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Vatican official condemns EU 'inquisition'

Cardinal Renato Martino of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has commented on controversy surrounding pro-family remarks of EU Commissioner Rocco Buttiglione, stating his belief that there is an anti-Catholic "inquisition" in Europe,

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

The BBC says 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 (pictured) said on Sunday he was the victim of a "hate campaign". The dispute 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".

Vatican condemns EU 'inquisition' (BBC 18/10/04)

Vatican prelate sees powerful anti-Christian lobby (Catholic World News 18/10/04)
Cardinal Martino: powerful lobbies against the Pope's voice ( 18/10/04)
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
The EU's philosopher-commissioner (BBC 5/10/04)

19 Oct 2004