Vatican City (AsiaNews) -- Powerful cultural, economic and political lobbies, "inspired mainly by anti-Christian prejudices", are working against, when not actually succeeding in drowning out, the Pope's voice. Such lobbies "on one hand say that Church efforts in favour of human rights can be particularly enriching for announcing and witnessing God's love for every person, but on the other hand show that such rights are more and more confined within treacherous cultural boundaries".
It is the first time that, in such an explicit manner, the Vatican has launched its "J'accuse" against all those vested interests -- whether structured or not -- that, mainly in the West, but also in places that follow western cultural models, are struggling to assert the irrelevance of Christian thought. The occasion for a statement by Cardinal Martino (former Nuncio to the UN) was the presentation at the Vatican of a collection of Pope John Paul II's diplomatic speeches gathered in a book by Monsignor André Dupuy, Nuncio in Venezuela.
"Regrettably" said the Cardinal after having illustrated the Pope's tireless commitment to defending human rights, beginning with the fundamental right to life, "the voices of the Pope and the Catholic Church are little heeded today, especially in the continental circles of rich and well-off countries -- when, that is, these voices are not deliberately made to disappear, by drowning them out with the uproar and noise orchestrated by powerful cultural, economic and political lobbies that are inspired mainly by anti-Christian prejudices. It is enough to think of how nonchalantly and blithely, yet tenaciously, these lobbies promote confusion over the role of gender identity, mock marriage between a man and a women, and take aim against life itself which is made the object of absurd forms of experimentation. Who ends up in the defendant's dock of these lobbies, these new holy inquisitions full of money and arrogance? The Catholic Church and Christians mainly, against whom "anything goes" -- from intimidation to public contempt, from discrimination to cultural outcasting -- as long as they are silenced. Yet, the Church, with the force of its God-given strength and its bimillenial experience, will continue to announce the Gospel of salvation, preaching the full truth of man against all forms of relativism and obscurantism of post-modern Enlightenment.
The fact is that, in the Church's thinking, rights do not derive from "individualistic subjectivism", as laicist culture would have it, but from "an objective truth: the transcendental dignity of the person. Furthermore, such rights are embraced by natural law from which they draw their force, and therefore they also implicate a duty, outside of which rights become an arbitrary matter.
And even if Cardinal Martino preferred not to explain, when asked by journalists, to what "holy inquisitions" he was referring, these very questions became examples of his thinking. So, he was asked about the Spanish government's proposals on gay couples and also about the case involving Italian MP Rocco Buttiglione, whose candidacy as EU commissioner was voted against by the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Commission, because of his Catholic views. Concerning Buttiglione, the Cardinal said that the Church is "worried" and that, given that the "European Parliament is made up of Catholics, Christians and members of other religions, I would like to hear about their experiences as well". On the basis of his experience at the United Nations, Martino also tied "the attempt to oust the Holy See from the United Nations" to the fact that the "Holy See has always defended life and fought against abortion". Again on the topic of the UN, he stated that reform is nevertheless "necessary", given that the Security Council is a product of the 1960s, while today the UN is made up of 191 states, but that it is not up to the Vatican to enter into the practical considerations of UN reform.
Asked, in conclusion, if the Vatican had had a role in freeing Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, the two Italian relief workers who had been taken hostage in Iraq, Monsignor Pietro Parolin, Under-Secretary for Relations with States, implicitly confirmed such a role, saying that "in all the events of the Iraqi conflict, the Holy See has worked, especially in the case of hostage-takings and abductions, and has given its support, mainly through the local Church and its Nuncio, to find solutions." (FP)