Friday, January 25, 2008

EU is anti-family, say European Catholic bishops


From C-Fam: By Maciej Golubiewski
A report just released by the European bishops calls on the European Union (EU) to focus on what they consider to be the real needs of families in Europe and further calls on the EU to respect national marriage laws of the member states. The report by the Commission of the European Bishops’ Conference (COMECE) entitled “Proposal for a Strategy of the European Union for the Support of Couples and Marriage” focuses on two fundamental problems that present “high emotional, social and financial costs to European society:” the continuing increase in divorce rates and the difficulty faced by young Europeans who decide to raise children.

The report says that in the field of matrimonial matters, “[national]
diversity has to be respected and family law is and must remain the sole
competence of member states.” The bishops found that some legislative proposals
of the European Commission for increased cross-border legal cooperation come
close to encroaching on the exclusive right of member states to make their own
family policy. Moreover, EU policy in the areas of employment, social
protection and poverty reduction ignore the importance of marriage altogether,
they said.

In the area of employment and social protection, the bishops make the case
that “loving and stable couples are a social capital for all Europeans” and are
“founts of mutual trust in society” as well as “the preferable instance for
bringing up children” and charge the EU with ignoring this. They call for EU
assistance in sharing European best practices regarding divorce prevention
programs such as communication training for high-risk couples, especially those
dealing with pressures of dual employment and separation due to increased
geographic mobility.

The bishops also took issue with the EU’s assumption that a dual-income
family is “a new social norm” among European citizens, arguing that some dual
earning households exist primarily for financial constraints. For that reason,
they said, EU should support and not discriminate single-earner families.
Staying at home to care for one’s children is “an important and welcome
contribution to the well-being of all citizens of the European Union,”
according to the report, which cites studies showing family break up as an
important cause of poverty.

As for cross-border legal cooperation in family matters, the bishops warn
that the EU’s legislative proposals exceed EU mandates by recognizing de facto
unions and registered partnerships. This could prematurely “entail common
recognition of such unions in a situation where member states do not provide
recognition for the legal aspects of such unions” and dangerously undermine the
importance of marriage as endowing parents with social and legal
responsibilities which otherwise do not exist, they said.

David Fieldsend, from the Brussels-based CARE Europe, said, “The Bishops’
paper is a timely and well-researched contribution to the debate that is at
last being aired at the EU on family matters. For too long talk of the family
has been taboo while all sorts of fringe agendas were embraced with enthusiasm.
Now the demographic crisis has forced the EU’s leaders to sit up and take

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen