Archbishop stands by Buttiglione

Archbishop Christodoulos yesterday voiced strong support for Italy’s candidate for EU justice commissioner, Rocco Buttiglione, who was forced to step down on Saturday after causing a furor by labeling homosexuality a sin. The church leader defended Buttiglione, a papal confidant, as «a good Christian» who was perfectly justified in regarding homosexuality as «a sin before God, although not a criminal offense.» In an Athens sermon, Christodoulos also attacked European Parliament members who opposed Buttiglione’s appointment, thus forcing Commission President-elect Jose Manuel Barroso to withdraw all 24 Commission nominees. «Think how low humanity has sunk,» he said. «It seeks to support a blatant, crying sin and keep us quiet to placate those who have the failing, who want everyone else to accept it as a normal condition.» In response, Synaspismos Left Coalition EMP Dimitris Papadimoulis lashed out at the archbishop’s «extreme, backward views.» «Defending democratic rights and fighting discrimination is a duty, not a failing,» he said.