe Washington Times (June 22, 2002)
For EU, a Question of FaithThe Washington Post (June 22, 2002)

Church leaders were also upset in 2000 because the text of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights failed to reference Europe's religious heritage.

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