"It looks like a new Inquisition. It is a lay Inquisition, but it is so nasty," Cardinal Renato Martino, who heads the Vatican's Council for Justice and Peace, told reporters this week in response to the dispute. "You can freely insult and attack Catholics and nobody will say anything. If you do so for other confessions, let's see what would happen."
The Vatican expressed these sentiments in response to the EU Parliament's rejection of Italy's nomination of Rocco Buttiglione, who has publically voiced anti-gay and misogynistic sentiments. The Vatican further lamented the fact that "government after government [has approved] measures on abortion, family law and scientific study that run counter to Catholic teaching." So, the Vatican is upset that, contrary to its teachings, European governments and the E.U. are acting to counter discrimination against gays and women, and funding stem-cell research that will ultimately benefit mankind as a whole. If these are the sorts of things that upset the Vatican, then I can only be happy when I hear that the Vatican is upset. The histrionics the Church, and Cardinal Martino, have displayed in calling these trends in Europe signs of a "lay Inquisition" only make their disappointment seem that much sweeter, as they absurdly cast progressive policies as motivated by anti-Catholic sentiments.
Across the pond, the Vatican can only smile at the way things are going in the U.S. Abortion rights are coming under increasingly intense fire, and with Supreme Court positions likely to open up in the next few years, the Church and other anti-choice activists can only be salivating at the mouth. The U.S.'s stance on embryonic stem cell research and gay marriage must be a point of pride for the Church as well. Then there's the "Constitution Restoration Act of 2004," which states:
`Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Supreme Court shall not have jurisdiction to review, by appeal, writ of certiorari, or otherwise, any matter to the extent that relief is sought against an element of Federal, State, or local government, or against an officer of Federal, State, or local government (whether or not acting in official personal capacity), by reason of that element's or officer's acknowledgement of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government.'.
Rest assured, Vatican, there is no "lay Inquisition" here. We're working hard to retain your regressive, antiquated values, and so far, it looks like we're succeeding. "Secular" remains a four letter word here, and if the backers of the CRA have their way, it will be against the law, too.