.- As the February 20 date for the referendum on the EU Constitution looms, the Bishops Conference of Spain called on Spaniards to cast an informed vote, with full knowledge of the facts about the different ambiguities in the Constitution in areas such as the Christian roots of Europe, abortion, euthanasia, marriage and the family. “The Church puts her hopes in Europe.” The document explains that, as on other occasions, the bishops “are fulfilling their pastoral duty to offer help to Catholics and to public opinion in general regarding the moral dimension of voting responsibly and in conscience.”
“The Church puts her hopes in Europe. The Holy See, the European bishops and Catholic politicians and those of other Christian denominations have been among the first to encourage a great plan of European unification which, bringing to an end the sad chapter of great and repeated wars, gives way to an age of unity and true progress,” the bishops maintained.
The bishops stated that voters must go to the polls with sufficient information and with full knowledge of the facts. “The content of the Constitution presents positive and negative elements,” the added, “and assessing it in its entirety is not an easy task.”
“The bishops wished a human right as basic as the right to life would have been unambiguously defined in the document. The Constitution does not exclude lethal research with human embryos, or abortion, or euthanasia. It likewise does not exclude human cloning for experimentation and therapeutics.
The bishops had hoped for greater protection of marriage and the family, as well as an explicit definition of marriage as the stable union of one man and one woman and the protection of the right of children not to be adopted by other types of unions,” the document added.
“And lastly, the bishops profoundly regret the deliberate omission of a reference to Christianity as one of the living roots of Europe and its values,” the bishops said.
“It is morally necessary to work for greater and more just integration in Europe,” the bishops stated. But, they clarified, their commitment to Europe does not oblige them in their pastoral ministry to take sides one way or the other on the question of the referendum.