Acton Institute Powerblog

The Extent of European Antipathy Towards Christianity

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After Pope John Paul II’s death on April 2, the European Parliament was torn over a “difficult” decision – whether to lower the flags of the European Institution to half-mast. It seems that some members thought it was inappropriate to honor one of the most pro-European statesmen who ever lived with such a simple gesture. Eventually, they came to their senses and agreed to do so.

Now it seems that the Polish members of the Euro Parliament have bit off more than they can chew – they want to name an entire wing of the parliament building in Brussels after the late Pontiff and beloved compatriot. The reason for the cold feet now is the Catholic Church’s teachings on contraception, homosexuality, and even the perceived response to the paedophilia scandals in the US.

“The European Parliament is not the Holy See of Rome,” said one Alejandro Alvaro, just in case there was any doubt.

Update: In a foreseeable move, the Young European Federalists have opposed naming any EU buildings after the late Pope.

Kishore Jayabalan Kishore Jayabalan is director of Istituto Acton, the Acton Institute's Rome office. Formerly, he worked for the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace as the lead policy analyst on sustainable development and arms control. Kishore Jayabalan earned a B.A. in political science and economics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In college, he was executive editor of The Michigan Review and an economic policy intern for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He worked as an international economist for the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington, D.C. and then graduated with an M.A. in political science from the University of Toronto. While in Toronto, Kishore interned in the university's Newman Centre, which led to his appointment to the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York. Two years later, he returned to Rome to work for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace as the Holy See's lead policy analyst on sustainable development and arms control. As director of Istituto Acton, Kishore organizes the institute's educational and outreach efforts in Rome and throughout Europe.


  • James W.

    I think most practicing christians who have been to western european countries can sense something amiss over there. Yes, American culture is lacking in morality. However it is not(yet)as spiritually comatose as western europe. Reflecting on history I blame the first world war. This war, nearly a hundred years ago already, set the stage for everything to follow. It killed about a quarter of the male population of child rearing age. It severed the paternal bonds that hold families and society together. A whole generation of children at the time were fatherless, and thus cut from the traditional moorings of society, including religion. It’s “peace” treaties set the stage for facsism and communism to take hold. These evil philosophies never took root in America as in Europe because they emerged well after our time of ruin during the civil war, allowing our country to recover while in it’s weakest state.

    The first world war allowed a generation of morally weak europeans raised in its wake to create even more ruin and thus morally weak europeans to follow. The continent never really recoverd from the world wars, or the poisonous theories of socialism and statism which has locked europeans into a perpetual state of spiritual weakness.