European Commission: Catholics Need Not Apply

Discrepancies Noted in Anti-Discrimination Politics

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BRUSSELS, Belgium, JAN. 11, 2010 (Zenit.org).- As members of the European Commission are being chosen for a new term, there is concern that one candidate in particular, Viviane Reding, could be rejected solely for being Catholic.  



Giorgio Salina, president of the Association of the Europe Foundation, told ZENIT that despite Reding's qualifications, there is one impediment that may prevent her from serving in a new position on the commission: "She is a Catholic!"

Born in Luxembourg, Reding is currently finishing her term as European Commissioner for Information Society and Media. She also served as Commissioner for Education and Culture under the presidency of Romano Prodi from 1999 to 2004.

Now she is a candidate to become Commissioner of Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, but she may face rejection due to her religious background, said Salina.

He stated that "a genuine attack is being planned very similar to the one organized against Rocco Buttiglione, because he is also a Catholic."

The Italian politician was rejected as Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security during his 2004 parliamentary confirmation hearing because he defended a traditional definition of marriage and took a stance against promoting homosexuality.

Reding is due to appear before the European Parliament on Tuesday, but Salina expressed his concern that the hearing will not be just.

"A discriminatory aggression is being planned," he said, led by Sophie in t' Veld of the Alliance of Democrats and Liberals for Europe, honorary member of the U.K. National Secular Society and a vice president of the Gay and Lesbian Intergroup of the European Parliament.

Salina stated that there are others mobilizing against Reding, including Miguel Angel Martínez Martínez and Johannes Swoboda of the Party of European Socialists, and Rebecca Harms of the European Greens.

Salina noted that despite their actions against the Catholic candidate, all of these politicians are the ones who "talk about the struggle against discrimination."