Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State 

EU withdraws communication manual which dropped use of word "Christmas"

A European Commission document calling for the use of "inclusive" language will be rewritten after it generated controversy. Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, says “this is not the way to fight discrimination.”

By Massimiliano Menichetti

A manual for communication for EU institutions aimed at avoiding discrimination and promoting inclusivity has been withdrawn.

The controversial document, titled “Union of Equality,” recommended the expression “holiday period” instead of “Christmas period,” and, in order to guarantee the right of “every person to be treated equally,” preferred that a more generic “Ms” be used in the place of “Miss or Mrs.” Not only that, the document proposed that names typical to a specific religion such as “Mary” and “John” not be used anymore.

Helena Dalli, EU Commissioner for Equality, announced the withdrawal of the manual on Tuesday, noting that the document will be revised to reflect concerns raised by several parties.

In an interview ahead of the document's retraction, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin called for respecting the rightful differences of others. 

Q: Your Eminence, what are your thoughts on this matter?

I believe that the concern to erase all discrimination is right. It is a path of which we have become more aware and which naturally must be translated into practice. However, in my opinion, this is not the way to achieve this goal. Because in the end we risk destroying, annihilating the person, in two ways. The first is the differentiation that characterizes our world. Unfortunately, the tendency is to homogenize everything, not knowing how to respect even rightful differences, which naturally should not become a conflict or a source of discrimination, but should be integrated in order to build a full and integral humanity. The second: the forgetfulness of what is a reality. And whoever goes against reality puts themself in serious danger. Then, there is the cancellation of our roots, the Christian dimension of our Europe, especially with regard to Christian festivals. Of course, we know that Europe owes its existence and its identity to many influences, but we certainly cannot forget that one of the main influences, if not the main one, was Christianity itself. Therefore, destroying the difference and destroying the roots means precisely to destroy the person.

Q: The Pope is preparing to leave for a trip to Europe where culture, tradition and values certainly represent a path of welcome. Yet, there are those who continue to build a Europe that erases its roots....

Yes, it seems to me that the Pope, even in the video message he addressed to Greece and Cyprus before his departure a few days ago, emphasizes precisely this European dimension: that is, going to the sources of Europe, therefore rediscovering those its constitutive elements. Certainly, Greek culture is one of these elements. Also, it seems to me that this journey comes at just the right time, it is a journey that reminds us precisely of these fundamental dimensions that cannot be erased. We must rediscover the capacity to integrate all these realities without ignoring them, without fighting them, without eliminating and marginalizing them.

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30 November 2021, 13:37