The pope has slammed an internal EU document released by the equality commissioner, Helena Dalli, in late October, in which the EU is compared to Nazi and Communist regimes. The advice's most contentious element was to 'avoid presuming that everyone is Christian.'
The document states, "Not everyone celebrates Christian festivals, and not all Christians celebrate them on the same dates." It recommends employees to use the phrase "Holiday times may be stressful" instead than "Christmas time can be stressful."
It further states that "Christian names" should be replaced with "first name" or "forename," and that names "usually from one faith" should be avoided. It presents the example of describing a "international couple" as "Malika and Julio" rather than "Maria and John."
The guidelines also recommended avoiding the use of “gendered words” such as “man-made fabrics,” which should be replaced with more generic terms such as “synthetic fabrics.”
The text is part of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's ambition to create a "Union of Equality" in which "everyone is respected and recognized in all our material, regardless of their gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, handicap, age, or sexual orientation." In response to a journalist's query about the paper and its intended use, ""You refer to the European Union document on Christmas... this is an anachronism," the Pope said. Many dictatorships have attempted to do so throughout history. Consider Napoleon: from there, Consider the Nazi and communist dictatorships... it's a trend of diluted secularism, purified water... But this is something that hasn't worked in the past."
The pope's comments came after the European Commission hastily withdrew its 30-page guide aimed at ensuring that no European felt left out of EU communications last week, following a barrage of criticism from social media users and lawmakers. Helena Dalli, the EU Commissioner for Equality, released the rules on Oct. 26 but then retracted them on Nov. 30.
She said: “It is not a mature document and does not meet all Commission quality standards. The guidelines clearly need more work. I therefore withdraw the guidelines and will work further on this document.”
Concern was raised with regards to some examples provided in the Guidelines on Inclusive Communication, which as is customary with such guidelines, is work in progress. We are looking into these concerns with the view of addressing them in an updated version of the guidelines. pic.twitter.com/90ZK8rpPb2— Helena Dalli (@helenadalli) November 30, 2021