Pöttering and Barroso: Lisbon Treaty strengthens the role of churches
But Brussels has also played the religion card in an effort to persuade the Irish that the Lisbon Treaty really is holy writ. They have wheeled out the two biggest guns to speak ex cathedra: European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and President of the ‘European Parliament’ Hans-Gert Pöttering said that ‘securing a stronger consultative role for European religions in EU policy making is another good reason to support the Lisbon Treaty’.
Cranmer shall set their vapid assertion aside, for ‘another’ was not contextualised with the first ‘good reason’, though the Irish may be persuaded it is linked to farming subsidies. But there is a slight tone of blackmail in this statement, for it is manifestly aimed at the Roman Catholic Church which hitherto has enjoyed privileged access at the highest levels of the EU’s organs of government. Apparently, ‘such discussions in the future could not be guaranteed without the full ratification of the Lisbon Treaty’.
You see, dialogue between European religious leaders and the EU institutions is carried out on the ‘basis of good will’ rather than because of a legal obligation. So President Pöttering declaims: ‘If the Lisbon Treaty is not ratified, with the new leaderships in the commission and the parliament, they could abolish this dialogue because legally it's not binding.’
A little spiteful and petty, don’t you think? President Pöttering insists that it is the ‘responsibility of Ireland’ to ensure the Treaty comes into effect, and if it does not, all privileges for the Roman Catholic Church shall be withdrawn.
Of course it is not quite couched in this language; they refer to it as ‘inter-faith religious dialogue’. But there are no Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist or Jedi Knight groups which have access to the inner sanctum of the EU, and the only Christian denomination to be so honoured (and financially subsidisd) is the Roman Catholic Church.
President Barroso said: "One of the purposes of these meetings is to highlight how it is important in Europe to keep freedom of religion (and) also the freedom not to have a religion. President Pöttering added that the Lisbon Treaty ‘is the first time ever that our churches and our religious communities are included in the law of the European union’.
It is a curious assertion, given the EU’s pathological secularism and its distinctly anti-Christian agenda, that the two most powerful EU fonctionnaires have the gall to state that the Lisbon Treaty is the only guarantee of keeping God at the heart of ever closer union. Given that the preamble of the ‘Constitution for Europe’ specifically excluded all reference to God and Christianity – preferring instead to leap from the civilisations of Greece and Rome straight to the values of the Enlightenment – there is very little that is overtly expressed in the Treaty which should persuade Ireland’s Roman Catholics that the Pöttering/Barroso assurances are worth anything at all.
But the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, who attended the meeting, has been bought lock, stock and barrel. He is now busy persuading his bishops and priests to persuade the faithful that ‘Ireland needs Europe but also Europe needs Ireland’, and that ‘Europe needs the diversity of its smaller nations and different cultures’.
The Archbishop believes the Irish rejection of Lisbon was because of a ‘lack of understanding by Irish citizens ahead of the last year's referendum’, and he believes that a new debate would provide ‘greater clarity...on a number of issues that were of concern to the Irish electorate’.
Isn’t EU democracy a wonderful thing? When the demos speaks, they are crushed with the divine kratos. And quite why the Roman Catholic Church is prepared to advance the EU’s cause – when Rocco Buttiglione’s orthodox Catholicism was deemed antithetical to its ‘secular Enlightenment values’ – is truly a mystery.