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Homophobia, the Vatican against the Zan-bill: “Catholics’ freedom of thought at risk”

For the first time, the Vatican officially asks the Italian government to amend a bill, appealing to the Concordat, the “pact” that regulates relations between the Italian state and the Catholic Church. The bill in question is the one born on the initiative of the deputy Pd Alessandro Zan and which has been in the spotlight for months in Italy because, according to several political parties, it could jeopardize freedom of expression by providing severe penalties for opinions that can be classified as offenses based “on sex, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity “.

According to the Vatican Secretariat of State, this bill would violate “the Concordat revision agreement” and for this reason a verbal note was delivered to the Italian Embassy to the Holy See on 17th June by the Vatican secretary for relations with states, Monsignor Paul Richard Gallagher, with the aim “not of blocking” the Zan-bill but of “reshaping it so that the Church can continue to carry out its pastoral, educational and social action freely”. The matter was then forwarded by the Farnesina to the Prime Minister and is being examined by Palazzo Chigi.

Two points highlighted in the document.

In the first, the Vatican stresses that according to the text (which is under discussion in the Senate) Catholic schools would not be exempted from organizing the future “National Day Against Homophobia”. In the second, the Vatican expresses fears for the “freedom of thought” of Catholics, who would risk judicial consequences in expressing their convictions.

These passages are very reminiscent of what is happening in Toronto where a heated debate is underway, even with legal consequences, for the exposure of the LGBTQ2+ flag in Catholic Schools in the “Pride Month”, June. In some boards, trustees close to the LGBTQ2 + movement have tried to pass a motion to approve the display of the rainbow flag in “their” schools: the districts that rejected this motion (only a few approved it), they received an “invitation” to rethink the decision from the Ontario Human Rights Commission, which also aired lawsuits.

Returning to the note delivered by Monsignor Gallagher to the government led by Draghi, it is highlighted that “some contents of the legislative proposal under examination in the Senate reduce the freedom guaranteed to the Catholic Church by article 2, paragraphs 1 and 3 of the revision agreement of the Concordat “. The Holy See claims the legitimacy of its intervention by calling into question Article 2 of the Agreement signed with the Italian Republic in 1984, which speaks of “full freedom to carry out its pastoral mission and to express one’s thoughts”.

“We ask that our concerns be accepted”, finally writes the Holy See to the Italian government.

The Vatican initiative has obviously sparked the debate between political forces in Italy. “We support the Zan law and, of course, we are open to dialogue”, declared the secretary of the Democratic Party (Pd), Enrico Letta: “We are ready to look at the legal issues but we support the implantation of the law which is a law of civilization”. “There is a Concordat, the Vatican is asking for compliance with the Concordat, we will see the government’s response,” said Forza Italia coordinator Antonio Tajani. Who reiterated: “Forza Italia’s position is against the Zan law, but we are not a barracks and there will be someone who can think differently. But this law limits the spaces of freedom instead of making them grow: in the text of the proposal there are positions that end up limiting the freedom of opinion and expression ”.

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