Kox welcomes pope’s message on poverty

26 November 2014

Kox welcomes pope’s message on poverty

SP Senator Tiny Kox has welcomed Pope Francis’ message to Europe delivered last week in Strasbourg. ‘During his speeches last week to the European Parliament and to the Council of Europe, the Pope pulled no punches when it came to growing poverty, exclusion and indifference in Europe,’ says Kox. ‘Full of conviction he made it clear that human rights were incompatible with such injustice.’ The leader of the Catholic world took a position in plain language against the arms trade, people trafficking and the dominant influence of multinationals in politics and society. ‘I’d like to see European heads of government who dared to express themselves in such clear terms,’ adds Kox. ‘But at the moment they’re pretty thin on the ground.’

Pope Francis first addressed Members of the European Parliament gathered for their monthly plenary in Strasbourg, and later representatives of the various organs of the Council of Europe, whose building faces that of the EP. Senator Kox, president of the United European Left political group in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), joined fellow group leaders in welcoming the Pope to ‘the house of democracy’ in Strasbourg, where Europe’s oldest and biggest treaty-based organisation has its seat. Kox was, he said, pleased with the stress the Pope placed on such elementary values as the defence of human right, the rule of law and democracy. 'It was also good in times of mounting tension in Europe to hear someone arguing against “enemy-think” and in favour of dialogue. By doing that in front of MPs from Russia and Ukraine, the Pope was saying that the present crisis must be addressed through dialogue. I’m happier with that sort of talk than with calls for more sanctions in Europe and attempts to sharpen the conflicts. The Pope’s references to both the First and the Second World Wars show how menacing the Vatican finds current developments in Europe. So it’s of huge importance that those who want to see a peaceful way out of the crisis move right away to strengthen each other and together offer a response to the fans of a new Cold War.’

Senator Kox, along with SP Euro-MPs Dennis de Jong and Anne-Marie Mineur, reacted less positively when it came to the problems which the Church itself has with the recognition of and respect for same-sex relationships. ‘It’s clear that in relation to this the Pope has to contend with conservative resistance within the Church, so he simply doesn’t mention it,’ says Kox. ‘So I was pleased that from the PACE side Assembly president Anne Brasseur referred to the fact that reform processes are difficult yet badly needed if we really want to be able to talk about broad respect for human rights. The Pope will certainly have understood this message. Perhaps he’ll draw inspiration from it, which would be most appropriate.’


Photo: Council of Europe

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