Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, who also serves as the president of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), last week warned EU officials that marginalizing Christians only serves to increase the support base of populist parties.
Discriminating against Christians and banishing religion from the public sphere isn’t “a politically advantageous move since this attitude can push Catholics towards populist parties,” Hollerich, a Jesuit cardinal who also serves as the Archbishop of Luxembourg, said in response to the European Commission’s attempts to excise the term ‘Christmas’ from the body’s official communications, the SIR Agency reports.
Hollerich’s statement came in response to a question concerning a leaked document titled: “European Commission Guidelines for Inclusive Communication” drafted by European Commission for Equality Helena Dalli which urged Commission employees replace any Christian and gender-specific language with so-called ‘neutral’ expressions.
Responding to the question, Cardinal Hollerich noted that Pope Francis’ characterization of the EU document on Christmas as “anachronistic” had been apt since “we have in Europe today a multicultural identity and also a multireligious identity.”
He then continued, asserting: “The answer to having many religions in Europe is not relegating religions to the private area but giving all religions access to the public sphere. Not naming Christmas but using other idioms such as a winter holidays means putting into practice an unacceptable discrimination against Christians.”
“It is also a politically imprudent move because it pushes Catholics towards populist parties. Rather, we must encourage politicians not to be afraid of policies inspired by the Christian faith.”
“If Catholics see these politicians, I think they won’t fall into the trap of populist politicians who use the name of Christianity for their ideologies,” Hollerich concluded.
Robert Semonsen is a political journalist based in Central Europe. His work has been featured in various English-language news outlets in Europe and the Americas. He has an educational background in biological and medical science.