AS IF GOD DID NOT EXIST
FR. JAROSŁAW GRABOWSKI: - Is the European Union hostile to Christianity? The domineering culture and action of the EU seem driven more by secular tradition than by Christian heritage. Christians are refused to have a right to participate in public debates on the primate of family based on marriage, culture of life…
Ph.D. Hab. MICHAŁ GIERYCZ: The situation is quite paradoxical. European communities appeared in the 50s of the 20th century were strongly based on Christian values, despite of their economic character. The key terms in the Declaration of Schuman were: peace, conciliation and solidarity. At that time it raised explicit ideas. However, when at the beginning of the 21st century there were works on the European constitution, postulates of referring to God, and even to Christianity, were rejected. It illustrates a change in understanding European integration.
What was the specifics of the idea of integration by Robert Schuman based on?
When postulating establishing the European Community of Coal and Steel, Robert Schuman was not speaking about a pact, alliance or union. He was referring to the notion ‘community’, connected with the category of solidarity, which he considered as the central principle of integration. Community is a place in which the good of everybody is connected with the good of others; in which we are looking at one another as equally important partners, even if our political potentials are different. So, it is a contradiction of logics of egoism: both to self-sufficiency and subordination of weaker countries to the stronger ones. This is just the idea of ‘community of the equal’ in which such EU principles as unanimity in making decisions or the institution of the so-called transnational officials had their source.
What is the relation of this vision of integration with Christianity?
It is impossible to understand the ‘community of the equal’ and ‘bear’ it without Christianity. Although Schuman pointed to various arguments which were to persuade European countries to begin to act in solidarity (among the others, the historical, economic, in the spirit of the so-called Realpolitik), he knew that they all are finally insufficient. The process of integration needed a deeper motif. The fact that we are holding our hand out to our recent enemies – he wrote – ‘would finally be a paradox, which would astonish us if we were not Christians – maybe unaware – not only to forgive but to build Europe of tomorrow together’.
So, what is the connection of the Union with the vision of integration in the first community? We have brexit and more and more frequent suggestions of solving the EU or re-organizing it…
Prominent political scientists, like Ulrich Beck or Jan Zielonka prove that today’s Union is rejecting the idea of ‘the community of the equal’. It is rather becoming a new form of empire, in which just the power of the country decides about its position: some countries remain souvereign, others are half-souvereign, whereas some are even politically subordinated. Also the Union has a serious problem with deficit of solidarity. Countries of our region are complaining about the energetic policy in the case of strategic decisions, western countries – in the case of migration policy. Certainly, this crisis is caused by various factors, but I would not ignore a spiritual factor. Schuman was right: the process of European integration needs -at least – Christian cultural environment in order to maintain its specific character and value.
We hear that Europe is based on European values. In the first reflex we think that these values derive from Christian values and refer to them. Whereas none of the fundamental EU documents refer to God, to Christianity….
Indeed, the basic acts of EU law seem to be based on an idea ‘etsi Deus non daretur’ – as if God did not exist – whose consequences are seen the EU values. Their catalogue refers to the tradition of ethical Europe: dignity, freedom, equality, justice, solidarity…. Anyway, if we get engaged more in understanding them, we will discover that in essential places it diverges from this tradition. One can say that values ‘are going in herds’. For example – we should consider the sentence ‘I am fighting for freedom of speech and I demand introducing censorship’ as internally contradictory. Whereas in the EU law a relation in key issues is broken among values related with one another. The Union is proclaiming, for example, human dignity as the leading value, but it also acknowledges financing experiments whose element is depriving the human being of life in the first embryo phases of his development. Similarly – although the EU law explicitly considers the value of marriage and family, it also includes definitions of marriage contradictory with one another: one – characteristic for moral and legal tradition of Europe, and another – compatible with factual postulates of the LGBTO movements. As a result, the Union is becoming a place in which basic values are the subject of a dispute more than the fundament of unity.
Christianity should unite Europeans, as it is a binder of the Old Continent. There have been dreams about common Europe for centuries. What went wrong that now we have to fight for maintaining Christianity in it?
This is a wide issue for another talk. But I think that – in a short time plan – it is impossible to estimate the significance of cultural revolution, genetically connected with Marxism, which appeared at the end of the 60s in the West. Its essence was rejecting previous authorities, norms, hierarchies which was expressed in the motto ‘it is forbidden to forbid’. It revealed a desire for complete emancipation: the man was to not think about what he should do. It was assumed that current obligations did not exist. The truth and objective good were considered as relicts of the past enslaving the man. As a result, Christianity which proclaims, among the others, existence of objective moral law has been seen as a danger for freedom. For it was becoming even the reason for shame.
We are often accused of being passive as Christians. Our attitude is too weak in defending our religion, values important to us. Is it the reason of marginalizing Christianity in the EU?
If we asked what political fraction is domineering in the Union, that the above-outlined tendencies are possible at all, the answer would be: Christian democracy. Generally, European rightist wing (Christian Democrats and Conservatives) avoids explicit attitudes in the issues which are ‘ethically sensitive’. This is a partial answer. On the other hand, the widely understood European ‘leftist wing’ (communists, socialists, liberals) puts just postulates redefining values (for example, promoting abortion as human rights or postulates of LGBTO as non-discrimination demands, etc.) in the centre of its political agenda. So, paradoxically, indefinite attitude of the rightist wing concerning values, is accompanied by deep engagement of the leftist wing. It is reflected in European policy.
Soon before election for the Euro-parliament there is a valid question: how to change Europe into more Christian and is it possible?
Undoubtedly, election of MEPs will be significant for the ideological image of the Union in the forthcoming years. Polish MEPs often proved to be clear in voting and debates concerning basic values. However, change of Europe into more Christian is a wider and deeper issue. In the key point it is elusive for social studies: for example, how to evaluate the significance of prayer? As for the political dimension of this process, the change of the domineering vision of secularity seems important to me. As I mentioned, today we are building common Europe ‘as if God did not exist’. As a result the man is beginning to funct8ion as ‘homo deus’, making arbitrary decisions concerning understanding values. He is even trying to create himself, within the gender ideology, defining his ‘sex identity’. Whereas the reality is that the man is not the Creator. He is a creation: a man or a woman. The man has his own nature including the reason and conscience. They allow him to recognize objective truth about the good and evil, independent from him. Minimal demanding, also in the societies in which a big part of citizens do not share Christian faith, is perceiving this fact and - as Benedict XVI emphasized – building secularity ‘as if God did not exist’. Only then do values have a chance to become an objective measurement of European policy.
Translated by Aneta Amrozik
Niedziela 20/2019 (19 V 2019)