Following an invitation made by President Martin Schulz, Pope Francis is going to honour the European Paliament in Strasbourg with a visit next Tuesday, 25 November.
As had to be expected, the militantely atheist fringe of the Parliament could not let this occasion pass without drawing attention to itself. Here is the copy of an e-mail that two MEPs Virginie Rozière (radical left from France) and Sophie in ‘t Veld (ALDE/Netherlands – picture) have sent to their colleagues, erecting a funny monument of their own bigotry:
Two out of more than 700 are not many, so there is every reason to believe that this letter, rather than giving expression to a broad sentiment among MEPs, serves rather the purpose of getting media attention for two rather marginal figures. Be it nevertheless observed that it also documents the pitiable poverty in spirit of those who wrote it. So, in order to respond to this latter-day inquisition, let us just make the following few points:
First of all, the quotation drawn from the speech of John Paul II, far from evidencing “a refusal to accept separation of church and state”, in actual fact gives full support to such a separation: it simply points out that for a democracy to remain healthy, the powers of politicians cannot be unlimited. This is a good antidote against totalitarianism. By contrast, the suggestion that the laws adopted by politicians (democratic or not) must in any case supersede the individual conscience is clearly totalitarian.
Secondly, it is hard to understand why one should expect the Pope (or, for that matter, anyone who is invited to speak to the European Parliament) to “truly represent all views”. Do Mrs. Rozière or Mrs. in ‘t Veld seriously believe that their own interventions in parliamentary debates “represent all views”, and be it only those of the people living in their respective electoral circumscriptions? This would be quite a strange assumption. Normally, one would expect that a Communist (like Mrs. Rozières) will express communist views, a Liberal (like Mrs. In ‘t Veld) will express liberal views, and the Pope maybe … er … Catholic ones?
So, the question is: should the Pope not be allowed to be Catholic? Or should Catholics not be allowed to speak to the Parliament? Or should nobody be allowed to address the Parliament with views that might not be shared by everyone present? But if that is the view of the two self-described “secularists”, why do they not express it also at other occasions – for example when Mr. Thomas Neuwirth (better known under his pseudonym “Conchita Wurst”) was allowed to address the Parliament a few weeks ago? Do Mrs. Rozière or Mrs. In ‘t Veld really believe that he was “representing all views”?
It thus appears that the two ladies got it wrong about pluralism. Pluralism means that all have the right to express themselves, not that everybody must think and say the same. It’s as simple as this – and if Mrs. Rozière or Mrs. in ‘t Veld don’t want to listen, there is nobody to force them. Just leave the room silently.
Anyway, given that this appears to be a cheap PR-stunt, we have good advice for the two embittered “Secularists”: if you think your solemnly silly letter hasn’t afforded you enough media attention, just try this: