Viewing cable 04VATICAN4441
Title: VATICAN URGES OSCE REP TO FOCUS ON CHRISTIAN

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
04VATICAN44412004-11-19 16:21:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Vatican
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS  VATICAN 004441 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
DEPT FOR EUR/WE:LEVIN; EUR/RPM:TROUTMAN;EUR/OHI:BRAUM 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: NL PHUM PREL VT OSCE
SUBJECT: VATICAN URGES OSCE REP TO FOCUS ON CHRISTIAN 
DISCRIMINATION 
 
 
¶1.  (U) This cable contains an action request.  Please see 
paragraph 6. 
 
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Summary 
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¶2.  (SBU) The Vatican Foreign Ministry,s director for the 
OSCE urged the U.S. November 18 to support the appointment of 
an OSCE Special Representative whose title would indicate a 
responsibility for monitoring discrimination and violence 
against Christians.  Noting that the first two 
representatives were concerned with anti-Semitism and 
anti-Islamic problems, he said the third representative in a 
proposed system of three officials should reflect that fact 
that Christians in Europe also faced discrimination.  This 
view, which the Vatican believes was reflected in the 
European Parliament's treatment of Italian European 
Commission nominee Rocco Buttiglione, has gained currency in 
recent months within the Holy See.  Post understands the USG 
does not support the inclusion of a reference to Christianity 
in the third representative,s title.  End Summary. 
 
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Holy See Unhappy with Proposal for Special Rep 
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¶3.  (SBU) Monsignor Ettore Ballestrero, the Vatican Foreign 
Ministry's Director for the OSCE, contacted Poloff November 
18 regarding proposed OSCE Special Representatives with 
responsibility for monitoring discrimination in OSCE 
countries.  Ballestrero expressed support for the proposal to 
appoint one representative to monitor anti-Semitism and 
another to monitor discrimination against Muslims.  However, 
he said the Holy See was unhappy with the plans for a the 
third representative, which he understood was now defined as 
a monitor of racism, xenophobia, and more general instances 
of discrimination. 
 
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Anti-Christian Problems Need Specific Attention 
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¶4.  (SBU) Ballestrero said that discrimination and other 
problems related to the Christian community in OSCE countries 
needed to be addressed specifically by this system of special 
representatives.  For the Holy See, this means not simply 
including a reference to Christianity in the mandate of the 
third representative, but including a reference to 
anti-Christian attitudes or actions in his or her title. 
While the Vatican acknowledges the seriousness of 
anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic problems in OSCE countries, it 
maintains that anti-Christianity is also a problem and 
deserves equal attention.  "It,s a question of fairness and 
balance," Ballestrero said.  He cited examples of 
anti-Christian problems in Europe, including recent vandalism 
of churches of various Christian denominations in the 
Netherlands.  "This isn,t just about Catholics," Ballestrero 
stressed.  He said the Vatican felt a responsibility to speak 
on behalf of all Christians in the region. 
 
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Increasing Concern from the Vatican 
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¶5.  (SBU) The Holy See has had concerns about problems facing 
Christians in Europe for some time, but recent events, 
including the high-profile rejection of EU 
Commissioner-designate Rocco Buttiglione for his Catholic 
views on social issues, have intensified their concerns. 
(Buttiglione is generally considered to be an intimate of 
Pope John Paul II.)  Often-outspoken Cardinal Renato Martino, 
former Holy See UN Permanent Observer and current President 
of the PonQifical Council for Justice and Peace, was widelQ 
quoted in the press at the time of the Buttiglione 
controversy, condemning the "nasty" tone of the "lay 
inquisition" that he believed was fomenting a "new 
anti-Catholicism" in Europe.  Other Vatican officials have 
warned recently of a "lay fundamentalism" and "aggressive 
laicism" in Spain.  Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal 
Angelo Sodano told the media that it wasn't the first time 
that "Catholics (found) themselves confronted with...the 
dangers of isolation and discrimination.  Just look at the 
history of the Christian church."  Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, 
Prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the 
Faith, added to the Holy See's offensive on the subject when 
he told Italian center-left daily La Repubblica November 19 
that speaking about God in today's public sphere had become 
"indecent." 
 
 
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USG Position: Action Request 
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¶6.  (SBU) Poloff spoke with USOSCE and understands that the 
USG is against specific mention of Christianity in the 
representative,s title.  Post understands USG concerns to be 
that an attempt to "balance" the system of representatives by 
adding a reference to Christianity to the title of the third 
official would send the wrong message about the seriousness 
of the effort and its motivation.  Indeed such an inclusion 
might minimize the gravity of anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim 
problems, which the USG regards as more serious than 
discrimination or violence against Christians.  Further, once 
these three world religions were mentioned in the titles of 
representatives, there might be further pressure to add 
references to still more religions.  Post requests further 
guidance to respond to the Holy See's concerns. 
 
NICHOLSON 
 
 
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