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Vatican condemns EU 'inquisition'

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Vatican condemns EU 'inquisition'

A senior Vatican cardinal says there is an anti-Catholic "inquisition" in Europe, evidenced in the controversy over the remarks of Rocco Buttiglione.

"It is a lay inquisition but it is so nasty," Cardinal Renato Martino told the news agency Reuters.

Mr Buttiglione's comments on marriage and women prompted a committee of the European Parliament to vote against his candidacy as EU commissioner.

Mr Buttiglione said on Sunday he was the victim of a "hate campaign".

The row comes ahead of a crucial parliamentary vote on 27 October on whether to accept the proposed new EU Commission.


During a confirmation hearing last week, Mr Buttiglione said he regarded homosexuality a "sin", and that marriage existed to allow women to have children and the protection of a male.

On Friday Mr Buttiglione was reported as having said single mothers were not very good people. He later said he had been quoted out of context.

The political science professor, considered to be one of the closest friends and counsellors of Pope John Paul II, labelled this campaign an "inquisition".

This word was echoed by Cardinal Martino, the head of the Vatican's Council for Justice and Peace, in his interview with Reuters on Monday.

"It looks like a new inquisition," he said.

He said there was a "new anti-Catholicism" in which "you can freely insult Catholics and nobody will tell you anything".

The row over Mr Buttiglione's appointment has made life difficult for incoming Commission President Jose Barroso, who is tasked with putting together a new executive team.

Barroso tight-lipped

In the past Mr Barroso has played down Mr Buttiglione's remarks.

But on Monday Mr Barroso's spokeswoman refused explicitly to endorse the candidacy of Mr Buttiglione, saying only that Mr Barroso remained confident that the EU Parliament would endorse his proposed team at the 27 October vote.

Socialist MEPs - who are 200 of the 731-member Parliament - have already threatened to use their power of veto if Mr Buttiglione's portfolio is not reduced.

At present, many of the duties of the role relate to civil liberties.

The assembly has no right to veto individual members of the Commission. It can only decide to veto the whole team.

Mr Barroso will meet EU Parliament leaders for talks on the proposed make-up of the new Commission on Thursday.

Story from BBC NEWS:


This has bugger all to do with Catholics, this is due to Buttiglione being a fascist

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Inquisition? laugh.gif

There is an old saying about a pot and a kettle...


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EU chief moves to shore up team

The new head of the European Commission has moved to appease MEPs who are threatening to veto his team over a commissioner's anti-gay remarks.

Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said he would personally take charge of human rights issues and cases of discrimination.

The controversial nominee for justice commissioner, Italy's Rocco Buttiglione, will not decide on them.

Socialist MEPs and their allies are against Mr Buttiglione's appointment.

Mr Buttiglione, a devout Catholic conservative close to the Vatican, voiced regret on Thursday over damaging comments he made about homosexuals and women two weeks ago.

"I deeply regret the difficulties and problems that have arisen", he said in a letter to Mr Barroso.


During his confirmation hearing, Mr Buttiglione said he regarded homosexuality as a "sin" and that marriage existed to allow women to have children and the protection of a male.

He was also reported as having said single mothers were not very good people.

In the letter, Mr Buttiglione said he still planned to take up the post but offered to step aside whenever "a conflict might arise between my conscience and my duty as commissioner".

MEPs have threatened to veto the whole 25-member Commission over the row, when they vote next Wednesday. They do not have the power to reject commissioners individually.

The leader of the powerful Socialist group, Martin Schulz, rejected the compromise, saying "this situation remains unacceptable".

His group was joined by the Greens, Communists and Independents.

Mr Barroso remained confident on Thursday, speaking after heated questioning by top MEPs.

"I'm very confident that we will get the support of a clear majority" in the EU assembly, he said.

Pressure on Barroso

Mr Barroso said he appreciated "the enormous importance parliament attaches to fundamental rights" and pledged to set up a panel of commissioners "to look into questions of fundamental rights and non-discrimination".

"I am taking personal charge of co-ordinating our actions in this area," he said.

"The new commission will be absolutely opposed to any kind of discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender, or religious beliefs."

In his letter to Mr Barroso, quoted by Reuters, Mr Buttiglione said "I did not intend in any way to offend the feelings of anybody".

His post would normally entail supervision of discrimination issues, including the rights of women and gays.

The 268-strong conservative European People's Party - the largest in parliament - firmly backs Mr Buttiglione.

But nearly half of all MEPs are believed to be against the Barroso commission if Mr Buttiglione is allowed to stay in his job - the 200-strong Socialists supported by the Greens, eurosceptics and other leftists.

The outcome could depend on the assembly's Liberal group, the third largest. They are seen as split on whether to accept Mr Buttiglione as justice commissioner.

MEPs have also criticised other nominees, including Laszlo Kovacs, Hungary's former foreign minister who is set to serve as energy commissioner; Dutch businesswoman Neelie Kroes, nominated as competition commissioner; Denmark's Mariann Fischer-Boel, picked for farm commissioner; and Latvia's Igrida Udre, nominated for taxation commissioner.

Story from BBC NEWS:


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