In medicine, one speaks of a “warning event” to indicate facts that mark the looming danger of an epidemic or other pathological disorders. The rejection by a European Parliament committee of Rocco Buttiglione as the Italian candidate for the role of Commissioner seems to be one of these events. Dr Buttiglione, presenting himself to take office as Commissioner of Justice and Immigration, said that he is a Catholic, and coherent with this, is against gay marriage and an idea of femininity that does not contemplate the natural role as mother of a family. He also said that these are his thoughts, and that he will uphold them, conscious and respectful of the possibility that the European Parliament may not welcome them. Notwithstanding this latter declaration, he was voted down.
Other significantly alarming events are: in Toulon, a priest was prohibited from wearing his cassock because it was “ostentation” of religious symbols; in Sweden, a Protestant pastor was found guilty of discrimination for declaring that he was against gay marriage; in Baden Wuerttemberg, the regional tribunal ruled that the veil worn by nuns is the same as that worn by Muslim women, and thus prohibited wearing either while teaching at school; not to mention that form of creeping anti-Semitism by which Jews are good only when they are not Israelis or religious.
A Europe that rejects its Judeo-Christian roots is rootless and dangerous. It is well known that those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it, even in its worst aspects, those most murderous to freedom. It is not enough that a stand is taken only by the political part to which Professor Buttiglione belongs, or by the religious communities hurt by the above-mentioned actions. Even those who do not agree with these groups should express themselves. We have reached the point at which, with the excuse of defending everyone’s possibility to profess his own relative truth, a cultural totalitarianism is being introduced that denies freedom of conscience, thought, and opinion. What a sorry end for the motto of the French Revolution, “I don’t agree with your ideas, but I will fight so that you can express them!” Catholics in particular, whatever their political opinion may be, cannot accept being reduced to a silence that by now risks being not only public, but private as well.
CL Press Office
Milan, October 13, 2004