The patriarch made his plea Tuesday when meeting with Pier Ferdinando
Casini, president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies.
In his exhortation, reported by Vatican Radio, the patriarch of Moscow
and All Russia presented one of the "crucial" challenges that Catholics
and Orthodox must address together: to bring Christian values back to
Alexy II criticized the "absurd tolerance" that in a secular Europe
virtually "impedes Christian from making public profession of their own
"It is strange that in a society that presents itself as free,
Christians are impeded from expressing the faith freely," lamented the
patriarch, who explained to Casini that he followed closely the case of
Rocco Buttiglione, Italian candidate for European Commissioner who was
"persecuted because he thought in a different way."
Buttiglione was Italy's nominee to the European Union's executive
commission. He stood down last year after he was sharply attacked by
Europarliamentarians and the press for his traditional Catholic views
about the sinfulness of homosexual acts.
Alexy II said that he counts very much on Benedict XVI to work together
"against violence, egoism and moral relativism."
The president of the Italian Chamber summarized his conversation with
the patriarch saying that "that there is great fear that, in the new
Europe, Christians will be considered as second-class citizens."
Moreover, Alexy II pointed out "the opportunity lost by the European
Constitution, in which there is no specific reference to the Christian
identity," reported Vatican Radio.