Grass roots Catholic movements have signed a common document urging a new direction for the European Union based not on an obsession with recognising its religious history, but on a new vision of justice.
The paper has been launched to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the Treaty of Rome.
The document urges that the EU should adopt a different role in the future, particularly in respect to the relationships between the North and the South of the world. It also urges that its independence from the USA be affirmed, and that it pursues an active policy of peace and mediation in the world.
As part of these aims, a reduction in military expenditure is urged along with an end to exports of commercial arms from the EU, and more support for nonviolent actions for prevention, mediation and control of conflicts.
The text suggests that the EU should pursue, with greater determination, basic social rights, and a more welcoming policy for immigrants.
In the document the Catholic grass root movements do not support the pronouncements of Catholic Bishops which urge recognition in the to institutional text of Europe references to Europe's "Christian roots".
"The Word of God to be heard does not require to be recognised or legislated for by the civil authorities and should be proposed by a poor Church and a ministry of service without charge" a statement said.
In an apparent direct rebuttal to the Catholic hierarchy which has recently urged that Catholics seek to impose a moral blueprint through legislation, the statement continues; The catholic movement's signatories consider also that the relationships between the State and the Catholic Church must be inspired by the Gaudium et Spes, constitution of Vatican II, which in charter 76 indicates that the church 'does not place her hopes in privileges offered by the civil authorities but, on the contrary, renounces certain rights legitimately acquired, where it could be considered that their use could place in doubt the sincerity of her testimony'.
You can read an English translation of the document (which is translated into seven languages) here: