In his introductory speech to the Italian Episcopal Conference’s permanent council, the bishops’ leader spoke of “styles of life which, if brought to light, it will be difficult to show their compatibility with institutional decorum”
The Italian Prime Minister was neither “kicked out” nor “excommunicated”.
But the speech made by Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco during the opening of the work schedule of the Italian Episcopal’s Conference’s (CEI) Permanent Council, can certainly not be defined as kind.
CEI’s president said: “What is mortifying, is having to record behaviour that not only goes against public decorum, but is intrinsically sad and hollow. This is not the first time we are forced to take note of this: whoever chooses political militancy must be aware “of the scale and the sobriety, the discipline and the honour that this involves, as is attested by our Constitution.” (Prelude to the Permanent Council on 21-24 September 2009 and 24-27 January 2011).”
Bagnasco went on to say that “sadly, stories are being spread fast. If these prove to be true, on different levels, they reveal styles of life that are not really in line with peoples’ dignity or institutional decorum and public life. Many voices have been going round in recent weeks, referring back to us. Perhaps in recent years, it is the reliable voice of the Church’s teachings which is lacking. Teachings which asked and still ask the faithful to lead good lives, free from pansexualism and amoral relativism.”
The leader of the Italian Bishops went on to say that: “Moral responsibility has an internal hierarchy that stands out by itself, regardless of the exploitation that is going on. Licentious behaviour and improper relationships are negative in themselves and harm society, despite their popularity. They poison the air and weigh down the common path.”
The Cardinal referred to Italy’s image on the world stage: “The international community watches the actors on the public stage with dismay and the Country’s external image is becoming dangerously weak. When it becomes evident that the situation is serious, complicated even further by crystallised and unbreakable dynamics and relations, enough to put people’s general wellbeing at risk, and then there can be no winners or losers: each individual is called to act in a responsible and noble manner. Forms of behaviour that is congruent and exemplary and proportionate to the difficulty of the situation, able to convince people to desist from the dangerous game of vetoes and clashing egos.”
In the first part of his introduction, Bagnasco reminded his audience of the events experienced recently by the Church (the Eucharistic congress in Ancona, the Spanish World Youth Day, the Pope’s visit to Germany), pointing to young people as the positive protagonists of these events. It was to them that the bishops’ leader turned: “Do not be indignant or resigned: this is what a fellow Bishop in Spain told his country’s youth, and this is the advice we too give to youngsters in our Country: to move in this direction, taking effective steps to help overcome the crisis, which affects all of us, and do this in a creative not a destructive way.”
The prelate the spoke of the need to put an end to tax evasion: “Honest people must be made to feel valued and the virtuous must be rewarded.” Cardinal Bagnasco did however offer a word of encouragement to Italy: “The path ahead has become more difficult to access and consumerism may have weakened us, but the Italian people of today know that they are as worthy as their predecessors. And they know that yesterday’s conquests must be earned again: indeed, “existential parasitism” is merely the instinct of fragile and desolate minds. The people of this Country, gives the best of itself during the toughest of times: of course, a credible objective is needed, that is worth committing to. This objective does exist; it involves bringing Italy out of the hole in which it finds itself, partly as a result of having been discouraged. Italy must be brought out of this hole, so that it can face up to its historical and cultural responsibilities. This means giving it the future is deserves and which the whole world needs. Italy has a mission to complete, it has had it in the past and it will have it in the future.”
Then came the Cardinal’s abrupt call to the Country: “Italy must not be self-denigrating!”
About the presence of Catholics in the political life of the nation, Bagnasco commented: “The possibility of a cultural and social figure that is able to engage in dialogue with politics seems ever closer. This figure, by combining social ethics and life ethics would bear promising fruit for the future, leaving aside nostalgia and naïve illusions.”
In short, it is to this “figure”, as he likes to call it, that Cardinal Bagnasco gives his “blessing”, not to the Christian Democrats (DC).