Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pro Europa Christiana Federation interview with Duke Paul of Oldenburg

Duke Paul of Oldenburg, "The Brussels Bureau facilitates our contacts with European leaders in their workplaces and also to invite them to attend outside events."

Duke Paul of Oldenburg is a member of the German TFP and director of the Brussels Bureau of the Pro Europa Christiana Federation. An agronomist, he descends from two of the most illustrious royal houses of Germany. His paternal forefathers were sovereigns of the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg in northern Germany and married over the years to heiresses of several European thrones. The Oldenburg family has reigned in Denmark since 1448, in Norway since 1905, in Russia (1796-1917), Greece (1863-1974) and Sweden (1751-1818).  In the United Kingdom, since the Queen’s consort, Prince Philip, comes from the Greek royal family (a branch of the Oldenburg family), when Queen Elizabeth II is succeeded on the throne it will actually change hands from the royal house of Windsor to that of Oldenburg in the person of Prince Charles or his descendents.

On his mother’s side, Duke Paul descends from the Hohenzollern family, the dynasty of the old Kings of Prussia who later became emperors of Germany until the fall of Kaiser William II at the end of the First World War.

Duke Paul is married to Duchess Pilar Méndez de Vigo y Löwenstein, with whom he has had four children, Dukes Kiril, Charles and Paul Mary, and little Duchess Maria Assunta.

* * *

Catolicismo — When was the Brussels Bureau of the Pro Europa Christiana Federation founded, and what is its purpose?

Duke Paul — The Bureau was inaugurated on December 8, 2009 and placed under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception, of whose help we are in great need. Our goal is to defend the Christian roots of Europe and particularly what Pope Benedict XVI called the “non-negotiable values,” that is, the right to life from conception to natural death, the sacred character of the family founded on marriage (between one man and one woman) and the right of parents to raise their children without undue interference from the State.

Just to illustrate the need for this work, there has been a lot of reaction here in Europe about the case of a German mother who finds herself in prison simply for having refused to allow her children to attend sex education classes in their public school—those are in fact “moral corruption” classes.

Headquarters of the Pro Europa Christiana Federation Bureau in Brussels

Catolicismo — But why was Brussels chosen for the Bureau’s activities?

“Another aspect of our activities is to favor the formation of resistance networks in various areas: right to life, family, religious values etc.”

Duke Paul — Answering your question requires a preliminary explanation. The Lisbon Treaty—a camouflaged version of a European constitution proposed by a Presidium and rejected in referenda by the Dutch and the French—went into force one week before the Bureau’s inauguration. In addition to diminishing even further the sovereignty of member States, the Treaty imposed on them the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights. This Charter means to Europe something akin to Brazil’s National Human Rights Plan-3, namely, even greater facility to procure abortions, equality of rights for homosexuals, denial of the nation’s Christian heritage as a source of inspiration for legislation, removing religion from public discourse, etc.

Due to this situation, what used to be an internal debate in each state has become a Europe-wide debate. In fact, most legislative novelties in European Union states are no longer decided by the national parliaments: they are called European “directives” and must be applied in every country. A study requested by Mr. Roman Herzog, a former President of both Germany and of its Constitutional Court found that the application of such “directives” represented more than 80% of new German legislation introduced between 1998 and 2004. Since then, things have gone from bad to worse.

Since such “directives” are proposed by the European Commission, discussed by the European Parliament (as a consultative body) and then approved by the European Union Council, debates on crucial social issues have in fact been transferred from Paris, London, Lisbon or Warsaw, to Brussels.

Public rally against Christianophobia in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, June 2011.

These are the reasons why the Pro Europa Christiana Federation (FPEC) established its bureau in Brussels in the so-called “European Quarter,” a stone’s throw away from the European Commission headquarters and a bit farther from the European Parliament and related institutions. That makes it very easy for us to contact European representatives in their offices and also to invite them to attend events at the Bureau.

Catolicismo — So the Bureau’s main role is lobbying?

Duke Paul — First of all, it is to stay abreast of what’s being planned back stage. Then, to try and influence the debate in the right direction. Another aspect of our activities is to favor the formation of conservative coalition networks in several areas: right to life, family, religious values etc. Some associations were already at work for the good cause before our arrival, but each was working out of its own small office, without any coordination. Since our center is spacious, we are facilitating meetings and gatherings of leaders and grassroots to forge common strategies and create some synergy. Each association preserves its own specific field of action, but all of them are apprised of what the others are doing. Thus, there is a better flow of information and some common initiatives are taken.

Catolicismo — It is a leadership work…

Duke Paul — Primarily, yes. But it also requires that the grassroots and the public in general—i.e., the public of Brussels and its surroundings—feel engaged in this essential struggle to defend the values of Christian civilization that still remain. Because everyone, even the expats, who are numerous in many European institutions, are sensitive to the opinions that circulate in the ambiences in which they live.

Distributing flyers in Brussels

"But it also requires that the grassroots and the public in general—i.e., the public of Brussels and its surroundings—feel engaged in this essential struggle to defend the values of Christian civilization that still remain."

Catolicismo — And how does the Federation manage to make is message heard by the grassroots?

Duke Paul — By promoting public lectures. Already at its inauguration the Bureau sponsored a lecture by Prof. Roberto de Mattei, vice-president of Italy’s National Research Center, on the dangers of allowing Turkey to join the EU. This is a very controversial issue, particularly in Germany, which has seen massive Turkish immigration, but also in Austria, which still recalls the siege of Vienna and the Ottoman danger threatening its borders.

Then there was a lecture by Mr. Stéphane Buffetaut, a European official who specializes in climate issues, who warned about the totalitarian and Malthusian international agenda now under way under the cover of ecology and “global warming.”

Another lecture that caused great impression was one delivered by a well-known Slovak member of the European Parliament, Mrs. Anna Zaborska, on the European offensive against the family. On the pretext of solving cross-border family conflicts and harmonizing and adapting member-states legislations to the “evolution of society,” the EU violates its own treaties; in fact, issues related to family legislation fall exclusively within the purview of member countries and not the EU. In other words, deep down the EU provides legal cover for the feminist and homosexual lobbies’ agendas.

The latest lecture was in part about the family and was delivered by Ignacio Arsuaga, founder and president of Hazte Oír, the largest civic organization in Spain, which last year gathered one and a half million people in Madrid protesting against abortion. Arsuaga spoke about the anti-Christian radicality of the “Zapatero Project” to transform Spanish society, which is a kind of laboratory testing for what Europe will look like tomorrow.

However, perhaps the most impressive lecture given so far was by European MP Magdi Cristiano Allam. He showed that, while moderate Muslims do exist, as a religion Islam is always radical; and that if European leaders do not change their attitude, Eurabia—Islamic Europe—will very soon become a reality.

Duke Paul giving a lecture.

Catolicismo — Is this work of raising awareness and mobilizing yielding results?

Duke Paul — Judging from public participation in our lectures and coalition meetings, there is no doubt. Practically all the conservative currents active in European institutions participate in our events; both the elite of the very cosmopolitan society of Brussels today, and the high Belgian nobility.

Catolicismo — What is your specific work?

Duke Paul — It is to have no specific work! I am the “face” of the Bureau and, as such, responsible for establishing and maintaining contacts with high-ranking officials, parliamentary staff, leaders of conservative associations, and the Belgian elite. And, on the other hand, to supervise the organization of the Bureau’s activities.

Catolicismo — That certainly does not leave a whole lot of time for other pursuits…

Duke Paul — It does leave a little bit of time, which has allowed me, for example, to launch on the Internet an ongoing campaign against abortion and homosexual “marriage” in Luxembourg. The campaign is called SOS Vita and has already carried out some successful initiatives.

Catolicismo — Which ones, for example?

The Grand Duke of Luxembourg (pictured with the Grand Duchess) refused to sign the legalization of euthanasia, which the Christian-Democratic Party tried to establish in his country“Another aspect of our activities is to favor the formation of resistance networks in various areas: right to life, family, religious values etc.”

Duke Paul — The first was an email campaign asking the Luxembourg deputies not to approve a bill introduced by the Jean-Claude Juncker Administration that would make abortion in that country even worse. We were warned by friends from Luxembourg that the government was moving to have the bill approved on the sly, so we organized an Internet-based petition drive. In the first few days of the campaign, the Luxembourg Parliament’s website was flooded with a huge number of emails sent to the deputies. Their IT supervisor went so far as to threaten to sue our Internet Provider for obstructing the Parliament’s works.

The end result was that the bill, which had been marked “priority” for discussion last July, right before the Luxembourg deputies were to leave on vacation, was put on the “back burner.”

Catolicismo — Really interesting. Is there any other case like that?

Duke Paul — Yes. At the end of last year we organized a petition to Prime Minister Juncker, leader of the Christian Democratic Party of Luxembourg (CSV), which has been in power since the First World War. In it we denounced the fact that the Party’s present program is contrary to its “Christian” name, since at the end of 2008 it imposed the legalization of euthanasia. The Grand Duke refused to sign that law and was stripped of part of his constitutional powers. And now, in addition to aggravating the abortion law the Party was seeking to recognize so-called same sex “marriages” and allow adoption by same-sex pairs.  We added that such legislative measures would cause a religious conflict in the Grand Duchy, because its citizens (Catholics, for the most part) would have to choose between obeying the Law of God or that iniquitous law of men. As a result, the party had to either eliminate the adjective “Christian” from its name or reform its program.

We sent the text of this petition to half of all households in Luxembourg—whose population is just half a million—and to the countryside, where the most conservative part of the population, which traditionally votes for the CSV, resides. The petition had such a huge repercussion that the main radio and television station of Luxembourg (RTL, which, incidentally, is Europe’s largest radio station) interviewed me and for 48 hours posted news on the petition among the top news of its web site. Jean-Claude Juncker did not answer, but neither did he move ahead with his projects.

Duke Paul, on the streets, campaigning and distributing flyers during a campaign of Pro Europa Christiana Federation.

Catolicismo — Does this not characterize foreign interference in the internal affairs of a small country such as Luxembourg?

Duke Paul — If this were done in South America, your objection would be quite correct. But we should not forget that due to the European Union and the absolute freedom of circulation for people, goods and services that it has imposed, as well as the erosion of national sovereignties (with a common currency, for example), in Europe this objection is no longer valid.

Moreover, in the specific case of Luxembourg, Juncker cannot complain because during the first Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, it was Luxembourg’s turn on the rotating presidency of Europe (which changes every six months), and Juncker was at its head. He made a vehement appeal to the Irish to approve the Treaty even though it curtailed Irish sovereignty in many ways. On that occasion, he stated, “I am not Irish, I am Luxembourgian, and therefore, European; and therefore, a little bit Irish.”

I can say the same about me with much more reason, as in my veins flows the blood of many European nations with whose former sovereigns my forefathers united in marriage…

Catolicismo — If Your Highness allows me, I would like you to deal a little bit, not directly with the Bureau but with the Federation itself, what it is and what its goals are.

Duke Paul (at the back) with representatives of organizations that make up the Federation Pro Europa Christiana“My conversion was the greatest grace I’ve received in my life; and your question is for me an occasion to bear witness to it and thank God for such an undeserved favor

Duke Paul — The Federation was founded in 2002 and brings together eight European associations that work in six countries of Western, Central and Eastern Europe. Inspired by the thought and methods developed by the great Brazilian Catholic leader, Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, these associations aim to defend Christian principles in the social order. The Federation does not intervene in the internal organization and activities of its member associations, which maintain their own specific characteristics. But it tries to help them promote their common goals on a European level. It also seeks to help bring about awareness of shared European values and particularly of the Christian heritage that shaped the grandeur of Europe and is at the root of its spiritual patrimony.

Catolicismo — Does the Federation carry out other relevant activities in addition to the Brussels Bureau?

Duke Paul — Two activities in particular, both based in France: a center for research and exchange of know-how, especially in the field of Internet-based information technologies, close to Chartres. And a youth formation center in the city of Creutzwald, on the border between France and Germany, where it holds formation courses for new and prospective volunteers of the Federation’s member organizations.

Catolicismo — Before closing, if you don’t mind, I would like to ask about Your Highness’ conversion to the Catholic Church, becoming the first male Catholic convert of your family since your forefathers  adhered to Luther’s pseudo-Reformation 500 years ago.

Duke Paul — I don’t mind it, because it was the greatest grace I’ve received in my life; and your question is for me an occasion to bear witness to it and thank God for such an undeserved favor. With Our Lady’s help, my conversion took place in two successive stages. In a first phase, grace opened my soul to the horizons of the Counter-revolution, and only afterward to the ambience of the Catholic Church.

I studied agronomy at the University of Goettingen, a large center of higher learning near the border with former East Germany. At the university, a young Prussian noble friend of mine created a student association, The Goettingen Circle, to defend the rights of former proprietors whose lands had been expropriated and had neither been returned nor compensated for after the reunification of Germany.

Perhaps none of his works, however, has had such a profound impact as the essay, Revolution and Counter-Revolution, translated into the world’s major languages.

This student leader organized with members of the German TFP a weekend course of formation on strategies of ideological action. One of the lectures was about the present-day crisis and the historic process described in Revolution and Counter-Revolution, by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira. I had always admired the Middle Ages, castles, cathedrals, chivalry, the crusades, and was enthusiastic with the lecture even though it also showed that the Protestant pseudo-Reformation was the first Revolution that shook the medieval order of things which I admired.

This also caused some of us Lutheran participants to take an interest in learning more about Catholic doctrine.

A little later, members of the German TFP placed us in touch with Msgr. Rudolf-Michael Schmitz and we went to visit him at the Bavarian house of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, of which he was the superior in Germany at the time. Over long conversations, he expounded clearly on the difference between the well-balanced Weltanschauung [worldview] of the Catholic Church and the pessimistic Weltanschauung of the Lutheran doctrine on justification.

At a certain point, Msgr. Schmitz invited us to attend the Holy Mass he was about to celebrate in the old rite, the Tridentine rite, facing God. It was in the sacral silence and watching the beauty of the gestures and celebration of this Mass that I understood, as in a flash, that the Catholic Church is the only true Church of the One and Only True God.

After a few months of formation, I abjured Protestantism and was received into the Catholic Church in Rome by Most Rev. Custódio Alvim Pereira, Archbishop Emeritus of Lourenço Marques, today Maputo, capital of Mozambique.

Catolicismo — And on that occasion Your Highness joined the German TFP?

Duke Paul speaks at a ceremony commemorating the centennial of the birth of Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, in December 2008 After a few months of formation, I abjured Protestantism and was received into the Catholic Church in Rome through the hands of Archbishop Custódio Alvim Pereira

Duke Paul — No, that took another few years. Shortly afterward I married and went to work in the Russian boondocks for a multinational agribusiness company. After some time, I realized I would be unable to work and to raise my children properly there, and decided to return to Germany. There I resumed my contacts with members of the German TFP, especially Mr. Atílio Faoro, an Italian-Brazilian who did counter-revolutionary apostolate in Frankfurt. He invited me to participate in a TFP summer course in which I was particularly impressed with the work carried out by the young men of the American TFP in their country’s universities and with the personality of Prince Bertrand de Orleans and Braganza.

On that occasion, I was given a copy of the book, Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pope Pius XII, by Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, which I started to read as soon as I was back home. Reading the Pope’s words and Dr. Plinio’s commentaries on the natural leadership role of the nobility in the direction of society, as well as the extremely grave obligations that this entails for nobles, I was faced with a dilemma: either I changed the direction of my life—with my wife’s consent—placing all that Providence has given me at the service of the Counter-Revolution, or I would sink into the mediocrity of a correct but frustrating little life, or even worse, try to imitate the scandalous lives of “jet-set” royalty. During that blessed reading, I understood that my vocation really was to be a counter-revolutionary in the blessed ranks of those who follow the example of Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira.

This was the second greatest grace of my life after my conversion to Catholicism: to devote myself to the cause of Christian civilization in order to hasten the coming of the Reign of Mary, as foreseen by Our Lady at Fatima. This is what I try to contribute towards with my modest work at the Brussels Bureau of the Pro Europa Christiana Federation.

Catolicismo — Would you like to send a message to Catolicismo readers?

Duke Paul — Of course. Let them have an ever greater devotion to Our Lady, who really is the Refuge of Sinners, Comforter of the Afflicted and Help of Christians! And also because she is the one who will crush the head of the serpent—the Revolution—and restore Catholic civilization, as promised at Fatima.

Our Lady Help of Christians, Statue at the Headquarters of the American TFP

( translation.)

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