Churches bless EU Constitution
19 May 2005, AMSTERDAM — Despite "very serious, critical question marks", churches in the Netherlands have backed the EU Constitution, but refrain from issuing vote advice to their flocks of believers.
19 May 2005
AMSTERDAM — Despite "very serious, critical question marks", churches in the Netherlands have backed the EU Constitution, but refrain from issuing vote advice to their flocks of believers.
"I don't know what effect this will have," Bishop Adrianus van Luyn of the Catholic Church in Rotterdam said on Thursday.
He was speaking after the Council of Churches in the Netherlands met to discuss the EU constitution.
The churches have decided to give the document very qualified approval, but are not going to issue advice on how people should vote in the referendum on 1 June.
Van Luyn recalled the infamous decree by the Catholic Church in 1954 which, among other things, banned members of the church joining socialist organisations.
"Since that order, churches have been very hesitant to issue voting advice," the bishop said.
The secretary of the Protestant church group PKN, Bas Plaisir, agreed the churches should avoid a direct call to their members on how to vote.
"We have grown wiser with experience. Earlier attempts on advising people on how to vote resulted in violent debates within the churches," he said.
However, the churches will refer their followers to the positive-though-critical "indicators" the Council of Churches, the commission of bishops in the EU and the Conference of European Churches have decided upon in relation to the constitution.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news, EU Constitution, Dutch referendum