Assault catholics February 12, 2007Posted by dorigo in news, personal, politics.
As devout Portugal prepares to vote a public referendum which proposes to loosen its abortion law -one of the strictest of Europe-, the italian government has recently prepared a law that grants the same dignity and rights that married couples enjoy to stable and certified long term sentimental relationships -even same-sex ones. An act of civility addressing the needs of our society which many other european states have already made.
In less catholic countries, things have been easier. But in Italy and Portugal, ecclesiastics feel they are strong, and they do not stand still.
Pope Ratzinger himself has been repeatedly warning italian legislators to avoid derating marriage, as if the proposed law reduced the rights of married couples; and the whole army of bishops, cardinals and priests has followed suit, with daily interviews, public appearances, preaches and the like. Cardinal Ruini (pictured on the left) said today that the Church is going to express clearly their views and guidelines to catholic members of the italian parliament in a well-thought document, obviously implying that they feel they have the right to not only express their views, but to expect followers to apply their directives.
In Portugal, in the meantime, the battle is still fiercer. I read today on the Herald Tribune that an assault reverend sent home school kids with letters to the parents containing descriptions of abortion more suited for surgery reference guides, containing descriptions of fetuses cut to pieces and other disturbing details. And US anti-abortion activists are chartering to Lisbon to protest in the streets, waving plastic fetuses made in China.
The truth is that the conservative application of the abortion law in Portugal is causing thousands of illegal abortions, many of which end with the death of the mother, tough jail sentences to medical personnel who practices the abortions, escapes to Spain of wealthy women to obtain a legal abortion there, and in a few other cases the deliberate killing of newborns.
We had quite the same situation in Italy in the seventies, before a law similar to the one proposed in Portugal was passed. And it took years of fights with the integralist catholics, who to this day continue to actively try to sabotage the rightful application of the law in Italy.
I think the Church is going too far, and its behavior will backfire violently. Because italian citizens, even the most observant catholics, have shown in the past they can think with their own minds, by voting against the diktat of the ecclesiastics in several occasions. And there is a general feeling of unease with the continuous interference of the Vatican with the political agenda. I believe the same feeling is bound to grow in Portugal.
The more radical the Church shows to be, the fewer followers it is going to have. Pope Johannes Paul II had understood it, and had softened his own position in several occasions, to adapt to the needs of modernity. The training is not finished for Ratzinger, apparently – but it might be too late for him.