General Articles

EU recognizes new party dedicated to ‘a culture embracing life’

Catholic News Agency

Dublin, Ireland, Feb 11, 2009 / 12:43 am (CNA).- A leader of Libertas, a new European Union political party dedicated to “individual freedom, democracy, and a culture embracing life” says the party has now been formally recognized despite “the best efforts by Brussels.”

Ganley made the comments over the weekend at a conference’s panel discussion in County Roscommon, Ireland. The conference was organized by the John Paul II Society in Ireland and co-hosted by the pro-life group Human Life International.

Libertas founder Declan Ganley said the party is now recognized in all 27 EU countries, the Irish Times reports. The recognition of Ganley’s new party was delayed after a member of the Estonian national parliament was erroneously reported to have denied signing papers asking for recognition of the party.

Libertas, Latin for “Freedom,” has been the motto of the Christian Democratic parties in Europe. The Libertas Party’s website describes the party as “a pan-European political movement dedicated to creating a new, democratic, accountable and open European Union.”

Stating the belief that Europe has “limitless potential,” the party calls for European cooperation in translating shared values into an “ambitious vision.”

“Europe does not work together at this time,” the Libertas Party web site charges. “It is divided into an elite holding all the power, and the rest, who are critical, but powerless. We want to transform that widespread criticism, harness the power that motivates it and change Europe.”

“Libertas stands for individual freedom, democracy, and a culture embracing life. We stand for tolerance and for the belief that every citizen has rights and limitless potential.”

At the conference, Ganley assured conference delegates of his opposition to abortion and same-sex “marriage.” In earlier opening remarks he had quoted from Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclicals Deus Caritas Est and Spe Salvi.

According to the Irish Times, he reflected on Ireland’s history, saying “our faith and our rights are strong today because we have suffered the yoke of oppression . . . we grew stronger and we grew free.”

He asked whether “he have lost something” and noted the address of the Pope immediately prior to his election in April 2005. He noted that then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had criticized a “dictatorship of moral relativism… in a world where faith in God is seen as a threat.”

Ganley also criticized a media “obsessed with breaking down the domestic church… and the family,” saying “the essence of our faith is that all life is sacred.”

“Yes we must, we must take risks for the truth,” he said.

In a question-and-answer period, Ganley argued that where the European Court of Justice was concerned, any guarantees given by the EU on social and ethical issues “were not worth the paper they are written on.”

“The laws of the union have primacy over the laws of any member state . . . If there is a conflict, union law rules,” he explained.

Warning that one should “never become a Eurosceptic,” he said the EU was “a lesson learned from the bloodfest suffered on this continent for hundreds of years” deserving of support.

For the EU to succeed, he reportedly said, “its legitimacy and its vitality has to come from you.”

Speaking to the audience, he discussed the Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, saying: “the Brussels elite holds you in contempt . . . telling you to vote again. They told the French, the Dutch, and now you, to vote again . . . taking us for absolute fools, uninformed idiots.”

He characterized the rejection of the union-strengthening Lisbon Treaty as “the most pro-European statement.”

“We want Europe to be strong, but it is also going to be accountable,” Ganley said.

According to the Irish Times, at the same discussion Irish Senator Rónán Mullen said he would be voting No in the next Lisbon Treaty referendum if there were no guarantees that Ireland would retain its independence on “certain sensitive social and ethical issues.

Archbishop of Denver Charles J. Chaput also spoke at the conference, discussing the problems Catholics face in the modern world and encouraging them to be “vigorous and unembarrassed about our Catholic presence in society.”