Italy: the Patriarch of Venice on the problems of contemporary society

Source: FSSPX News


In an interview given to the Italian magazine Panorama, dated February 24, the Patriarch of Venice regretted the Western demographic decline in the face of the Muslim world. Cardinal Angelo Scola – whose three predecessors all became popes and who is portrayed by the press as papabile for the next conclave – regretted “the Western demographic decline” in the face of the prolific growth of Islam, deeming it a “very serious fact, per se”. “I have adopted the terrible judgment of the American-born British poet and author Thomas S. Eliot (1888-1965), according to whom ’we are the stuffed men,’” adding: “It is true that we, the Europeans, are somewhat stuffed.”

 Responding to the question of whether there might exist a Muslim will to control Europe, the Patriarch of Venice considered that one could not “reduce a whole world – diverse and made up of millions of individuals – to that sort of interpretation.” At the origin of the recent publication of the revue on dialogue with Islam, Oasis, Cardinal Scola expressed a wish that “the meeting” with the Muslims “may not to turn into opposition.” Voicing his opinion on the terrorists who say they represent true Islam, the prelate described them as “counter-witnesses”. In his view, “human bombs represent an unacceptable caricature of martyrdom.” “Fundamentalism is born when ideology becomes the parasite of religion.” “The attitude of the Church is one thing, that of civil authority is another, and that of society is yet another.” “If 250 illegal immigrants landed on the shore, the first thing I would do would be to help them,” he said, regretting nevertheless the attitude of the government, which “is sticking to the immigration policy which has been adopted at European level.”

 Expressing his opinion on homosexual couples, for whom legal status and necessary guarantees are being studied in Italy, Cardinal Angelo Scola considers it a matter of urgency “to lead people to the rediscovery of the beauty of marriage between men and women, open to new life.” “I do not see why, in a period of transition and of reflection, one should enfeeble the clear concept of family,” he said, adding that “the best lawyers affirm that the present laws allow all their rights to be respected and all of their demands to be answered” (of homosexuals, ed.).

 Questioned over the contradiction of a pope who is well loved, but who does not seem to be heeded on questions of morality, the patriarch of Venice recalled “the judgment of Paul VI”, according to whom there is “a scission between the faith and life.” According to Cardinal Scola, it can be explained “partly by the weakness of man, and partly by our incapacity to offer a convincing personal witness.” He then spoke about his celibacy and priestly celibacy in general, declaring that “this tradition of the Latin Church is an ideal to be retained.”

 Finally, with regard to the imminent Italian referendum aimed at modifying the law on assisted conception, Cardinal Scola aligned himself with the views of Cardinal Ruini, calling for abstention. “The position of the president met with the unanimity of the Permanent Council of the Bishops Conference,” he declared. “That seems to me an intelligent and decisive commitment.” In his view, “it is not about political elections,” but an “abrogative referendum, which takes into account abstention as a method of giving one’s opinion.” “The Catholics have not asked for this referendum,” he said. “One cannot trivialize the defense of life on a mere ‘yes’ or ‘no’,” adding that “there is no conflict between the faith and biological laws of fertility.”

 Over the last few days there has been an increase in the number of opinions in favor of abstention in this referendum, including that of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, archbishop of Genoa, who “questions a referendum based on a lie.” Likewise, for the secretary of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature, Mgr. Velasio De Paolis, it is necessary “to learn to defend absolute values, as the Americans did in the referendum on bioethics.” According to him, “it is enough to see the power which pressure groups exert on the media, when homosexual marriage, which concerns only 4% of the population, has more space than bioethics, which concerns every citizen.” “This kind of dictatorship by a minority is a threat to democracy,” he said.

 On February 19, Catholic associations and movements announced their support for the “Science and life for law 40/2004” committee, thus mobilizing for abstention in the referendum, planned for Spring 2005. This committee is composed of 110 personalities in the scientific, cultural, professional, political world, and associations. 150 Italian diocesan weeklies have already called for an abstention.