“Converting from me to us”

Prolusion by CEI president Cardinal Bagnasco at the permanent Bishops' Commission

A Church that intends to serve the Country “with the means of weakness and poverty” as taught by Pope Francis, which doesn’t renounce speaking and dealing with all things regarding mankind, since “the shepherds, welcoming the contribution of various sciences, have the right to express opinions on everything related to people’s lives”, said CEI President cardinal Angelo Bagnasco in Rome on March 24, in the prolusion to the Permanent Bishops’ Council meeting, ongoing until March 27. His Eminence called the attention of the confreres bishops on various issues ranging from the contents of the Pope’s message for Lent to the innovations in the CEI statute, from two statements under preparation on Catholic Schools and the “Ordo Virginum”, to the ongoing economic and employment crisis causing increasing poverty across the population. The cardinal also addressed the question of conscientious objection, opposed at European level, and of the promotion of “immoral laws”, spoke of the attacks on life from the beginning to its natural end, of egoism and child exploitation, of women, poverty-stricken population brackets, crime, and ongoing conflicts worldwide. The Cardinal’s prolusion is expected to trigger debates at various levels, owing to ample reference to the freedom of education, “mistreatment” of the Catholic school, attempts to “indoctrination” with LGBT campaigns in schools, worrying phenomena such as “extreme alcoholism” that pose a threat to the future of the young generations.The malaise of broken-up families. The president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference returned to reflect of the various kinds of “misery” mentioned by the Pope: at material, moral and spiritual levels. After six years of crisis, today we realize that “labour and employment were asked to pay a high price” and the results in terms of growing poverty are under everyone’s eyes to see. Cardinal Bagnasco thus invited government and parliament “to prompt consumption without resorting to the perverse logic of consumerism that devours consumers”, voicing his support for “the promoters of job creation in Italy” which affects “squandering as well as institutional and bureaucratic complexities”. His Eminence thus referred to the findings of the 2014 Caritas Report, “False departures”, due to be presented soon, underlining an aspect that not everyone has adequately taken into account: “There are also growing difficulties related to the break-up of conjugal relations – His Eminence said – in terms of occupation and housing.” “66.1% of legally separated couples said they could not afford buying basic necessities.” “These material findings should be added to those regarding fathers-children relations as 68% said that separation has negatively affected their relationship.”If the West wants to corrupt humanism. A relevant part of the prolusion was dedicated to moral themes, such as “the slavery of vice and sin”; which is often a cause of “financial ruin.” This fact highlights the need to continue proclaiming Christian values in a Europe whereby the “alluring violence of ideologies” seems to prevail. To this regard the Cardinal tackled the refusal of conscientious objection that poses serious risks for the protection of life (abortion, euthanasia). He spoke of Western countries, that blackmail poor Countries in exchange of funding grants, thereby prompting those countries to adopt “immoral laws.” “If the West corrupts humanism – His Eminence said – humanism will drift apart from the West and will find other, less ideological and sounder havens”. The deep cause of such behaviour is the diffusion of a “hyper-individualistic vision” that “lies at the origin of world evil” and impacts the family, the economy, finance and politics. The cardinal thus called upon the faithful to undertake a “conversion from ‘I’ to ‘us’ and from mine to ours”, namely, a fraternal thrust that will do the good of society and of the economy. As regards education and schools, he underlined the appointment with the Pope on May 10 and said he deplored ongoing initiatives in schools by Unar on gender-related themes, which he described as “re-education”, and “indoctrination” platforms that oppose what parents want for their children. The Cardinal thus called upon parents to react, “without being intimidated”, since as regards education “there is no higher authority.”

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