The fact that Camillo Puini is a Cardinal of the Catholic Church and reported to be close to Pope John Paul II does not disqualify him from commenting on the proposed Charter of Human Rights of the European Union.
So, he may be voicing the thinking of the Catholic Church. What is wrong with that?
The influence of Christianity on European culture and history, for better or worse, is an established fact. So is the fact that Christian ethics have influenced the entire concept of human rights. Whether the European leaders meeting in Nice this week accept this or not is up to them.
Mr Fleming's comment on Cardinal Ratzinger's dismissive attitude towards the Church of England was discussed by me in a letter to him dated the 18th of October, 2000 commenting on his column Looking Around dated the 12th of September, 2000. As he brings this matter up again, I'll summarize my thinking on this.
The Catholic Church and the Church of England (Anglican Church) have disagreements which are no secret. Among these are that the Catholic Church says that Anglican Bishops cannot claim direct succession from the Apostles. The Anglican Church believes that the Queen of England is more qualified to head the Christian Church in England and in other countries where the Anglican Church has established itself. Is this not a dismissive attitude by the Anglican Church against the Catholic Church?
Mr Fleming expressed concern that Cardinal Ratzinger's comments on the lack of apostolic succession of Anglican bishops expressed in an internal Catholic document would interfere with the coming visit of the Queen of England to Rome and I said that this would not happen as both the Pope and the Queen were sensible people who would handle this visit in the proper manner.
Well, the Queen visited the Pope and there were no incidents at all during this visit.
As the differences between these two Christian churches will not be resolved in the near future, both of them are trying to work together on matters they do agree on which are many more than those they disagree on, for the common good, and as far as I know they are quite successful at it.
Very truly yours