Secularists Attempt to Ban Catholic Services from European Parliament

Country: European Institutions (EU, ECHR,

Date of incident: February 28, 2010

A group of socialists, communists, liberals and greens, headed by Dutch liberal Sophie in’t Veld and German green Franziska Brantner seek to ban the Catholic Service which has been in place in Strasbourg for 11 years.

The monthly service was instituted by Otto von Habsburg in coordination with then Vatican secretary of state Cardinal Sodano. In a letter of protest, in’t Veld argues that the presence of a cross in the prayer room of the European Parliament violated the neutral character of the room. She also questions the accreditation of a priest to the Parliament. Member of the European Parliament Bernd Posselt responds that this is an aggressive attempt to force Christianity out of public life. “80% of European citizens are Christians, 65% Catholics. The prayer and meditation room is being used once a month for half an hour by Catholics, in compliance with the rules of the Parliament…. A majority should have the same rights as minorities!” After mass, the cross and liturgical items are being stored away, he continues and concludes that in’t Veld’s protest reminds him of totalitarian practices in the East before 1989. Source: Paneuropa-intern, March 2010