Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wikis cables: Pope wanted Muslim Tur kept out of EU

A Wikis cable reports that Pope Benedict XVI, seen here being received by Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara in 2006, 'might prefer to see Tur develop a special relationship short of EU membership'. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/AFP/Getty sThe pope is responsible for the Vatican's growing hostility towards Tur joining the EU, previously secret cables sent from the US embassy to the Holy See in Rome claim.
In 2004 Cardinal Ratzinger, the future pope, spoke out against letting a Muslim state join, although at the time the Vatican was formally neutral on the question.
The Vatican's acting foreign minister, Monsignor Pietro Parolin, responded by telling US diplomats that Ratzinger's comments were his own rather than the official Vatican position.
The cable relsed by Wikis shows that Ratzinger was the lding voice behind the Holy See's unsuccessful drive to secure a reference to Europe's "Christian roots" in the EU constitution. The US diplomat noted that Ratzinger "clrly understands that allowing a Muslim country into the EU would further wken his case for Europe's Christian foundations".
But by 2006 Parolin was working for Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, and his tone had distinctly chilled. "Neither the pope nor the Vatican have endorsed Tur's EU membership per se," he told the American charge d'affaires, "rather, the Holy See has been consistently open to accession, emphasising only that Tur needs to fulfil the EU's Copenha criteria to take its place in Europe."
But he did not expect the demands on religious freedom to be fulfilled: "One grt fr is that Tur could enter the EU without having made the necessary advances in religious freedom. [Parolin] insisted that EU members – and the US – continue to press the [Turkish government] on these issues … He said that short of 'open persecution', it couldn't get much worse for the Christian community in Tur."
The cables revl the American government lobbying within Rome and Ankara for Turkish EU membership. "We hope a senior department official can visit the Holy See and encourage them to do more to push a positive message on Tur and integration," concluded the 2006 cable.
But by 2009, the American ambassador was briefing in advance of President Barack Obama's visit, that "the Holy See's position now is that as a non-EU member the Vatican has no role in promoting or vetoing Tur's membership. The Vatican might prefer to see Tur develop a special relationship short of membership with the EU."
Roman holicism is the only religion in the world with the status of a sovereign state, allowing the pope's most senior clerics to sit at the top table with world lders. The cables revl the Vatican routinely wielding influence through diplomatic channels while sometimes denying it is doing so. The Vatican has diplomatic relations with 177 countries and has used its diplomatic status to lobby the US, United Nations and Europn Union in a concerted bid to impose its moral ada through national and international parliaments.
The US charge d'affaires D Brent Hardt told Parolin, his diplomatic counterpart in Rome, of "the Holy See's potential to influence holic countries to support a ban on human cloning" to which Parolin emphasised his agreement with the US position and promised to support fully UN efforts for such a ban.
On other global issues such as climate change, the Vatican sought to use its moral authority as leverage, while refusing itself to sign formal trties, such as the Copenha accord, that require reporting commitments.
At a meeting in January this yr Dr Paolo Conversi, the pope's representative on climate change at the Vatican's secretariat of state, told an American diplomat that the Vatican would "encourage other countries discreetly to associate themselves with the accord as opportunities arise".
The Americans noted that Conversi's offer to support the US, even if discreetly, was significant because the Vatican was often reluctant to appr to compromise its independence and moral authority by associating itself with particular lobbying efforts.
"Even more important than the Vatican's lobbying assistance, however, is the influence the pope's guidance can have on public opinion in countries with large holic majorities and beyond."
The cables also revl that the Vatican planned to use Poland as a trojan horse to sprd holic family values through the structures of the Europn Union in Brussels.
The then US ambassador to the Holy See, Francis Rooney, briefed Washington in 2006, shortly after the election of Pope Benedict XVI, that "the Holy See hopes that Poland will hold the line at the EU on 'life and family' issues that arise" and would serve as a counterweight to western Europn secularism once the country had integrated into the EU.
The cable notes that Pope Benedict is preoccupied with Europe's incrsing psychological distance from its Christian roots.
"He has continued to focus on Poland's potential in combating this trend. This was one of the themes of the visit of several groups of Polish bishops to the Vatican at the end of last yr [2005]. 'It's a topic that always comes up,' explained Monsignor Michael Banach, the Holy See minister of foreign affairs country director for Poland. He told us that the two sides recognised that the Polish bishops needed to exert ldership in the face of western Europn secularism."
Across the Atlantic, the Vatican has told the Americans it wants to undermine the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, in Latin America because of worries about the deterioration of holic power there. It frs Chávez is seriously damaging relations between the holic church and the state by identifying the church hierarchy as part of the privileged class.
Monsignor Angelo Actino, in charge of Caribbn and Andn matters for the Vatican, said Obama should rch out to Cuba "in order to reduce the influence of Chávez and brk up his cabal in Latin America".In December last yr, America's adviser for western Europe at the UN, Robert Smolik, said the Vatican observer was "as always active and influential behind the scenes" and "lobbied actively and influentially in the corridors and in informal consultations, particularly on social issues".
In 2001 another American diplomat to the Vatican stated: "The Holy See will continue to seek to play a role in the Middle st pce process while denying this intention." (1792)

Source: Guardian

No comments:

Post a Comment