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European Catholics Oppose Appointment of Rocco Buttiglione

October 19, 2004

More than 140 prominent Catholics and Catholic organisations speak out against Buttiglione’s proposed appointment as Commissioner for Freedom, Security and Justice.

FRANCE—Today more than 140 prominent Catholic leaders and organisations submitted a letter to European Parliament president Josep Borrell Fontelles in protest against the appointment of Rocco Buttiglione as Commissioner for Freedom, Security and Justice.

“As European Catholics we disagree with Rocco Buttiglione’s positions on the family, on homosexuals, on women, as well as on his promotion of camps for asylum seekers at the borders of the EU,” stated the letter. “His positions on these issues do not reflect mainstream Catholic attitudes.”

The signers addressed Dr. Buttiglione’s dismal record on women’s rights and the civil rights of homosexuals and as a Minister of European Affairs for Italy. They also objected to his appointment on the basis that he has not upheld the EU principle of non-discrimination in his own country.

While some supporters of Dr. Buttiglione tried to depict the opposition to his appointment as “anti-Catholic,” Catholic leaders and lay groups laid that argument aside, stating that, as Catholics, they disagreed with any suggestion that EU institutions are anti-Catholic.

“We strongly disagree with this false complaint of ‘anti-Catholicism,’” the letter stated. “It is not because of his affiliation to the Catholic church that he is opposed but because his political record does not demonstrate that he has the qualifications to be a Commissioner who will promote justice and civil rights in the European Union.”

“Dr. Buttiglione blames the low birth rate in Europe on women with careers. He has called homosexuality a sin. He believes that AIDS is a ‘divine punishment for homosexuality and drug
use,’” said Elfriede Harth, the European representative of Catholics for a Free Choice. “Our opposition to this appointment is based on Dr. Buttiglione’s lack of credentials and his egregious record of discriminatory remarks and actions. It’s not anti-Catholicism. It’s anti-bigotry.”

Catholics for a Free Choice has developed a fact sheet on Dr. Buttiglione as part of its “Conservative Catholic Influence in Europe” series.

The European Network Church on the Move and the progressive German Catholic organization, Initiative Kirche von unten, have also issued statements opposing Dr. Buttiglione’s appointment.

–statement ends–