Bishops publish pastoral reflection ‘Fostering a Community of Values’ on the occasion of the referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon

29 May 2008

29 May 2008

Bishops publish pastoral reflection ‘Fostering a Community of Values’ on the occasion of the referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain” (Ps 127:1)


On behalf of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin and Vice-President of the Conference, today [29 May 2008] published a pastoral reflection on the Lisbon Treaty: Fostering a Community of Values at a press conference in the Mater Dei Institute, Dublin. Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop of Meath and Rev Dr Eoin Cassidy, Head of the Department of Philosophy, School of Humanities, Mater Dei Institute, also attended the launch. 

Speaking at the launch Archbishop Martin said, “The Bishops’ Conference welcomes this opportunity to comment, by way of a pastoral reflection, on the Treaty of Lisbon. Our pastoral reflection is called Fostering a Community of Values and it is available now on the  Bishops’ website for all to read. For anyone requiring a hard copy, it is also available from the Catholic Communications Office in Maynooth.”

The interrelated themes addressed by Fostering a Community of Values are:

1. Promoting Active Citizenship
2. Europe: A Community of Values
3. Europe’s Christian Heritage
4. What kind of Europe do we want for our children?
5. Edith Stein (St Theresa Benedicta of the Cross): Co-Patroness of Europe

In summary Fostering a Community of Values reflects the following: 

  • We all have a responsibility to inform ourselves about the Lisbon Treaty and to vote.
  • In deciding how to vote, recognition needs to be given to the distinctive roles of politics and religion and the legitimate autonomy of the political order.
  • Those who seek to influence the outcome of the referendum either by offering misleading or patently incorrect advice or by introducing extraneous factors into the debate, ought to be condemned.
  • The Lisbon Treaty referendum should not be used to register a protest vote.
  • The Lisbon Treaty referendum should be about values: a community that is founded purely on economic self interest will not last. Europe is a civilization and at all levels needs to promote an ethic of global solidarity.
  • While acknowledging the Christian humanist values at the heart of the Treaty, it is regrettable that there is no explicit recognition of the Christian heritage of Europe in the Treaty.
  • It is a challenge to all of us today to discern how best we can contribute to a new and enlarged Europe based on shared values of which future generations will be proud. Challenges to this common vision will emerge in Ireland and from within the structures of the EU.
  • The convictions, the vigilance and the responsible engagement of citizens will always be important to ensure that Europe continues to be built, as the late Pope John Paul II put it, “on the basis of authentic values, which are founded on the universal moral law written on the heart of every person.”


The Bishops’ publication also cites Pope Benedict XVI’s recent remarks on Europe’s Christian roots: The “European home”, as we readily refer to the community of this continent, will be a good place to live for everyone only if it is built on a solid cultural and moral foundation of common values drawn from our history and our traditions. Europe cannot and must not deny her Christian roots. These represent a dynamic component of our civilization as we move forward into the third millennium (Address of Pope Benedict XVI – Meeting with the Authorities and the diplomatic corps. Vienna 7 September 2007).


For further information please contact:
Martin Long, Director of the Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth, 086 1727678