Pope Speaks Out Against War on Christmas

On Monday, December 6, Pope Francis commented on a leaked internal document of the European Commission, calling it "anachronistic." The pope's comments were from an interview aboard the papal plane on his way back to Rome from Greece and Cyprus.

The pope responded to several reporters aboard the papal plane regarding recent events. Some questions include questions about the embattled Archbishop Michel Aupetit.

The topic about the leaked internal documents from the European Commission called Union of Equality came about after an Italian tabloid, il Giornale, published an article about it. The European Commission was accused of canceling Christmas and attacking common sense, il Giornale's report added.

Politico reported that the article also prompted a "torrent of abuse on social media." The documents took flak from Vatican senior officials and right-wing politicians, including a former EU commissioner.

Ursula von der Leyen, Commission President, advocated for the Union of Equality to make sure "everyone is valued and recognized regardless of their gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation." The most vibrant part of the document was advising Commission staffers to "avoid assuming that everyone is Christian."

Pope Francis called the European Commission's Union of Equality guideline a watered-down approach to Christianity. "Throughout history, many, many dictatorships tried to do it," the pope added. He also urged the European Union to "take on the ideals of the founding fathers, which were ideals of unity, greatness." He warned not to open the way for "ideological colonization." This will "make the European Union fail," he cautioned.

The pope also urged European legislators to respect EU countries' differences, citing that every country is distinctive but "open to others." He also attributed the relationship of sovereign members as "a unity that respects the singularity of each country."

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, head of the Secretariat of State of the Vatican, dismissed the European Commission's disregard for "rightful differences." Parolin accused the commission of forgetting what the reality is. "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," he added.

Helena Dalli, the European Commissioner for equality, defended the guideline saying the purpose is "to illustrate the diversity of European culture and showcase the inclusive nature of the European Commission."

Despite her initial enthusiasm, Dalli was forced to give up implementing the guideline amidst swift backlash. In a Tweet, Dalli called the policy a "work a progress" and vowed to address concerns "in an updated version of the guidelines."

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