Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pope Francis Addresses European Parliament and Council of Europe

Pope Francis yesterday delivered a lengthy address (full text) to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. As reported by Vatican Radio, the Pope spoke of the importance of Christian values to Europe. He said in part:
Today, the promotion of human rights is central to the commitment of the European Union to advance the dignity of the person, both within the Union and in its relations with other countries....
At the same time, however, care must be taken not to fall into certain errors which can arise from a misunderstanding of the concept of human rights and from its misuse.  Today there is a tendency to claim ever broader individual rights; underlying this is a conception of the human person as detached from all social and anthropological contexts....  The equally essential and complementary concept of duty no longer seems to be linked to such a concept of rights. ....
To our dismay we see technical and economic questions dominating political debate, to the detriment of genuine concern for human beings. Men and women risk being reduced to mere cogs in a machine that treats them as items of consumption to be exploited, with the result that – as is so tragically apparent – whenever a human life no longer proves useful for that machine, it is discarded with few qualms, as in the case of the terminally ill, the elderly who are abandoned and uncared for, and children who are killed in the womb.
Later yesterday, the Pope gave a second address to the Council of Europe. (Full text.) As reported by Vatican Radio, his talk addressed many of the challenges facing Europe today.

A day before the Pope's visit, the radical feminist group FEMEN staged a protest in the Strasbourg Cathedral. According to FEMEN's webiste:
Today, the day before Pope's venue, FEMEN sextremists climbed the altar in Strasbourg Cathedral and installed a European flag as a symbol of new union between European political power and Catholic Church with it's Vatican. Symbolically, the protest took place in the only region of France where the state and church are not separated by law, Alsace region. The activist was carring a slogan "Antisecular Europe" on her chest to denounce the betrayer of secular ideas by the EU Parliament that invited the Pope.
Lifesite News reports on the topless demonstration.