Europarliamentarians Assail Papal Address on Divorce

32 Claim Violation of State-Church Separation

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STRASBOURG, France, FEB. 20, 2002 ( Members of the European Parliament are pushing for a resolution against the Holy See for what they call «undue interference» in nations´ laws on divorce.

The parliamentarians wish to publicly condemn John Paul II´s address on Jan. 28 to the ecclesiastical Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

In the address he called on «agents of the law in the civil field» to «avoid being personally involved in what might imply cooperation in divorce.»

The «motion for a resolution on the interference of the Holy See in the laws on marriage and divorce» was proposed in the European Parliament by Maurizio Turco, deputy of the Italian Radical Party.

It has already been signed by at least 32 European parliamentarians, most of them members of the Socialist Party, the European Free Alliance or the Radical Party.

The text criticizes «the statements of the Pope as undue interference with the aim of subverting the principle of impartiality of civil law and to make the respect of specific religious prescriptions prevail over the respect of acquired civil rights.»

In particular, the critics say, «the Pope called for a modification of civil and democratic legal systems to introduce the indissolubility of marriage, opposition to the introduction of measures in favor of divorce or measures that give de facto unions, especially homosexual unions, the same status as matrimony, as well as the promotion if ´true matrimony.´»

The parliamentarians maintain that the above affirmation is an attack against «the separation between church and state.»

In his address, John Paul II explained that the indissolubility of marriage has its roots in the natural law. Hence, within the framework of total respect for democracy, the Holy Father encouraged initiatives aimed «at obtaining the public recognition of indissoluble marriage in the civil juridical order.»

The Catholic Church always has proclaimed the teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. The proclamation of religious truths is guaranteed by the European Union´s Charter of Fundamental Rights (October 2000), in Article 10 on «Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion.»

Among the signatories of the motion against the Holy See is Daniel Cohn-Bendit, leader of the May 1968 revolution in France and deputy of the European Free Alliance in the European Parliament.

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