Buttiglione’s defense of Christian principles fuel an EU debate


British paper “The Guardian” published yesterday a collection of reactions to the effort of some congressmen of the European Union to block Catholic Italian Minister Rocco Buttiglione from serving as a Commisioner.

Reaction shows  that, after a harsh reaction against his Catholic views on homosexuality and marriage, the table seems to be turning in favor of the Italian intellectual and former Minister of European Affairs, who is also a close friend of Pope John Paul. 

The October 13 editorial of the Wall Street Journal Europe stated: "Judging from the hysterical reaction of the Socialist members of the European parliament, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Torquemada himself has arisen from his grave to usurp the European commission's justice and home affairs portfolio and reinstitute the inquisition. 'Shocking,' was how Josep Borrell, the Socialist president of the parliament described Rocco Buttiglione's statements on homosexuality and marriage.”

"Mr Buttiglione, an Italian philosophy professor, devout Catholic and friend of the Pope, became the first [European] commission appointee ever to be singled out and called unacceptable by a parliamentary committee,” pointed out the editorial.

Noting that the commission president,  José Manuel Barroso, will have a meeting on October 21 before deciding how to respond, the editorial suggests that “he carefully study the committee transcripts. The outrage about Mr Buttiglione's statements speaks volumes about his accusers' own secular extremism but says little that would suggest the philosopher is a Christian fundamentalist or unfit for the job."

Ernesto Galli della Loggia of Italian paper Corriere della Sera, October 13 wrote that "No Catholic, I believe, could ever have said he or she considered homosexuality morally acceptable or was indifferent to it. [So] what else could any Catholic faithful to the teaching of the church have said?”

He explains that the protestations of the European Parliament members “means, in practice, that, with a few exceptions, anyone who adheres to Catholicism or shows it without reticence is no longer suitable to hold a position at the top of the EU [and that] Catholic Christianity is substantially incompatible with the principles on which Europe as an institution is based.”

He writes that "the prevailing middle-class progressive thinking ... instead of political values now proclaims the values of 'rights' that are supposedly ethically superior and that find their new, shining Jerusalem in grey Brussels."

"The assessors ... have discriminated against a person on the basis of his faith and his ideas,” wrote Maurizio Blondet, of another Italian paper, Avvenire, October 13.

“But the wicked delight,” he continues, “and the open sneering that came from certain circles is even more ominous: it is almost as if it was a good joke to deprive a man of his fundamental rights.”

Blondet writes that “the fact that those sneers come from the sector that calls itself 'secular' and 'liberal' throws a dark shadow over the future of freedom in Europe: the principle of non-discrimination ought to be held dear, above all by that sector."

Reaction from Germany shows disappointment with the European Parliament’s handling of the affair. Cornelia Bolesch, of German paper Süddeutsche Zeitung, October 13, wrote: "The European parliament has failed its first practical test” and “have enmeshed themselves in playing undeserving political games.”

“The Christian Democrats want to drop the Hungarian [appointee for energy commissioner], Laszlo Kovacs, if the Socialists do not change their anti-Buttiglione line,” she writes, and predicts the outcome of the melée: “Mr Barroso cannot do anything else. He must keep Mr Buttiglione."

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