"A thousand streams and groves": comments on Dr. Gierycz's paper "United in diversity"
Gierycz argues provocatively in his paper that the identity of the European Union as reflected in its motto, “United in Diversity,” has been “derived” from the model offered by the Roman Catholic Church. His argument, however, is flawed in a number of key respects. Among other things, he ignores entirely the fact that the Catholic Church did not invent the wheel in this respect but modeled itself in turn on the earlier example of the Roman Empire. The impression he leaves of the ways in which the Church went about imposing its version of “unity in diversity” on the local cultures over which it came to exercise dominion, moreover, is highly misleading. A third problem is that he treats the terms “Catholic Church” and “Christian thought” as if they were interchangeable when their references are obviously not necessarily identical. There are also deep problems with Gierycz’s attempt to establish that Church–based moral norms are superior to those reflected in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights because, as he seeks to convince us, the former are grounded on the “rock” of “absolute” values while the latter are built upon the “sand” of shifting sociological opinion. These flaws diminish the value of what could have been an important contribution to our understanding of the extent to which the European Union should look to the experience of the Church in seeking to establish its own identity as a supranational institution “united in diversity.”