OPINION

Rights and ‘sins’

The ultra-conservative opinions of devout Roman Catholic Rocco Buttiglione regarding woman, gays and immigrants cost him his post as European Union commissioner and provoked a mini-crisis within the politically correct EC – a Commission that is indeed correct but politically ineffective and myopic. The Italian’s inelegant opinions also caused a small storm in Greece, thanks to the elaborations of Archbishop Christodoulos. The head of the Church of Greece reportedly agreed with Buttiglione’s opinion that homosexuality is a sin. Sin – now, there’s a word that has more or less vanished from daily conversation, although its presence is rather more persistent in our consciences. The current debate about the rights of the individual is taking place within the framework of secularized modernism, a framework that has long distanced the subject of sin – namely, the individual – from the religion-dominated world of the pre-modernist era. Man no longer believes that he is at the mercy of Divine Providence… It is natural that the stance of a senior cleric would differ from that of a secularized thinker or a legislator… But the chief difference is that the liberal townsman will have human rights and individual freedoms as his criteria when judging his fellow citizens. The person who relies on Divine Providence, on the other hand, will judge in terms of sin and virtue…