Benedict XVI is expressing concern over the recent violent clashes near Mt. Vesuvius in Italy, sparked by people protesting the opening of a new garbage dump in that region.
Dozens of police were injured by protestors last week in Terzigno and Boscoreale, two towns in the province of Naples, after the governor, Stefano Caldoro, made known his intention to open a second landfill in Cava Vitiello.
The rioters have since been torching vehicles and throwing rocks and fireworks at the police officers.
Bishop Beniamino Depalma of Nola affirmed that the Pope "is following with paternal attention the troubling news coming from the territory of Terzingno."
He noted that the Pontiff sent a message to manifest his "spiritual nearness" to the population and express the hope that, "with the agreement and good will of all, a just and shared solution to the problem be found."
On Saturday, in an attempt to placate protesters, the head of civil protection, Guido Bertolaso, said that he will ask parliament to exclude the proposed site from those foreseen by the 2008 law dealing with the garbage disposal crisis in the region of Campania. The region has had numerous difficulties with garbage disposal.
However, the protesters were unsatisfied and have continued with the riot.
Right to health
The Diocese of Nola published a statement on its Web site affirming that Bishop Depalma is "near to his people and has solidarity with those who, with dignity, ask only the right to health and the protection of their environment."
It noted, "The people of Vesuvius only want to have the 'right to breathe' clean air to be able to live a normal life."
At the same time, however, the diocese urged the people "to calm, to reasonableness, to nonviolence."
"The protest is just," it stated, "but, as it has been carried out by honest and peaceful people, it is necessary to make one's voice heard without recourse to violence and within the limits of legality."
The diocese appealed to the relevant institutions "so that they listen to the quite valid reasons of the Vesuvian people."
It stated: "The opening of a new garbage dump would be to bring about the definitive death of a place where development, labor and tourism must be firmly reestablished. The law is for man and not man for the law."
The statement urged local administrators "not to liquidate our land."
It continued: "Money and environmental compensations do not justify the buying and selling of a place. It is better to be poor and have dignity than to be subjugated and destined to live with poison.
"No one has the right, we cry out in the name of God, to buy the dignity of a people neither to protect their image nor for political election propaganda."
The statement concluded, "We all have a grave duty: to hand on the earth to new generations in a condition that permits them inhabit it with dignity and further cultivate it."
In an interview with Vatican Radio, Bishop Depalma stressed that "the people are deluded by the many promises made but are above all desperate because of this new possibility of a second garbage dump in the Vesuvius National Park at the expense of the vineyards that constitute the most important economic resource in the entire area."
He added, "The people are also desperate for their lives, for their health, which have been greatly threatened by this decision of the government."
Although the Naples region has a presence of organized crime, the prelate expressed his opinion that the local mafia is not behind these clashes. He said, "These reactions come from the desperation and worry about the very uncertain and also very dangerous future."