- Rocco Buttiglione Admits Inability to Carry Out Responsibilities
of Proposed Appointment as Commissioner for Freedom, Security and
- Statement of Frances Kissling, President, Catholics for a Free
Rocco Buttiglione, the controversial Italian nominee for
Commissioner for Freedom, Security and Justice at the European
Parliament, issued a public "mea culpa" last week in which he
promised "to be exonerated from the execution of a particular act and
to be substituted in it" in the event that a conflict arose between
his personal views and his duties as a commissioner.
Dr. Buttiglione's public admission that he will not be able to
fulfill his responsibilities and obligations to the people and
nations of the European Union should make it clear that his candidacy
for Commissioner for Freedom, Security and Justice is inappropriate.
Dr. Buttiglione has confirmed that as a commissioner, he will need to
recuse himself repeatedly on critical matters pertaining to
discrimination and human rights. This will apply to matters related
to the rights of women, gays and lesbians, single parents and
immigrants, as well as issues pertaining to employment protection,
contraception and reproductive freedom and HIV/AIDS.
It is customary in political appointments for candidates to
acknowledge the potential for periodic recusals in
conflict-of-interest cases; however, when there is certainty that
there will be consistent recusals on issues that are fundamental to a
position's scope, the candidacy should be withdrawn.
Europeans deserve commissioners that are fair, just and capable of
administering the law in a manner that advances the public good. The
European Parliament does not need a part-time commissioner whose
official duties would be compromised by his personal inability to
meet standards of fairness and non-discrimination.
Some, including Dr. Buttiglione, have claimed that opposition to
his candidacy is fueled by anti-Catholicism. Nothing could be further
from the truth. There should never be a religious test for public
office. Dr. Buttiglione is disqualified from serving in this post by
his positions, which are discriminatory and offensive. His positions
are not dictated by Catholic teaching; rather they are contrary to
the core of Catholic values and public opinion, which embraces
respect for all and a commitment to equality and justice,
characteristics that are found in the many Catholics who serve in
European governments and in the EU.
Members of the European Parliament should reject Dr. Buttiglione's
Catholics for a Free Choice has developed a fact sheet on Dr.
Buttiglione as part of its "Conservative Catholic Influence in
Europe" series. (Available at
Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC) is a non-governmental
organisation with special consultative status with the Economic and
Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations. CFFC is accredited as
an NGO with the European Parliament and is part of the Catholic
international church reform movement, International Movement -- We
Are Church, and the European Network, Church on the Move. CFFC shapes
and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on
justice, reflect a commitment to women's well-being and respect and
affirm the moral capacity of women and men to make sound decisions
about their lives. Through discourse, education and advocacy, CFFC
works in the United States and internationally to infuse these values
into public policy, community life, feminist analysis and Catholic
social thinking and teaching.
Web site: http://www.cath4choice.org
ots Originaltext: Catholics for a Free Choice
Im Internet recherchierbar: http://www.newsaktuell.ch
In France, Elfriede Harth, +33-1-39-02-7890 or in US, Michelle
Ringuette, +1-202-986-6093 or +1-202-550-1321, both of Catholics for
a Free Choice