“New ideological colonizazions”

The condemnation of Cardinal Bagnasco, president of the Italian Bishops' Conference. Strong words in defense of the family, the poor, the young and the elderly

An “intense roadmap”, ahead of the Ordinary Synod on the Family in October at the Vatican and, at the same time, ahead of the decennial ecclesial congress in Florence (9-13 November) on Christian humanism. Alongside these ecclesial events, eyes open on current affairs: from the upcoming election of the new President of the Republic, to escalating Islamic terrorism, the economic crisis, Europe in search of a soul along with the worrying phenomenon that Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco defined – on the basis of the words of the Pope – the “ideological colonization” implemented by obscure, anti-popular forces. These are the highlights of the speech delivered on January 26 by the president of the Italian bishops at the Permanent Episcopal Council: a comprehensive speech, characterized in the opening and closing phrases by deeply spiritual thoughts. In the introduction His Eminence recalled the heartfelt words of Pope Francis to the faithful of Manila hit by the “deadly typhoon”; in the concluding part he invited the faithful to “be piously humiliated” by the “blood of the Christian martyrs” of our times, killed “one every five minutes” in many parts of the world. Threats to life and to the family. “Let us beware of new ideological colonizations … that seek to destroy the family”, warned Cardinal Bagnasco, recalling the speech to the families of the Pope in Manila (16 January). This concern was echoed repeatedly in the opening address, from the attempt to recognize “affective units irrespective of marriage and the two genres” to “declare abortion as a fundamental right so as to prevent conscientious objection” to the request of “abortion postpartum.” Quoting the attempt to impose the theory of “gender” in schools, “colonizing the minds of children” with a “distorted anthropological vision”, the Cardinal warned not only the Christian community but also the public at large, not to fall in the trap. Moreover, the cardinal said: “we bishops will be at the forefront all costs, also in the area of justice, for the poor and as regards the welfare state”. The “nihilist void” of the West. As regards Islamic fundamentalism “in its far-dated shapes and forms and in the recent horrifying aberrations”, Cardinal Bagnasco spoke loud and clear. He mentioned its “flaunted violence, brazen cruelty, anguished paroxysm”, as the same executioners “are aware that they are losers before rapid historical developments”. But he also called upon Europe to interrogate herself on the reasons why so many youths recruit into ISIS. “One of the reasons – he said – is that a certain kind of Islamic fundamentalism fills the nihilist void of the Western world”, as precisely the latter “has emptied collective consciousness of spiritual and moral values, suffocating it with things but not pertaining to beauty, truth, and goodness”. Work comes first. “The economic crisis persists even if, at European level, positive and promising signs have been acknowledged” the Cardinal said. These words of confidence also recognize that “the blade of discomfort continues to haunt many families that fail to make it to the end of the month; elderly who await their meager pensions, eating bread and loneliness; young people worried over an uncertain future, who knock – not infrequently disheartened – at the doors of labour; adults who have lost their jobs and have families to support and commitments to be honoured.” He thus made a very compelling appeal to the leaders with responsibilities for labour and employment: “With respect and strong conviction, aware of our duty as pastors, we call upon those in positions of responsibility in public bodies to think about this before anything else, which – however necessary or opportune – which is felt by people as distant from their everyday problems”. And to not let themselves be persuaded or convinced to sell the “family jewels”, in order to “pay the debts”, referring to companies “which we must be proud of”. The latter are “a succulent, coveted prey” which “those who have not at heart the good of our country seek to exploit.” His Eminence shared the wish that the new Head of the State may be a person of “recognized dignity and proven industriousness”: the appeal of the cardinal is: “honesty, sacrifice and responsibility,” even for State bodies and employees (against corruption), with the hope that “honest capitals” may be invested in the Country’s recovery.

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