Cardinal Biffi's Farewell Plea for the Family

BOLOGNA, Italy, JAN. 21, 2004 ( Cardinal Giacomo Biffi dedicated his last homily as archbishop of Bologna to the crisis of the family.

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“In present-day society,” he said at a farewell Mass on Sunday, “love between man and woman seems to be altered and degraded in too many ways, besieged by a quest for freedom and individual gratification that is so absolute and abstract that it ends up by being almost inhuman.”

“Today everything seems to be oriented to the affirmation of rights, of needs, of the superiority of the individual, and to obtain an epidermic pleasure instead of the communion of persons,” said Cardinal Biffi, 75, whose resignation for reasons of age has been accepted by the Pope.

This attitude, the cardinal said, also explains the reasons why it is too difficult for many people to understand the “wonder of fertility” in marriage.

Among those attending the cardinal’s farewell Mass were Romano Prodi, president of the European Commission, and Pier Ferdinando Casini, president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, both citizens of Bologna.

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