EUROPE OF SCHUMAN OR SPINELLI?

On 8 December 1955 – on the day of Immaculate Conception of Blessed Mary the Virgin – two men entered the cathedral of Blessed Mary the Virgin in Strasburg. They kneeled in front of the statue of Immaculate Mary in a crown of twelve stars and were praying together in the same intention. Who were they and what were they asking for?

The first of them was the chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany then Konrad Adenauer, and the second one – the former prime minister of France Robert Schuman. That day the Europe Council was to approve of its official flag. Both politicians were praying in the intention of the victory of a project of an artist from Strasburg Arsene Heltz, presenting twelve stars on the blue background. The inspiration of the artist were two apparitions. The first one was a vision of St. John the Apostle on the Patmos Island which he described in his Apocalypse – it presents an eschatological image of a woman wearing a crown of twelve stars. Another vision which Katarzyna Laboure had in 1830 in a convent in Paris: the nun saw Our Lady surrounded by twelve stars and called Immaculate Conception.

Voting in the Europe Council was successful. The election of this symbolic as a flag was a clear declaration. There was also a fact reaching the rank of the symbol that the first public building in front of which the new European flag was placed, was the cathedral in Strasburg. The appearing continental community was the work of Christian politicians. Adenauer thought that creating rules governing Europe required referring to common values which he saw in Christianity. Believing about the common experience of Christian principles were thought by him as the basic thread of building a new European order. Robert Schuman thought in a similar way, and in his political testament he wrote: ‘Europe is a realization of the universal democracy in the Christian meaning’, whereas ‘the European movement does not differ from defence of Christian civilisation’. At that time the project of the European integration met with the opposition from leftist groups. The former prime minister of France, a radical socialist Pierre Mendes France used to say that it was necessary to block the project of ‘black Europe’, because this is a Christian initiative. Since that time it has been over 60 years. At that time a kind of ‘kidnapping Europe’ took place. As we know, the word ‘Europe’ comes from the Greek mythology. It was the name of a daughter of Phoenician rulers: king Agenor and queen Telefassa. She was seduced by Zeus who, changed into a bull, kidnapped her to Crete. The story does not end well: three brothers set off to find their sister, but they never found her. ]

Maintaining this metaphorics, one can say that Christian Europe was kidnapped by pagan deity. For, as much as the ideology impulse and political will came from the Christian democrats for uniting the continent, today the European Union is becoming a creation which is leading (against the intentions of its fathers the founders) to institutionalism of a policy contradictory with Christianity.

Among ‘kidnappers of Europe’ an important place is taken by representatives of the Generation ’68. When the revolutionary fervency finished after the events of the year 1968, activists of this generation were looking for a new time machine thanks to which they could transfer their ideas into the public life. Till that moment, they had treated the European community as an instrument created by the Christians and used to the interests of the capitalists. They decided to change it and make it a tool for spreading their influences. ‘A long march through institutions’ led from street barricades to EU offices, which is illustrated by the example fo Daniel Cohn-Bendit.

So, instead of Europe from the vision of Schuman, today we have Europe from a schoolbook by Altier Spinelli – an Italian communist, an author of the famous ‘Manifest from Ventotete’. It is not treated as an organism any more, which governs itself, but as a mechanism which can be freely constructed. Like in an old myth, its relatives are setting off to look for ‘kidnapped Europe’. Will they find it? In the Greek mythology an unavoidable fate appeared above the main characters. However, Christians do not believe in irreversible fate, as they consider the existence of the free will. Let’s not deprive them of hope.

Translated by Aneta Amrozik

Niedziela 19/2018 (13 V 2018)

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Lidia Dudkiewicz • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl