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Home arrow newsitems arrow Strasbourg Cathedral Mass for Europe-2011: Ready for all fights tells EF Vatican envoy Mgr Giordano

Strasbourg Cathedral Mass for Europe-2011: Ready for all fights tells EF Vatican envoy Mgr Giordano

Pisac ACM
04. 01. 2011.

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A "Mass for Europe", in Strasbourg's huge, emblematic Cathedral, at the beginning of EU Parliament's 2011 first plenary session, on Monday afternoon, January 17, as Vatican's Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe, Mgr. Aldo Giordano (an Italian polyglot with a PhD. on Nietzche and experience in Geneva's UNO premisses, etc) said to "EuroFora", can it really have a Topical meaning for European politicians and EU Citizens today, Months before pope Benedict's expected visit to nearby Freiburg ?


It's true that People's reactions and feelings  grew recently, while various innocent Christians were recently killed in the Middle East (Turkey, Irak, Egypt, Nigeria, etc), threatening to provoke a similar "Ethnic" or "Religious Cleansing" as in nowadays Turkish area, where, from Headquarters of Millenary Christian Byzantine Empire, it was notoriously forced to become a ..99% Muslim country, provoking growing reactions from the European and International Community, and mainly from French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel.

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Symbolically, Giordano was speaking to "EuroFora" on the nearly 1 km. high Mountainous peak of Saint Odile's Monastery ressort, giving a superbe overview over Strasbourg and Rhine's area, despite icy-cold weather counter-balanced by striking Sun-light beams piercing Clouds and enlightening Giant Rocks and thick Mountainous Forests. There where it was natural for "Light" to be at the focus of a passionate Homelie by the Head of France's Christian Catholic Church, Mgr. Vingt-trois, in a Mass celebrated by Strasbourg's ArchiBishop Mgr Gralet, close to Rossheim's closter, dedicated to work for the re-Unification of Europe by late Strasbourg's ArchiBishop Mgr. Brand since the 1988 landmark visit of late pope John-Paul, with whom Benedict collaborated closely together for many years.

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The Date chosen by Giordano : January 17, 2011, coincides both with the start of the 1st EU Parliament's Plenary session in Strasbourg, and with a Week dedicated to Christians' Unity : Both are Pope Benedict's well-known favorite issues :

* The vital need to re-launch Europe can be succesfully met by defending fundamental Human Rights of the People : This was, in substance, the main message of Pope Benedict XVI in his 1st speech in France, at his meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy, when he chaired the EU, at the Elysée in Paris (See "EuroFora"s 8+9/2008 NewsReports from Brixen/Bressanone, Paris and Lourdes) :


- "When Europeans will see and personally experience that the inalienable Rights of the Human Person .., those of their free Education, their Family life, their Work, ..their Religious Rights, ..are respected and promoted, then, these Europeans will fully understand the greatness of the European construction and will be actively involved in it", Benedict XVI stressed.


Sarkozy had replied by welcoming Christian and other religions' contribution to indispensable Public Debates on crucial issues which affect Human Dignity, Europe, even Humankind, as BioGenetics : A topical matter both for France, considering the imminent review of its BioEthical laws, as for Germany, given a recent Constitutional Court's ruling on controversial pre-implantation diagnostics and governing party CDU Congress' subsequent debate recently at Karlsruhe (See "EuroFora"s NewsReports from the event).



This overall problematique emerged again at the forefront now, in a Letter written by Pope Benedict, on the occasion of the "closing of the Compostela Holy Year", at New Years' eve (31/12/2010) :


- There, the Holy Father expresses, indeed, the Hope that "this Light" "may also be perceptible in Europe", with a crystal-clear message  :

- "As an incessant Call to strengthen its Christian Roots,  and thus increase its commitment to Solidarity,  and the Defence of man's Dignity", (i.e. the very Foundation of all elementary Human Rights : See supra).



* It's also undeniable that pope Benedict, (who, being of German origin, knows perfectly well the issue of relations between Catholics and Protestants), has personally done much for the re-Unification of Christians in Europe, as it is proven by many Facts.


 F.ex. :


- It's immediately after his emotional call, urgently launched from Brixen-Bressanone's Mountains on early August 2008, to prevent a fall-back to brutal conflicts, bloody and destructive Wars between Christians in Europe, that EU Chairman-in-office, French President Sarkozy, in agreement with German Chancellor Merkel, who was staying at a nearby ressort of the Dolomites Alpish Peaks, decided to break bureaucratic rules and rush immediately to Russia and Georgia for a series of bilateral Summits with Presidents Medvedev and Shakasvili, succeeding to broker a cease-fire Peace Deal.


Some opponents had already reacted negatively, from that August 2008, against prospects that they feared about the Franco-German Political Leaders, Sarkozy and Merkel, coming closer to the Spiritual Leader Chrisitian Pope Benedict, less than a Year before the June 2009 EU Parliament's Elections, which gave an exceptionally strong Majority to ChristianDemocrats/EPP and other MEPs opposed to Turkey's controversial and impopular EU bid, in the most important EU Member Countries, soon spreading also soon afterwards, in various ways, to several EU Member Countries' National Elections, (f.ex. Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, etc).


- After 2001's late John-Paul's Historic visit to Greece (See also infra), it's for his long-time close collaborator, current pope Benedict to visit in 2006 the Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos at the Millenary (330-1.453) Constantinupolis, (currently Istanbul, since the 1453 Turkish Invasion/Occupation, and the 1922 and 1955 Pogroms), and the 1st Country to become officially Christian (since the 4rth Century) : Cyprus, on June 2010, where he held a landmark Synod of Bishops from all over the Middle-East.


In fact, the move appeared to be more ... Russian than Mediterranean, since Cyprus is well known for its particularly close relations with Russia, where, after the 2007 (?) visit of late Russian ArchiBishop Alexis to Strasbourg's CoE's Headquarters and in Paris, pope Benedict's visit should logically follow in Russia during his successor Archibishop Cyril.


+ In his famous Regensburg University speech on "Reason and Faith", back in 2005, Benedict highlighted the late Byzantine Emperor Konstantinos Paleologos, galoping in Trapezunta and Cilicia (current Asia Minor), while in his landmark Paris 2008 open-area Mass, at "les Invalides" square, he commemorated John Chrysostomos and "Church in the rock". Cyprus' born founder of Stoicism, Philosopher Zenon, has, meanwhile, been hailed by the Pope as vital part of the Movement of Ideas which contributed, also from the Ancient Greek Civilisation, to the emergence of Christianism.


His faithful defense of Family Values, Poor and/or Persecuted Persons and Peace, criticism of some Global Financial abuses and Wars, etc. progressively makes Christian catholics a.o. more popular among proletarians and/or proletarisation-threatened Middle-Class People, particularly during this period of Economic Hardship and aggravation of internal contradictions after the Global Crisis.


Meanwhile, Benedict's close relations to Jewish thinking and appeals to Dialogue and tolerance with Muslims, are added to his notorious, systematic efforts to link Faith and Science together, (as his Brixen/Bressanone's  Historic Library's emblema : "Faith and Knowledge"),  in a way able to appeal and stimulate real Intellectuals.
One of the topical, important issues on which Benedict's catholic stand was revealed to be very close to that of Alexis the orthodox (as well as to many Evangelists, both in Europe and in the U.S., etc.) was BioEthics, which is one of the most crucial issues today for all Humanity.


It's, indeed, in his latest Encyclique "Caritas in Veritate" (7/2009) that Benedict warned People to be ready for "a particularly Crucial Battleground in today's cultural Struggle"  between Human Values and some abusive Technocratic "supremacy" chimeras, mainly on the field of Genetic and/or Brain a.o. Manipulations on Humans, from Embryos up to Adults, daring even to stand up and openly criticize current US President Barak Obama's controversial decision to obey to some Lobbies and cancel former US Presidents' George Bush and Bill Clinton's refusals to allow Public Funding for risky Genetic Manipulations of Human Embros, which may be dangerous for all Humankind.


It's "in this most delicate and critical area", i.e. in "the field of BioEthics, where the very possibility of integral Human Development is radically called into question", he had warned, pleading for "Reason and Faith" to advance together, and not alone.


It's a fact that this Brave stance was followed, shortly after, by a series of unprecedented even physical Incidents and/or Aggressions, (f.ex. breaking his wrist shortly after the Obama meeting, and throwing him down afterwards, with a threat to break bones, as for another, older Bishop who was standing besides him, etc), and by a sudden Mass Media-relayed systematic Slandering of the Church, sometimes out of trivial and/or old accusations steming from a remote Past of more than 20, 30 or even 40 Years ago (!), that he strived hard to wipe out by bringing in Reforms today, also by imposing strong sanctions to those rightfuly suspected of errors, sometimes even minors. In consequence, Honest People were inevitably surprised by the otherwise unexplained fact that such an unprecedented series of Physical and Moral Attacks was suddenly triggered shortly after the Pope dared to start becoming clearly outspoken on some key BioEthical issues notoriously linked with Big Lobbies' interests...


But Europe, hasn't it always been precisely the Continent whose intellectuals and politicians are traditionally enclined, throughout all History (from Ancient Greeks Philosophers, Rome and Jews' Diaspora, up to Alexander the Great's attempt to unite all developed Civilisations known at his times, to Marco-Polo and the Renaissance, Galileo, Columbus, the Spanish discoveries and the Portuguese trans-continental Ocean-crossing, including the Century of Enlightnement, Darwinism and Marxism, Fascism and Nazism, 1st and 2nd World Wars, as well as Human Rights' and the neo-Democratic and various Civic/Citizens' movements recently, etc), to strive to think and act from a Universal viewpoint ?

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Thus, Benedict's recent symbolic references to Family a.o. moral Values and Europe's Historic Identity, particularly during his landmark visit to Spain's unfinished majestic Modern Architecture Cathedral of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (2010), shortly before another Historically Symbolic country such as Hungary (the 1st in History to succeed to unite nearly all free European Nations under the banner of Christianism already since 1.600-1.700),  takes over EU's rotating Presidency from the beginning of 2011 with a timely thirst to evoke Europe's Identity, (See Prime Minister Victor Urban's replies to "EuroFora"'s Questions at Brussels' EU Summit 12/2010), followed by Poland (2011), before Denmark and Cyprus (2012), become more and more topical today, at the eve of the 2011 World Youth Days (also in Spain), due to be prepared by European Young People earlier next year in Strasbourg, long before the holly father's expected venue, during his Autumn 2011 official visit to Germany, also to nearby Freiburg .


- "We are Ready for all Fights", energetically replied to "EuroFora" Mgr. Aldo Giordano, when we warned about some "Cloudy" or thorny issues (some of them probably due to be provoked by certain lobbies, out of the blue), which could be in the waiting list.. But, Europe's History and Identity, Human Dignity and basic Freedoms, or protection of Humankind from modern a.o.  new risks, (etc)., seem to be sufficient  motivations, able to stimulate moral and spiritual battles at various noble fields.

- Particularly if "People have the Courage of their Convictions", added to "EuroFora" on the occasion of the crucial BioEthical issue, the Head of France's Christian catholic Church, Mgr. Vingt-Trois at that same occasion..


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"Angels Chapel'"s "secret" Light ?

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Meanwhile, during that same exceptional Mass at the majestic Saint Odile Mountainous Closter's anniversary, on a particularly snowy mi-December 2010, with the Head of France's Christian catholics, Mgr Ving Trois, and Strasbourg's ArchiBishop Mgr. Grallet, while rare but brillant Sunlight beams transperced, from times to times, the heavy, gray clouds, the focus was naturally put on "Light", calling Christians to act also in order to transmit "light" to other People who need it.


But it was also said that, most of all, it's the transformation of our own eyes' capacity to "see", in a crystal-clear way, a light, that is  of crucial importance.


A good Symbol for that point was given by the famous "Angels' Chapel" : a Tiny Room  at the Edge of the Highest peak of that Mountainous closter, inside which  most superficial, hasty Tourists usually can't see anything in the Dark, so that they are obliged to pay some Money and wait for a loudy Machine to open some Electric Bulbes which briefly splash a few Artificial beams over the Ceiling for a while, before "disappearing" all out of a sudden. Apparently, without an available coin of 1 or 2 €, nothing could be seen in the dark...


But, in fact, the reality is absolutely differend, as "EuroFora" found out : If People stay awhile in the "Dark" Room (which has a tiny semi-closed window, leaving just a few Natural light-beams enter inside), then, their eyes really "change", and start seeing, more and more clearly, one after the other, all the original Celestial Figures pictured at the Ceiling, overhead, (including a Stary Symbol close to what became, meanwhile, Europe's flag !). Thus, thanks to this gradual, Voluntary Natural Transformation, (probably facilitated also by some substances in the original Materials selected for the "Angels' Chapel"'s ceiling), indeed, simple Human eyes CAN start to "see", even in the "Dark", and for as long a time as it might be needed !

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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.

    ***

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