Sunday, November 14, 2004

New EU Commissioner Outed as a Mason

Local News
Web posted on November 14, 2004 at 9:31:00 AM CET
EU News
Buttiglione ‘outs’ his EU successor as a Freemason

Rocco Buttiglione, the Catholic politician and papal adviser whose views on
homosexuality and marriage cost him his job as an EU Commissioner last
month, caused further controversy last week by claiming that his successor
was a Freemason.

Signor Buttiglione congratulated Franco Frattini, the Foreign Minister, on
his nomination as EU Justice Commissioner, the job for which Signor
Buttiglione had been nominated by Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister.

But he went on: “I hope his hearings go well and that nobody asks him if he
is a Freemason. If they do they will only be repeating the same injustice
that was done to me.”

Signor Frattini, who has been Foreign Minister since November 2002, held
talks in Brussels with José Manuel Durão Barroso, the new European
Commission President, ahead of confirmation hearings at the European
Parliament tomorrow and on Tuesday. Senhor Barroso hopes his entire
Commission will be confirmed next Thursday by Euro MPs, enabling it to take
office the following Monday.

Freemasonry, which was banned under Mussolini, flourished under the
Christian Democrats in postwar Italy, and remains legal. But it is still
viewed with suspicion by the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church.

It has been a highly sensitive issue in Italy since 1981, when a secret and
illegal right-wing Masonic lodge known as P2 – Propaganda Due – was broken
up amid public scandal.

Nearly a thousand members of P2 were named, including senior figures in
business, politics, banking, journalism, the intelligence services and the
military. The scandal brought down the Christian Democrat-led government of
Arnaldo Forlani, which had tried to keep the details secret.

Signor Frattini and Signor Berlusconi declined to comment on Signor
Buttiglione’s outburst. Lapo Pistelli, an Italian left-wing Euro MP, said
that it was a “poisoned dart. I have no idea if Frattini is a Mason or not,
but I have no doubt that, unlike Buttiglione, he will appear at his hearing
fully prepared and there will be no unpleasant surprises.”

However, Mario Borghezio, a Northern League Euro MP, said he hoped Signor
Frattini was “independent of the occult powers which control Europe”.

Signor Frattini, 47, a parliamentary deputy for Signor Berlusconi’s Forza
Italia Party since 1996 and former head of the parliamentary commission
overseeing the intelligence services, is widely admired for his competence
and equanimity.

Signor Berlusconi held a meeting of his Centre Right coalition to discuss
the nomination of Gianfranco Fini, the “post Fascist” Deputy Prime Minister,
as the new Foreign Minister. Signor Buttiglione, far from returning to
relative obscurity as Italy’s Minister for European Affairs since his
rejection by Euro MPs, has defiantly maintained a high profile through
public meetings and interviews, in which he has lambasted the
“totalitarianism” of an “over secularised and politically correct Europe”.

Last weekend he began a campaign for a return to “traditional religious
values” in public life, and said that thousands of people all over Europe
had offered support for his campaign to inject “Christian family values”
into politics.