Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Europe is headed for Muslim future, says Czech Cardinal

Prague - Twenty years following the fall of communism the Czech Republic is at EU's helm.

But for years the EU member states cannot decide what form the constitutional treaty should take.

Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, the head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, is adamant that behind the failure to adopt the euro-treaty is the absence of what Europe feels natural about - Christian values.

"When the Irish said No to the Lisbon Treaty, they said it because the European Union and Lisbon Treaty have dropped the Christian roots," said Cardinal Vlk in an interview for Aktuálne(.cz.

Cardinal Vlk pointed out that it was Christian politicians that came up with the idea of unified Europe. Italian politician and founder of the Christian Democratic Party Alcide De Gasperi, former French Prime Minister Robert Schuman and German statesman Konrad Adenauer are regarded as founders of the European Union.

In the interview Vlk links that the European Union's flag to Christian values. The flag consisting of twelve stars on a blue background was admittedly inspired by the Bible. In Vlk's view the circle of stars refers to the twelve-star halo of the Virgin Mary.

Cardinal Vlk was quick to mention the flag was adopted on December 8, a day which celebrates the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary.

As a former head of the Council of Bishops' Conferences of Europe, Cardinal Vlk protested against the Nice Treaty, which was signed by the European leaders in 2001 in the town of Nice, France. According to him, the Treaty curtailed the freedom of religion and the definition of family was poorly based on Christian values.

Cardinal Vlk expressed strong disapproval of Islamic fundamentalism. "It is abuse of the Quran in the name of power. Islamic fundamentalism sets if someone does not live according to God, he must be killed. That is absurd," said Cardinal Vlk.

He believes in the dialogue between Christians and Muslims but "in terms of culture and opinions Islam is medieval".

"I do not want to sound negative... but in Islam a religion assumes the position of the state power and rules the people. Our European Christian experience proved that it is not the right way," said Cardinal Vlk.

Demographically dying out, Cardinal Vlk expects Europe to become markedly more Muslim in the 21st century because of the low fertility of Europeans the majority of whom are non-believers. It is a well-known fact that countries that are secularized reproduce more slowly than countries that are more pious.

"Muslims in Europe have much more children than Christian families. That is why demographers have been trying to come up with a time when Europe will become Muslim," Cardinal Vlk claimed.

While European Muslims are living their religion, Europeans are "pagans, as they do not respect their religion". To face the danger of dying out, Europe needs to install a program of spiritual rehabilitation.

"If we do not restore Europe in terms of Christian values, we will surely die out," Cardinal Vlk said.