Pope supports Italian Bishops (May 30)

Source: FSSPX News


In a speech on May 30, addressed to the members of the Italian Bishops Conference, gathered at the Vatican for their 54th Plenary Assembly, the pope was particularly insistent on the importance of abstention in the forthcoming Italian referendum.

 Benedict XVI recalled that the Italian Bishops were currently engaged in explaining and justifying the choices of Catholics and all citizens on the subject of the imminent referendum on assisted conception. “Your clear and practical commitment is a sign of the solicitude that you, as pastors, have for every human being, who can never be reduced to a means, but is always an end, as Jesus Christ teaches and human reason tells us”, added the pope in the midst of applause. He declared himself close to the Italian prelates “through word and prayer.”

 “Here, we are not working for Catholic interests, but always for mankind, God’s creation”, continued the Sovereign Pontiff. “The same solicitude for the true good of man shows itself in the attention shown to the poor we have amongst us, to the sick, to immigrants and to people decimated by illness and war.”

 Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Italian Bishops Conference, said he was in favor of a “conscientious non-participation in the ballot,” in a speech addressed a little earlier in the Synod room to members of the Italian Bishops Conference. “It is in no way a choice of backing out, but on the contrary, of opposing in a clear and efficient way, an argument which endangers the fundamental human and moral rights of our civilization”.

In his opinion, the debate, which has been developing over the past few weeks in Italy, has had the merit of highlighting that, in concrete terms, “the only way to effectively oppose the aggravation of the law is that of abstaining.” In fact, to vote No is a help, even if unintentional, to those who support the referendum, since this contributes to attaining the quorum, stressed the Italian Cardinal.

The president of the IBC stated that the bishops were not interfering in a partisan struggle, but were concerned solely and in concrete terms with the defense and promotion of man. Cardinal Ruini emphasized the fact that the Italian bishops were not opposed to science and its progress: on the contrary, they admire and support the fruits of research and intelligence. “We wish science to be at the service of the integral good of man: it is not about stopping or putting obstacles in the way of scientific progress, but orientating it in such a way as to not lose sight of the value and dignity of each human being,” he added.

Finally, speaking on the subject of embryo research, he stressed the fact that there exist precisely other means, like those based on adult stem cells, obtainable without killing embryos and which give “concrete clinical results.”

 During the same speech to the Italian bishops this May 30, Benedict XVI declared: “A painful question which demands our greatest pastoral attention, is that of the family”. In Italy, much more than in other countries, the family truly represents the fundamental unit of society. But in Italy also, the family is exposed in the current cultural climate to many dangers and threats. “To the fragility and instability of many couples is indeed added the tendency to question the unique character and the specific mission of the family founded on marriage”, explained the Sovereign Pontiff. “Italy itself is one of the nations where the low birth rate is the most serious and constant, with consequences that are already felt by the whole body of society.”

 Benedict XVI also recalled that next August he would be going to Cologne for the World Youth Days. Speaking of the young people of today, the pope said that they were the hope of the Church, but that they were also particularly exposed to the risk of being “tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine.” The pope considers that they need help to grow and mature in their faith: “This is the first service that they must receive from the Church, and especially from us, as bishops and from our priests”, he said. The Sovereign Pontiff then stressed that in order that they may believe, they must “feel loved by the church, really loved by us, bishops and priests (…). “This is, today, the central point of the enormous challenge of transmitting the faith to the younger generation.”