FaithThu Jan 13, 2011 - 3:18 pm EST
EU diary includes Muslim, Hindu, Jewish festivities, but no Christmas or Easter
FRANCE, January 13, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The European Commission has been attacked this week for its production of over three million copies of a diary, called Agenda Europa, which neglects to mention Christmas or any other Christian holiday.
The diary includes references to Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Jewish and Chinese festivities, as well as to May 9 - Europe Day. However, there is no mention of Christmas or Easter.
The diary section dated December 25 is blank, while the bottom of the page reads the secular message: “A true friend is someone who shares your concerns and will double your joy,” London’s Telegraph reports.
“Are we ashamed of our Christian identity?” France’s Minister of European Affairs Laurent Wauquiez asked at a press briefing. “Are we ashamed that the Europe of church towers was the base of our European identity?”
A commission spokesman in Brussels, Frederic Vincent, said the “blunder” would not be repeated in future editions. “We’re sorry about it, and we’ll correct that in next edition. Religious holidays may not be mentioned at all to avoid any controversy,” Vincent said, the Telegraph reports.
Johanna Touzel, the spokesman for the Catholic Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community, said the absence of Christian festivals is “just astonishing”.
“Christmas and Easter are important feasts for hundreds of millions of Christians and Europeans. It is a strange omission. I hope it was not intentional,” she said.
Just earlier this week, Pope Benedict XVI had decried the habit of secular governments of banning recognition of Christian religious holidays out of fear of “offending” religious minorities, in an address to the assembled diplomatic corps of the Vatican.
He also criticized an increasing “tendency to consider religion, all religion, as something insignificant, alien or even destabilizing to modern society.” He warned that there are attempts “to prevent it from having any influence on the life of society.”