Italy: Reactions to the proposal of a CSP

Source: FSSPX News



Last September 12, Romano Prodi, leader of the Italian opposition party and a practicing Catholic, declared himself in favor of the Civil Solidarity Pact (CPS) in a letter addressed to the principal Italian association for the defense of homosexuals, Arcigay. This pact “will certainly find a solution in the final program of the Union,” wrote the ex-president of the European Commission, with the legislative elections in the Spring of 2006 in mind, when the president of the Italian Council Silvio Berlusconi will enter the fray with the coalition of the parties of the Union.

 On September 13, the Vatican, through the Osservatore Romano, condemned “vote-seeking through an unacceptable tearing apart of the family. This is introducing into the political arena, a natural reality – the family – toward which men and women naturally strive. This reality is founded on marriage, as the Italian constitution itself reminds us. This is therefore an attempt to relativize and to distort with ideology the reality of the family.” Romano Prodi was keen to specify that the CPS “would help to put in order situations which would otherwise cause suffering to tens of thousands of people. This is not about a novel concept of the family, it has nothing to do with marriage or adoption.”

 Roberto Calderoli, Minister for Reforms and a member of the populist party of the Northern League, is opposed to “those who propose the recognition of de facto unions,” because they are “an act against nature.” “I really did not think it possible to stoop so low for a handful of votes.”

On September 14, Cardinal Mario Francesco Pompedda, prefect emeritus of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature, had this to say to the Italian daily, Il Giornale: “It is essential to be very clear, lest the recognition of ‘de facto unions’ be assimilated with or even remotely resemble marriage. But in principle, I am not opposed to the study of juridical forms of tutelage.” “If, from one of these ‘de facto unions’ there are children, they should be defended by imposing duties on their natural parents, even if the latter are not united in marriage.” “Beyond their duties, come rights as well”, which is why it does “not seem opportune that the State ignores the problem completely.” “It cannot be forgotten, that from a ‘de facto union’ which lasts for several years, there is a relationship which cannot but engender rights.” – This declaration is surprising to say the least, coming from the mouth of a cardinal who had expressed strong reservations following the meeting between Benedict XVI and Bishop Fellay on August 29.

 For his part, Cardinal Ersilio Tonini, archbishop emeritus of Ravenna, told the daily Il Tempo, that he considered Romano Prodi’s proposal “very grave”. “I think his declaration is worthy of an anti-democratic regime which does not respect its citizens.”

 On September 15, the Spanish Cardinal Julian Herranz, president of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts of the Catholic Church and a member of Opus Dei, had this to say to the daily La Repubblica: “In my opinion, the legislator, in the exercise of his function, must always act for the common good. He must work constantly, considering the good of his fellow citizens and society’s institutions, among which a special place is due to marriage and the family, which are common goods par excellence.”

 “This is why all the laws which favor the family, founded on marriage, are good – the other laws, on the contrary, which seek to weaken marriage and the family are not as good.” “It is one thing to talk about marriage and the family, another to speak about the rights of people individually, rights which are inalienable. No one wishes to deny it. It is a question of being clear and not creating confusion even of a semantic nature. On personal rights, legislators and lawyers have a vast field of study and intervention, they just need to have more imagination, more creativity. But all of this must not be planned and carried out to the detriment of marriage and the family.”

 The Spanish cardinal was keen to recall that on the occasion of the Congress on the Family organized by the diocese of Rome last June, Benedict XVI condemned cohabitation and homosexual marriage: “The present different forms of dissolution of marriage, such as cohabitation and ‘trial marriage’, even pseudo-marriage between people of the same sex” are “expressions of an anarchic freedom, which passes itself off falsely for the genuine liberation of man.” “Marriage and the family are not casual sociological structures,” and cannot “be replaced by other creations.”

 On September 19, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Italian Bishops Conference, expressed his views on the subject at the Permanent Council of the Italian Bishops Conference who met in Rome from September 19 to 22: “Beyond certain verbal cautions and the names they are given, these proposed laws – which could be called a ‘mini-marriage’ – are modeled largely on the institution of marriage and prefigure something of which there is absolutely no need. On the contrary, this would bring about an obscuring of the true nature and the value of the family, as well as causing it grave harm.”

 “For couples who wish or require juridical protection of their reciprocal relations, there exists the route of common law, broad and adaptable to all situations.” Homosexual couples “are not always seeking legal recognition.” “If certain demands seemed subsequently specific and really justified, prospective norms aiming to defend them, ought certainly not constitute a legislatively preformed model, nor draw up something similar to marriage.”

 On September 21, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State of the Holy See, spoke to the daily La Repubblica: “The so-called ‘de facto couples’ are not our model of the family. For the Church, it is a man and a woman who marry according to the Christian doctrine of the Church. It concerns a value which already existed before Christ.” “As a cardinal and as Secretary of State, I must always recall and preach the model of the family of the Church’s doctrine, of Vatican II, of the Magisterium of the Sovereign Pontiffs and of the universal catechism.” “To speak of unions outside of marriage, does not mean to speak of rights, but of certain aspirations which individuals may resolve if they wish, with individual contracts.” “Desires and aspirations are not always rights” and if “in life, people have many aspirations, to claim that they are rights is quite another matter.” “I can not believe that the Italian State could go that far.”

 “The Church will not remain silent” was the title of an article published in the Osservatore Romano on September 29, in reaction to the heckling endured by the president of the Italian Bishops Conference, during a visit to Siena on September 23.

 The daily newspaper of the Holy See let it be known that “the Church will not remain silent and will not be intimidated on such important issues for man and for society.” Speaking recently to the Permanent Council of the Italian Bishops Conference (IBC), the Italian cardinal described the CPS bill as “gravely harmful to the Italian people.” Moreover, he paid tribute to “the wisdom of the Italian people”, who invalidated the Italian referendum on June 12 and 13 on assisted conception, by a decisive abstention.

 On the afternoon of September 23, during a visit to Siena, the President of the Italian Bishops Conference was heckled by around forty students from the group the “Red Butterflies” which amalgamates various trends of the local left wing youth. Cardinal Camillo Ruini had been invited to speak at a symposium entitled “Karol Wojtyla, the historic role and the thought of John Paul II.” Even before starting his talk, the high ranking prelate was loudly booed and placards appeared with the slogans: “We want to make a CPS deal now”, “We are all homosexuals”, and even “Free love in a free state”.

On September 27, the Secretary General of the Italian Bishops Conference, Mgr. Giuseppe Betori, declared: “The Church is certainly not going to be intimidated,” adding that the intervention by the episcopate “can not in any way be considered as an illegitimate interference, and even less as interference in the life of the country.” The latter, he explained, “represents rather the constructive contribution of Catholicism to the good and to the development of our dear nation.” Mgr. Betori recalled that the protest by the students in Siena was described by the cardinal himself as an “amusing interlude.”

 On the evening of September 27, Cardinal Giovannio Battista Re, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops considered the protesting students’attitude to be “unacceptable”. The Italian cardinal, however, described the event as “minor”, regretting that it had been “blown up out of all proportion by the press.”