Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited
The Conscience of Europe
The Conscience of Europe
John Coleman (Ed.)Council of Europe Publishing1999
Keywords: Europe, Council of Europe
This publication, a collection of essays and articles, has been put together to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Council of Europe. The contributors, from diverse cultures and faiths, have produced a fascinating backdrop to the underlying values, principles and prerogatives of the Council.
The book provides the historical background of the launch of the Council, with particularly interesting inputs by Peter Smithers on Britain and Europe in the post-war period and by Barney Milligan on Europe at the collapse of Communism. The section which explores the aims and ideals for Europe contains several outstanding contributions from differing viewpoints, penned by such eminent thinkers as VÄclav Haval, President of Republic, George Carey, the current Archbishop of Canterbury, and the late Karekin I, Catholicos who was the Supreme Patriarch of all Armenians. Moreover, Diana Schumacher presented ten commandments for Europe's renaissance, based on both sustainability and environmental responsibility. A relevant focus emanates from Ziauddin Sardar, cultural critic and editor of Futures, who examines the issue of the European Muslims with a European identity, emphasising that European Muslims can be constructive and positive agents in making a plural society a reality.
John Coleman is to be commended both on his prolific contributions and his professionalism as editor. In the introduction, his thought-provoking vision of Europe looks at the underlying morals that need to be addressed. In his clear and stimulating epilogue, he skilfully analyses the direction towards which the continent of Europe, in association with the Council of Europe, should be heading in the name of humanity and civilisation, these much lacking qualities in most of the twentieth century.
A most absorbing aspect of the book is the founding in the nine appendices. These appertain to extracts that represent personal views of philosophising sages, such as Cardinal Franz Konig, James Froude from an address given in 1869, the late Sir John Biggs-Davison and Peter Unwin.
Taken as a whole, the publication is inevitably a compelling patchwork that touches the moral heart of Europe. Undoubtedly, it will make fascinating reading for all those who are interested in putting the European debate into its ethical perspective. It will be of interest to politicians, theologians, academics and those who are genuinely concerned with the understanding and the building of a Europe, in the new millennium, that should be a better place than it has been in recent decades.
Review by Lorice Stainer (Mrs)Ethical Dimensions