Saturday

23rd Feb 2019

Buttiglione: 'Out with the Christian, in with the Freemason'

The Italian minister of European affairs Rocco Buttiglione has once more made it to the headlines.

This time it was for claiming that the Italian EU Commissioner, Franco Frattini, is a Freemason.

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"Out with the Christian, in with the Freemason," Mr Buttiglione was quoted saying by Italian News Agency AGI at a debate in Milan.

Mr Buttiglione's words come after he was forced to step down as European Commission nominee following his comments on gays and marriage - which caused a furore.

A committed Christian, he complained that he was subject to an "inquisition" by MEPs for his views.

When Mr Buttiglione congratulated Mr Frattini on his nomination as EU Justice Commissioner he also mentioned the issue.

"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," Mr Buttiglione said, according to the Times.

Declaration of interestes

Commenting on the parliamentary hearings that cost him his job, the Europe minister said:

"What happened was very serious, because they told me that since I am a believer, I cannot be a European commissioner. We have to act so that a day does not come in which people will hear that they cannot be professors or school teachers because they are Catholic," said Mr Buttiglione, according to AGI.

Mario Borghezio, a Northern League MEP and a member of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, said to the Times he hoped Signor Frattini was "independent of the occult powers which control Europe".

Mr Frattini will attend hearings at European Parliament committees on Monday and Tuesday next week (15-16 November) in Strasbourg.

Worldwide

Freemasonry is a worldwide organisation with an estimated 5 million members - and one of the oldest secular fraternities in the world.

According to some interpretations, Roman Catholics are forbidden to become Freemasons by their church.

Freemasonry has been a highly sensitive issue particularly in Italy, where a secret and illegal right-wing Masonic lodge known as P2 — Propaganda Due — was investigated in the wake of a financial scandal in the 1970s.

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