TORONTO - A new religion - the sexualization of civic and human rights and obligations - appears to be clouding people’s judgement everywhere, eroding the concept of moderation and suffocating freedoms of thought and expression which are at the heart of democratic structures and contractual institutions.
This not so new religion focused on “love” – defined any sex act - has the aura of disrupting the natural order of things and of challenging “the constitutionality” in relationships. The irony is probably lost on its zealots who look for new ways to disrupt the accommodations with Life that the vast Majority in our society advocates… And to silence anyone who may think differently.
In 2013, the European Court of Human Rights, in a celebrated case involving, of all things, satirical impertinence, found (under article 10 ECHR) against any interference with any individual’s right to free speech.
In 2020, in Poland, following a free election won by a social conservative President, zealots appealed to the European parliament to punish Poland by withholding financial transfers until “poles learned their lesson”. In 2021, last week, the governing body of the UEFA European soccer tournament told the same group that, NO, the stadiums would not be coloured in rainbows; the tournament is about soccer, not their sexual preferences or identities.
Not to be outdone, Italian Parliamentarian Alessandro Zan introduced a Bill in the House of Representatives that would have the effect of labelling Catholic doctrine as homophobic, transphobic and therefore against the law. Zan and his supporters say they are merely protecting women, the disabled and other minorities against abusers.
Anti-clericalism in Italy has a long history. So does philosophy, ideology and a culture of religion-based model of social organization developed over millennia.
The Vatican has reminded the Italian Executive that a fundamental basis of the modern Italian State, guarantees the existence of the Catholic ethic and the protection of its ethos is enshrined in the Concordat of 1929 and the subsequent post-war Constitution of 1948.
It is a matter of respecting temporal laws as well as accepting freedom of religious association and freedom of expression. The fact that the Vatican has waded in on these fundamental tenets speaks to the gravity of the accusations of hatred levelled by the new moralizers against any and all who may espouse something different.
The Vatican, through its “temporal” emissaries or its religious magisterium, can speak for itself. From our perspective as a lay organization, it is sending a message that secular laws and legislators should not, and cannot, infringe upon the rights and laws they have committed to uphold.
One is free to reject the Catholic ethic, but then one can no longer claim to be Catholic. If One vows to subscribe to the religious-political conditions outlined in a Constitution as a condition of holding office, one cannot reject those conditions once elected and then be taken seriously. That will be sorted out in Italy, and soon.
In Canada, Ontario, on a smaller scale, Section 93 of the Constitution, and the Education Act (not to mention the Charter of Rights and the Human Rights Code) provide similar guarantees to Catholic schools. For anti-Catholics, here as in Italy, these may merely “scraps of paper”, to borrow an expression from Kaiser Wilhelm, as he justified abrogating treaties on Germany’s road to invading Belgium in 1914.
They would be wrong. The magisterium in Ontario is the local bishop. He takes his marching orders from the Pope’s emissary. None of the bishops can be taken seriously if they are “offside” now that the Vatican is calling out the secular authority in Italy.
His eminence Tom Cardinal Collins may have to start demonstrating the type of leadership loyal Catholics in Ontario have been pleading for him to provide. Otherwise, Minister Lecce will sacrifice Catholic schools on the altar of his anti-Catholic agenda.
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