1941-Proposals for an International Currency Union.pdf
















Conférence d'Herman Van Rompuy sur la pensée sociale de Benoît XVI

Le 19 octobre 2009, le premier ministre belge Herman Rompuy faisait salle comble à l'Université de Liège pour une conférence sur la pensée sociale de Benoît XVI, à l'occasion de la sortie de l'encyclique Caritas in Veritate.





   The Times - Tuesday, February 12, 1929



   (from our own correspondent)


ROME, Feb. 11, The Roman question has now passed into history. At midday to-day Cardinal Gasparri and Signor Mussolini signed, in the Palace of the Lateran, a political treaty which solves and eliminates the 'Roman Question,' a Concordat intended to regulate the conditions of religion and of the Church in Italy, and a Convention which systematizes definitely the financial relations between the Holy See and Italy as arising out of the events of 1870.


Thus it will be seen from the foregoing words of the official communique that there are three instruments instead of (one?) as had been generally expected.


As had been foreseen, the actual .... [very private meeting? negotiations? (portion of printed page missing) ] .... before 11 o'clock Mgr. Pizzardo the assistant Secretary of State, and Professor? Pacelli (later Pope Pius XII), legal advisor to the Vatican, drove up in a motor-car and were quickly followed by Cardinal Gasparri, the Secretary of State, and Mgr. Borgongini Duca, Secretary of the Congregation of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs. When the Vatican representatives arrived the rain was falling fast, and comparatively few people had lined the sides of the huge Piazza Laterana. Little by little fresh sightseers, of whom many were theological students, straggled on to the scene, but the crowd was, in the circumstances, surprisingly small, and cannot have numbered 3000 persons at an outside estimate. The heads of the Diplomatic Corps were, so far as one could see, absent, with the exception of the Swiss Minister to the Quirinal, who took his chance with the ordinary public.


At 25 minutes before noon, Signor Mussolini drove up in company with Signor Giunta, the Under-Secretary in his Department, and a few minutes later Signor Grandi, the Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs, arrived with Signor Rocco, the Minister of Justice. On entering the Palace, Signor Mussolini was greeted by the custodian of the Lateran Museum, who showed the Duce and his colleagues around the missionary section of it. Signor Mussolini then went upstairs, where he was formally greeted by Cardinal Gasparri in the Hall of Constantine.



Acting as host, the Papal Secretary of State then conducted the Italian Prime Minister into the famous Council Hall, which has been the scene of so many historical events in ages past. The Hall, which in its present form, is only about one-fifth of its original size, is still over 50ft. high by 115ft. in length and 45ft. in width. It was in the original hall that the Emperor Charlemagne was the guest of Pope Leo III., and, after a reconstruction of the Palace, that the Concordat of Worms was ratified in 1123 by Pope Calixtus II.



Pope Paul VI at the United Nations in 1965.  The Holy See (Vatican) had gained Permanent observer status at the UN.



On the present occasion, a large table from the Philippine Islands has been placed at one end of the hall immediately under a bust of the present Pope, and round the table were arranged eight beautiful chairs, which like the table itself, were gifts to the Papacy from Catholic missions in the Far East.1 At the far end of the hall, facing the table, was a bust of Pope Sixtus V., who carried out the rebuilding of the Palace after its almost total destruction by fire.


When the moment for the exchange of credentials and the signature of the instruments arrived, Cardinal Gasparri and the Vatican representatives were ranged on the right, and Signor Mussolini and his colleagues on the left. Cardinal Gasparri and Signor Mussolini alone signed the documents, although all the witnesses of the ceremony subsequently signed a special illuminated page in the visitors' book which had been prepared for the occasion and bore the words Justitia and Pax.


The Pope had blessed and sent a golden pen for the ceremony, and this pen was afterwards presented to Signor Mussolini by Cardinal Gasparri. After the signatures had been affixed, Cardinal Gasparri and Signor Mussolini exchanged a few brief congratulations, but there was nothing in the nature of any formal speeches and this absence of strict ceremony was reflected also in the dress of those present. Cardinal Gasparri was wearing his black undress cassock piped with scarlet, and his cardinal's cape, while Signor Mussolini wore a morning coat. The entire ceremony lasted about 25 minutes. That it took so long was due to the fact that the three instruments were in duplicate and that both signatories signed each page in the margin.


The first to drive away were Cardinal Gasparri and Mgr. Borgongini Duca, who were greeted with warm cheers that were renewed with even greater enthusiasm when the Duce and Signor Rocco followed a moment or two later. A hearty cheer was also given to Professor Pizzardo when he responded to the crowd by giving them the Fascist salute. The spontaneous exchange of courtesies was, in fact, one of the most striking episodes of the occasion.


When the noon gun and the ringing of church bells had proclaimed the arrival of the official moment of signature, the theological students in the Piazza intoned a Te Deum. The Fascists, after joining in the singing, uttered loud shouts of "Evviva il Papa, Eja, eja alala," and the students, not to be outdone, responded by giving them the Roman salute and by raising cheers for the Duce.


As soon as the ceremony had come to an end the brief communique was issued announcing that the settlement was now an accomplished fact. The communique ended with the words:-


In conformity with the custom of the Holy See not to publish international conventions until they have been presented for discussion by the legislative assemblies the text of the aforesaid conventions will not be made public, but tomorrow a full and detailed resume of them will be given.


[IMAGE: THE CITY OF THE VATICAN - Supposed Boundary of the Papal State]



It seems therefore, that the full official text of the three instruments signed to-day will not be made known until after the election of the new Parliament, which meets for the first time on April 20. Meanwhile, the ban has now been lifted from the Italian Press, and it is possible to obtain some more reasoned accounts of how this historic event is viewed by public opinion and of the steps which have led up to it. The most interesting article is that written by the editor of the Osservatore Romano.


After tracing the origin of the Roman Question, and giving and account of the different previous attempts to reach a settlement, the writer comes down to the beginning of the final negotiations. The first move was made two years ago by Signor Mussolini, who caused his Holiness to be informed that he was anxious to settle the Roman Question. The Pope, after sounding all the Cardinals, individually, answered by authorising private and confidential conversations. From the outset, it is insisted, the Holy Father laid down the condition that any settlement of the Roman Question must be accompanied by a Concordat. This condition was cordially accepted. The final agreements were on the following main points:-


First, the Italian State signs a Treaty abolishing the Law of Guarantees of 1871, and renouncing to the Pope the principle and exercise of effective and full power of sovereign jurisdiction over a determined territory to be known as the Vatican City.


Second, the Italian State pays a sum of money in compensation for the loss of the Pontifical States and other ecclesiastical properties.


Third, the Italian Government stipulates a Concordat. The Holy See declares the Roman Question to be definitely settled, and recognizes in its actual formation and constitution the Kingdom of Italy.


The article then goes on to give an account of the Vatican City which is interesting by reason of the pains at which the writer is (goes?) to minimize the importance of territorial extension. He affects to regard as of trifling importance the acquisition of the Villa Pamphilj Doria, the Pineta Sacchetti, the slopes of Monte Mario, a corridor to the sea, a piazza here, and a villa there.

Such extensions, the writer admits, might make the sovereignty of the Pope more evident, but they would not materially contribute to his security. He insi[s]ts that as it is the Holy Father has obtained enough to satisfy his liberty and independence as head of the Universal Church, and enough to be recognized as a real and visible sovereign. Thus, in effect, the writer claims that the absence of territorial extension is amply compensated for by the moral and juridical force of the recognition by the Italian Government of the sovereign rights of the Pontiff.


In the small Vatican State now to be created, the civil sovereignty of the Pope becomes one with his religious sovereignty. Thus it would be impossible to violate the Papal territory without also violating the Pope's religious sovereignty, and such a violation, the writer argues, would be a sacrilegious challenge to the public opinion of the whole world. With regard to financial arrangements, the article declares that the sum of money to be paid was calculated on the basis of the annual sums which would have been payable under the Law of Guarantees of 1871. The Holy Father, however, with paternal feelings that were duly appreciated on the other side, reduced the sum to what was absolutely indispensable. Finally, the writer speaks of the Concordat in enthusiastic terms as being "the Golden Seal of this solemn event." He declares that in the Concordat are to be found the seeds of the most noble and vital development of the juridical guarantees accorded to the Papacy, and that the rights won thereby for the spiritual interests of the Roman people constitute an immense spiritual fortress round the Vatican City. He looks forward to a revival of faith and indicates that the advantages won by the Vatican with regard to religious properties, family life, education, morals, and the spiritual life of the nation will bring the present and future generations back into closer contact with God.



                           Cardinal Gasparri and Fascist premier Benito Mussolini signing the 1929 Lateran Treaty.




[IMAGE: THE CARDINAL SIGNS-Cardinal Gasparri affixing his signature to one of the documents, of which there were three. He used a gold pen that had been blessed by the Pope, and afterwards presented it to Signor Mussolini.]



The lay press celebrates the events as the end of wasteful conflicts between Church and State, and as a personal triumph for Signor Mussolini.


The Corriere d'Italia, which regards today's agreement as the confirmation of its own mission, gives almost all the praise to Signor Mussolini, who, from the beginning, showed clear evidence of his enmity to Freemasonry and Liberalism, and of his determination to bring back Religion to its due place. In his work for religious reforms, the Duce had with him, said the writer, the organized forces of the youth of Italy, and of those Catholics of faith and comprehension. The Holy See obtains "a spiritual victory unprecedented in moral history." Not seeking any more territory and material sovereignty than are sufficient even in appearance to give it absolute independence, the Holy See looks rather to "a complete scheme of spiritual and moral transformation of the laws and life of the Italian State."


Senator Corradini, who contributes a special article in the Giornale d'Italia, recalls the inner conflict in every Italian's heart between feelings of loyalty to his Church and of devotion to his country. To-day this has been succeeded, not by a mere union, but by a "living unity."


The Senator regards the reconciliation as a typical act of the new regime; starting with national unity, Fascism has succeeded in establishing a profound unity in the individual conscience. This fusion will be a new fount of discipline, of moral rectitude of the dedication of the individual to the nation and to the State. The former antithesis between Church and State was, according to another writer, a source of manifold dangers to the Italian nation. The existence of anti-Catholic and Masonic elements threatened to corrupt the race, and Italy was in a position of inferiority with regard to other nations, as she had no direct representation at the Vatican. Further, these elements lessened the efficacy of Rome's mission in the world. To-day's agreement is an unequivocal statement of the fact that Rome, one and distinct, is the capital of Fascism and the city of the Papacy.


As regards the effects, present and future, of the present reconciliation on the policy of Fascism and of the Holy See, the writers, for the most part, confine themselves to generalities. The Lavoro, however, affirms that the agreement will not give an international character to Fascism or a national imprint to the actions of the Holy See. At the same time, the Church will have no reason for maintaining towards Fascist Italy the attitude of intransigence and hostility which it felt for the old Liberal and Masonic regimes. The only cure for he world's ills, it says, lies in a return to the immutable truths which have their starting point in the Catholic Rome of Signor Mussolini. Thus, to-day's ceremony is not a mere diplomatic agreement, but the beginning of a new period in the history of Fascist Italy.



Addressing preachers for Lent this morning, the Pope said that while he was speaking to them Cardinal Gasparri was actually signing the treaty with the Italian Government. The Holy Father said that he did not intend to give his public benediction on the morrow, as some seemed to believe, but that he meant to wait until the instruments had been ratified. In reply to any criticisms that might be made, the Pope declared that he had studied the question for 30 months, aided only by the prayers of the faithful.


Answering those who doubted the sufficiency of the guarantees given, the Pope explained that there was no need to ask for guarantees from foreign Governments. "The guarantees," said his Holiness "are only to be found in the conscience and the sense of justice of the Italian people." How could they count on guarantees when even before 1870 the Temporal Power had only existed on geographical maps? And in any case, what had the Powers done then? It was true that perhaps there was nothing they could have done. As regards the future, it lay, said the Holy Father, in the hands of God. During the negotiations just passed, the Pope explained, he had only asked for his Italian flock "the minimum necessary for visible temporal power." By so doing, he wished to demonstrate the fact that he had no territorial ambitions.


The Pope concluded by saying that his reply to those who objected that the Papal territory was too small was, "It is the largest in the world," for in it were included libraries, museums, historic apartments, and immense treasures of art and science.



ROME, Feb. 11, -An official communique has been issued summarizing the Treaty, Concordat, and Financial Convention signed to-day by representatives of Italy and the Holy See. The communique is as follows:-


"The political treaty between the Holy See and Italy is composed of a Preamble and 27 Articles. After stating that the two High Contracting Parties recognise the advisability of eliminating every reason for enmity between them the Preamble begins by re-affirming the principle contained in the first article of the constitution of the Kingdom of Italy by which the Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Religion is the only State Religion in Italy.


The text of the Treaty proceeds to recognize the full property, exclusive dominion, and sovereign jurisdiction of the Holy See over the Vatican as at present constituted. For this purpose, "the City of the Vatican" is created. In this territory no interference by the Italian Government will be possible, and there will be no authority other than that of the Holy See. The Piazza San Pietro, although forming part of the Vatican territory, will continue normally to be open to the public and subject to the police powers of the Italian authorities.


The boundaries of the Vatican City are indicated in the map annexed to the Treaty.

A special clause specifies all the public services with which the Vatican City will be endowed by the Italian Government, including the railway station, and direct connection with other States by telegraphic, wireless, broadcasting, and postal services.

An agreement will be made subsequently providing for the circulation on Italian territory of vehicles and aircraft belonging to the Vatican City.


Another clause specifies as persons subject to the sovereignty of the Holy See those having a permanent residence in the Vatican City. The Treaty lays down the immunities which will be enjoyed even by those who do not reside in the Vatican City-namely, by dignitaries of the Church, persons belonging to the Papal Court, and Vatican officials declared to be indispensable by the Holy See. The territorial immunities are also provided for the Patriarchal Basilicas and certain edifices situated outside the Vatican City in which the Holy See is housing, or will house its offices or services necessary for its administration.


Italy recognizes the right of the Holy See to send its own diplomatists to foreign countries and receive foreign diplomatists according to the general rules of international law. The two High Contracting Parties bind themselves to establish normal diplomatic relations by accrediting an Italian Ambassador to the Holy See and an Apostolic Nuncio to Italy who will be the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps according to the customary procedure as recognised by the Congress of Vienna in 1815. It is also agreed that the artistic and scientific treasures existing in the Vatican City [and] Lateran Palace shall remain open to students and visitors.


Another clause states that if the Holy See so requests, either in any single case or as a general rule, the Italian Government will see to the punishment in its own territory of crimes committed in the Vatican City. Similarly the Holy See will deliver to Italy persons who have taken refuge on Vatican territory accused of acts which are considered criminal by the laws of both States.

A further clause declares that the Vatican wishes to remain, and will remain extraneous to the temporal competitions between other States, as well as international congresses convened for this purpose, unless the parties in conflict appeal unanimously to its mission of peace, and reserves the right in any case to the exercise of its moral and spiritual power.

In consequence of the above, the Vatican territory will always be considered neutral and inviolable.


Then comes the following declaration:-


"The Holy See considers that with the agreements signed to-day it possesses the guarantees necessary to provide due liberty and independence to the spiritual government of the dioceses of Rome and of the Catholic Church in Italy and the whole world. It declares the Roman Question definitely and irrevocably settled and therefore eliminated, and recognises the Kingdom of Italy under the Dynasty of the House of Savoy with Rome as the capital of the Italian State. Italy on its side recognizes the State of the Vatican City under the sovereignty of the Supreme Pontiff.

"The Law of Guarantees and any other law or Act contrary to the present Treaty is abrogated.



The article concerning marriage is particularly interesting, and runs:-

The Italian State, wishing to restore dignity to matrimony, which is the basis of the family, in agreement with the Catholic tradition of its own people, recognises matrimony as a sacrament regulated by Canon Law in its relation to Civil Law. Banns of marriage must appear in the parish church as well as in the town hall. Immediately after the celebration of marriage the parish priest will explain to the married couple the civil consequences of marriage, reading the articles of the Civil Code concerning the rights and duties of the married.

The parish priest must also send within 5 days of the marriage a certificate to the Municipality and have it copied in the registers there.


Cases concerning nullity of marriage and dissolution of marriages celebrated but not consummated are reserved to the Ecclesiastical Courts. Their sentences, before becoming definitive must be brought before the Supreme Tribunal of the Segnatura, which will examine whether all the rules of Canon Law have been respected concerning the competence of the Judge and whether the interested parties were represented before the Court or judged in default.

The decision of the Supreme Tribunal of the Segnatura will be sent to the Court of Appeal by the Italian State, which will enforce the sentence of the Ecclesiastical authority ... ?? municipal ...?? [marriage registers?? ...] the Holy See consents to judgement being given by the Italian civil authorities.



Religious instruction will be compulsory not only in the elementary schools but also in secondary schools, according to a programme to be established in agreement between the Holy See and Italy.


Italy recognizes the Catholic organisations forming part of the "Italian Catholic Action" which according to the instructions of the Holy See, must keep their activities outside any political party, and under the immediate control of the hierarchy of the Church for the purpose of spreading and applying Catholic principles.


Towards the end the Concordat establishes that if in the future any difficulty arises in the interpretation of the same, the Holy See and Italy will solve it by mutual and friendly understanding.



The Financial Convention sets forth that the Holy See, as a definitive settlement of all financial relations with Italy in consequence of the loss of its temporal power in 1870 [accepts?] 750,000,000 lire (£8,152,000) in cash [and?] 1,000,000,000 lire (£10,869,000) in Italian State bonds bearing interest at 5 per cent. This sum is less than what Italy would have paid if the Holy See had accepted the allowance offered under the Law of Guarantees on May 13, 1871.


The Treaty of Conciliation, the Concordat, and the Financial Convention must be ratified by the Supreme Pontiff and the King of Italy within four months from the signature and have effect from the moment of ratification.


It should be remembered that the Freemasons, Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, liberals and other political opposition groups, gypsies, and minorities were also persecuted by Hitler's Nazi regime in Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe during WWII. The Vatican had signed the 1929 Lateran Treaty with Mussolini's Fascist government, and soon followed with the signing of the Vatican-Nazi Concordat of 1933. Both regimes killed off all democratic freedoms and internal dissent, while persecuting so called 'enemies within,' before launching a brutal global war of annihilation in partnership with fascist Japan (Tripartite Pact) against other nations.


1. See the Catholic colonial world empires of Portugal, France, Spain, and Belgium - where often the Jesuits were the first 'missionaries' into those newly colonized territories both in the Old world and the New, to impose Catholic rule on the conquered peoples via the Inquisition, c. 1500s-1800s. See also the relevant treaties and Papal Bulls (such as Inter Caetera, 1493) dividing up the world between the Catholic colonial powers such as Spain and Portugal, etc.



 Saturday, July 11, 2009
 Pope Benedict XVI meets President Barack Obama



Official press release the the Vatican published today after Benedict XVI received U.S. President Barack Obama in audience:

This afternoon, Friday 10 July 2009, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI received in Audience the President of the United States of America, His Excellency Mr. Barack H. Obama. Prior to the Audience, the President met His Eminence Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, and also His Excellency Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.

In the course of their cordial exchanges the conversation turned first of all to questions which are in the interests of all and which constitute a great challenge for the future of every nation and for the true progress of peoples, such as the defence and promotion of life and the right to abide by one’s conscience.


Reference was also made to immigration with particular attention to the matter of reuniting families.


The meeting focused as well upon matters of international politics, especially in light of the outcome of the G8 Summit. The conversation also dealt with the peace process in the Middle East, on which there was general agreement, and with other regional situations.




Certain current issues were then considered, such as dialogue between cultures and religions, the global economic crisis and its ethical implications, food security, development aid especially for Africa and Latin America, and the problem of drug trafficking. Finally, the importance of educating young people everywhere in the value of tolerance was highlighted.



 EU Draws Up Plans to Establish Itself As 'World Power'
 By Bruno Waterfield in Brussels
 The Daily Telegraph
 7 Oct 2009


The European Union has drawn up secret plans to establish itself as a global power in its own right with the authority to sign international agreements on behalf of member states.
According to one confidential paper, the first pilot 'embassies' are planned in New York, Kabul and Addis Ababa.

Confidential negotiations on how to implement the Lisbon Treaty have produced proposals to allow the EU to negotiate treaties and even open embassies across the world.


A letter conferring a full "legal personality" for the Union has been drafted in order for a new European diplomatic service to be recognised as fully fledged negotiators by international bodies and all non-EU countries.


According to one confidential paper, the first pilot "embassies" are planned in New York, Kabul and Addis Ababa.

The move is highly symbolic in Britain as it formally scraps the "European Community", the organisation in which Britons originally voted to remain in the country's only referendum on Europe 34 years ago.


Mark Francois, Conservative spokesman on Europe, said that the deal showed why the British should have been given a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

"As we have long warned, the Lisbon Treaty increases the EU's power at the expense of the countries of Europe," he said. "The new power a single legal personality would give the EU is a classic example.

"It illustrates why it is wrong for Labour to try to deny the British people any say on this Treaty at all."


The decision, taken shortly before Ireland's referendum last week, will mean a new European diplomatic service with over 160 "EU representations" and ambassadors across the world.


Lorraine Mullally, the director of Open Europe, described the move as "a huge transfer of power which makes the EU look more like a country than an international agreement".


"Giving the EU legal personality means that the EU, rather than member states, will be able to sign all kinds of international agreements – on foreign policy, defence, crime and judicial issues – for the first time," she said.


She pointed out that the 1975 referendum was on staying in the EC and that it was the European Communities Act that gave Brussels legislation primacy over British law.


"British voters agreed to join the European Communities, not a political union with legal personality with the power to sign all kinds of international agreements," said Miss Mullally. "No one under the age of 52 has ever had a say on this important evolution and it's about time we did."


A restricted document circulated by the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, seen by The Daily Telegraph, spells out the need for legal changes to set up a European External [Action] Service (EEAS), an EU diplomatic and foreign service with "global geographical scope".


The paper said: "The EEAS will need a legal status providing it with functional legal personality so that it has sufficient autonomy.


"This legal personality should also give it the capacity to act as necessary to carry out (its) tasks."


A British diplomat defended the decision. "The EU has been able to sign treaties for over a decade. The innovation under the Lisbon Treaty is that the European Community will cease to have legal personality. This is about simplification," she said.

Brussels ambassadors yesterday (Tues) began detailed work, in secret, to create new institutions, the EEAS, "foreign minister" (UK Labour peer Baroness Katherine Ashton who replaced Javier Solana) and EU President (Herman Van Rompuy-Belgium PM- both took office from Jan 2010 when the Lisbon Treaty entered into force), that are to be set up under the Lisbon Treaty.


Decisions "in principle" will be taken despite the fact that both Poland and the Czech Republic have not yet fully ratified the new EU Treaty.


The creation of the EEAS has sparked a bitter Brussels turf war. The European Commission could lose up to 1,424 senior staff from three departments.

Another 400 staff will be taken from the Council of the EU and an "equivalent" number will be seconded from national diplomatic services.


The EEAS will take over Commission representations – there are currently more than 160 offices around the world – and its senior diplomats will be given the same status as national ambassadors.

 Pope says Europe needs Christian values to prosper, help others

 By Cindy Wooden
 Catholic News Service


VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- If European unity is based only on geography and economics, it cannot succeed in promoting the common good of all Europe's citizens and in helping the rest of the world, Pope Benedict XVI said.


The recognition of the dignity of the human person and the obligation to work for the common good -- values Christianity fostered on the Continent -- are what inspired the movement toward European unity and are the only guarantee of its success, the Pope said Oct. 19 in welcoming Yves Gazzo as the new head of the European Commission's delegation to the Holy See.


Gazzo defined the European Union as a "zone of peace and stability which comprises 27 states with the same core values."

Pope Benedict said the European Union did not bring those values to the 27 member countries, "but rather it is these shared values that have given birth to and were like a gravitational force" that drew the countries together and inspired them to form a union.


"When the Church recalls the Christian roots of Europe, it is not seeking a special status for itself," the Pope said. Instead, it is calling Europeans to remember that the values that brought peace to the continent and freedom and dignity to its people must be allowed to continue nourishing it.


"The immense intellectual, cultural and economic resources of the continent will continue to bear fruit as long as they are fertilized by the transcendent vision of the human person, which is the most important treasure of European heritage," he said.


The European Union is right to promote a better economic situation and improved social conditions for all the Continent's people, the Pope said, but the values shared by most Europeans have a broader scope.


Joint efforts are needed to safeguard the environment and, especially, to give "the vital and necessary support to human life from conception to natural death and to the family founded on marriage between one man and one woman," he said.

"Europe will not truly be herself if she cannot keep the originality that made her great," the pope said. He encouraged the continent to promote the "holistic development of people that the Catholic Church considers to be the only way to remedy the imbalances present in our world."



 2009 Catholic News Service/USCCB.


 Lisbon Treaty Srengthens Role of Religion says EU
 EU Observer


EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Securing a stronger consultative role for European religions in EU policy making is another good reason to support the Lisbon Treaty, say two of the EU's most senior officials.

Speaking after a meeting with European religious leaders on Monday (11 May), European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering said such discussions in the future could not be guaranteed without the full ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.

A number of religious and pro-life groups in Ireland are concerned that the Lisbon Treaty could allow abortion in "through the backdoor" (Photo:

Mr Pottering said the annual inter-religious dialogue between European religious leaders and the EU institutions - formalised in 2005 - were carried out on the "basis of good will" rather than because of a legal obligation.


"If the Lisbon Treaty is not ratified, with the new leaderships in the commission and the parliament, they could abolish this dialogue because legally it's not binding," he said.


He added that it is the "responsibility of Ireland" to ensure the treaty comes into effect.

The Irish government is set to hold a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty this autumn, following an initial rejection by a majority of Irish voters last June.


However, the document is also facing several legal challenges in Mr Pottering's home country of Germany and awaits presidential signatures in the Czech Republic and Poland.


European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who co-chaired the meeting with Mr Poettering, told journalists the Lisbon Treaty would also re-inforce dialogue between non-confessional organisations.


"One of the purposes of these meetings is to highlight how it is important in Europe to keep freedom of religion [and] also the freedom not to have a religion," he said.


The Church and Lisbon

"[The Lisbon Treaty] is the first time ever that our churches and our religious communities are included in the law of the European union," Mr Pottering said.


However, the EU's secularism, in particular politically unwillingness to include a reference to the Christian god in the Constitutional Treaty's preamble, was one reason given for conservative Christian groups' opposition to the Lisbon Treaty during the country's referendum on the document last June.


The Lisbon Treaty is a rewritten version of the Constitutional Treaty rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005, containing many of the main proposals but doing away with reference to European symbols such as a European flag and anthem.

Also attending Monday's meeting was the Catholic archbishop for Dublin, Diarmuid Martin.


Mr Martin has increasingly voiced his support for the Lisbon treaty in recent months ahead of a second Irish referendum on the document this autumn.


"Ireland needs Europe but also Europe needs Ireland," he says. "Europe needs the diversity of its smaller nations and different cultures."


Mr Martin referred to the lack of understanding by Irish citizens ahead of the last year's referendum, adding that current debate was helping to provide "greater clarity ... on a number of issues that were of concern to the Irish electorate."


One issue of concern to Irish religious groups is the possibility that Ireland could be forced to accept abortion under European law if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified.


Abortion is not currently allowed under Irish legislation, a situation that has prompted three of its citizens to take legal cases to the European Court of Human Rights.


The Czech Republic, currently chairing the EU's six-month rotating presidency, is currently drafting three legal guarantees for the Irish government that would help ensure its sovereignty in the areas of taxation, defence and such social affairs in return for accepting the Treaty.


Doubts remain however over the genunine effectiveness of the three legal protocols that are likely to be introduced via an EU accession treaty, most probably that of Croatia.

A number of EU member states are also concerned that any Irish legal guarantees could result in the Lisbon ratification process being re-opened in their countries.



Chicago Tribune

For Pope, Gorbachev, Talk Is Real
November 30, 1989 | By Joseph A. Reaves, Chicago Tribune.


A Communist Party chief who was baptized in his boyhood and a pope who studied Marxism in his teens will make history-and maybe change it-when they meet Friday on the spot that 900 million Catholics consider the seat of God`s kingdom on Earth.




Italian newspapers already are calling Friday`s meeting at the Vatican between Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and Pope John Paul II ``the summit of the century.``



                                    Pope Benedict XVI with former Russian President (current PM) Vladimir Putin.


``They have talked for years about dialogue between Christians and Marxists,`` said Gorbachev`s spokesman, Gennady Gerasimov. ``This time it will be real. This time it will be a conceptual talk.``

In fact, any kind of talk would be a breakthrough in a bitter, implacable rift that predates even the birth of communism. Never, in nearly three-quarters of a century, have the supreme leaders of communism and

Catholicism come remotely close to reconciliation.




Pope Paul VI and UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim.


The hopes that exist today for permanent change are the fruit of the Vatican`s persistent attempts to seek an opening to the East and of the sudden changes sweeping Eastern Europe. But those hopes are pinned on the two men who will meet Friday at the Vatican: Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, 58, who was baptized in the Russian Orthodox Church, and Karol Wojtyla, 69, who studied Marxism as a teenager in Poland, decades before he became Pope, so he could better know the rulers of his land.



                                  Pope Benedict XVI giving an address in the US, VP Dick Cheney in the background.


``Both men are tempered by World War II,`` said a Western diplomat assigned to monitor Friday`s meeting. A colleague at another embassy agreed but said that of the two, John Paul II deserves the greater credit.



``If this had been an Italian pope, instead of one from a Communist country like Poland, he would not have remembered suffering,`` the diplomat said. ``This pope knows communism. He`s lived under it. He`s suffered under it. He knows how far he can go.``



In 1844, Karl Marx was just 26 years old and struggling to organize his philosophy when he enraged Pope Gregory XVI and spiritual leaders worldwide by denouncing religion as the ``opium of the people.``




                                       Pope Benedict XVI and EU Commission President Jose Barroso.


Four years later, Marx and Friedrich Engels collaborated on what was to become the bible of communism and promptly served notice they reserved a special enmity for the head of the Roman Catholic Church.


``A specter is haunting Europe-the specter of Communism,`` Marx and Engels declared in the opening sentence of ``The Communist Manifesto`` in 1848. ``All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this specter: Pope and Czar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police.``


                                                               Pope Benedict XVI and French President Nicholas Sarkozy.



                                                      Pope Benedict XVI and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair. 




                                    And with the current UK Prime Minister David Cameron in 2010.


Since those words were written, tens of millions of people have died transforming communism into one of the world`s most momentous movements and preserving Catholicism as the world`s largest religion.



The holy alliance of pope and czar was destroyed by the heirs of Marx and Engels. The powers of old Europe were wiped away by two world wars. But the enmity between Communists and Catholics never waned.


In 1917, when Lenin led the Bolsheviks to power in what until then was known as ``Holy Russia,`` Pope Pius XI accepted reality and began talks aimed at protecting the rights of Catholics under communism.



The negotiations were painstakingly slow and produced few results, but Pius XI was convinced he had kept Catholicism alive by establishing an underground hierarchy of four bishops and seven apostolic administrators across the Soviet Union.



                               The 1929 Lateran Treaty between the Papacy and Mussolini established the Vatican State.


That secret hierarchy worked faithfully until Lenin`s death in 1924. When Josef Stalin came to power, his police arrested all 11 papal delegates and hundreds of priests. The underground Catholic Church was wiped out overnight. Stalin stayed in power until 1953 and did more than anyone to ensure the church and communism could never find common ground.

In 1935, he scoffed at emissaries who urged him to forge closer ties with the Vatican in the interests of heading off the growing threat of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.



``How many divisions does the Pope have?`` Stalin said.



Four years later, as World War II was erupting across Europe, the fate of relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Communist world was sealed when Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli became Pope Pius XII.




                                                       The 1933 Reichkonkordat between the Vatican and Hitler's Germany.


Pacelli was an ardent anti-Communist who, 20 years earlier, while serving as papal nuncio in Munich, had been held at gunpoint by Red Guards who temporarily declared Bavaria a ``Soviet republic.``




                                                                        US President Bill Clinton and Pope John Paul II.



Pius XII was so strident in his criticism of communism that he came to be known as the ``Chaplain of NATO.`` In 1949, he issued a papal decree excommunicating anyone who joined the Communist Party or even voted Communist. By that time, Stalin had arrested hundreds of church leaders across Eastern Europe and forced the vocal Ukrainian Catholic Church to merge with the more docile Russian Orthodox Church.


                                                       Pope Benedict XVI and Russian President Dimitri Medvedev.


The Ukrainian church was a postwar source of Ukrainian nationalism, and Stalin ordered the arrests and executions of thousands of church members to prevent the loss of a region that was to become the USSR`s industrial heartland and agricultural breadbasket.



But Stalin`s repression failed to eradicate the Ukrainian church, and today Ukrainian Catholic priests are emerging from four decades of clandestine activity to lead a new wave of nationalism, which, in part, led Gorbachev to become the first Soviet Communist boss to visit the Vatican.

Diplomats and Vatican officials said this week that Gorbachev will seek the Pope`s help to calm unrest in the Ukraine and will ask John Paul to issue a public endorsement of the reforms sweeping East Europe under Gorbachev`s guidance.

In return, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls says, the Pope hopes the meeting will lead Gorbachev to accord full freedom to Soviet Catholics and establish permanent contacts between Moscow and the Holy See.



                                                                     Former UK PM Gordon Brown and Pope Benedict XVI.


Both have been long-term goals of a Vatican policy, known as ``Ostpolitik`` (literally, East politics), which was begun in the 1960s and championed by John Paul II since he was a bishop in Communist Poland. Not even a 1981 assassination attempt, allegedly orchestrated by his enemies in the Soviet Union, dissuaded John Paul from pursuing the policy.


Under Ostpolitik, the church sought gradually to improve relations with the Communist world in return, first, for small concessions and, eventually, for full diplomatic ties.


Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev opened the door for Ostpolitik on Nov. 25, 1961, when he broke precedent and sent birthday greetings to Pope John XXIII.



                                                               US President George W Bush and Pope John Paul II.



That symbolic opening led to more practical steps a few years later, when Khrushchev agreed privately to allow dozens of East European church leaders to attend the historic Vatican II Council in Rome in return for a pledge from Pope Paul VI to block delegates at the historic meeting from passing a resolution condemning communism.



                                                               Pope Benedict XVI and current  US President Barack Obama.


Khrushchev and the Pope kept their promises, and in the uneasy truce that followed a series of Soviet leaders and the heads of Communist parties from several countries visited the Vatican.




Former Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko came several times. Party bosses from Yugoslavia, Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria were received at the Vatican. And on Jan. 30, 1967, then-Soviet President Nikolai Podgorny called on Pope Paul VI.



Pope John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan (top).  Pope Paul VI and President John F. Kennedy (bottom).