A Nation's Suicide

Italian Bishops Lament Low Birthrate, Unemployment

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ROME, MAY 27, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The president of Italy’s episcopal conference says the two most important problems facing the nation are the “demographic winter” and unemployment.

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, said this Tuesday when he opened the conference’s plenary assembly.

He warned about a “slow demographic suicide to which Italy is headed.”
 
More than 50% of Italian families today do not have children and among those that do, almost half have only one child, the rest have two. Only 5.1% of families have three or more children.
 
“Because of this, an urgent policy is needed that is oriented to children, which is geared henceforth to a balanced generational change-over,” the prelate stressed.

He called for “innovation that can liberate the future of our society.”
 
“The family based on that unalterable good that is marriage between one man and one woman must be defended and constantly preserved as a crucible of moral energy, determinant when it comes to giving perspectives of life to our present time,” Cardinal Bagnasco affirmed.
 
For their part, the bishops assumed the commitment “in family ministry and in marriage preparation, to work to root even deeper the idea that children are gifts that multiply the credit to life and its tomorrow.”
 
Better effort
 
The episcopal conference president said the other essential point for Italy is employment, which is “the resource, or better, the minimum quota of capital that society provides to every citizen, in particular to young people in search of their first job, so that they can be inserted in society and, finding meaning in what they do, feel useful as protagonists of growth and development.”
 
The growing employment crisis is “a concern that causes anguish, and which brings us to appeal for more effort from all types of leaders of the country: politicians, businessmen, bankers and trade unions,” stressed the prelate.

Cardinal Bagnasco urged the government and society to promote small and medium-sized industries, research and tourism, agriculture and craftsmanship, and to facilitate other means of economic stability.

He said it is important to “encourage the individuals who best express the qualities of the territory and can best absorb and re-motivate the creation of employment.”

Abuse

The 67-year-old cardinal also considered the scandal caused by the sexual abuse of minors by the clergy. He encouraged the faithful “to live this time of trial in a Christian way,” above all “in terms of an examination of conscience.”

The prelate expressed gratitude to Benedict XVI, saying that he, “like Peter, has gone before us and carried the cross first.”

The involvement of priests in this scandal causes “bitterness, if not anger” the cardinal acknowledged, because of “betrayed hopes.” He expressed to the victims “all our grief, our profound remorse and cordial closeness [to you] for having suffered such a grave sin and odious crime.”

The cardinal classified pedophilia as a “frightening sin” and lauded the Pope for his unbending attitude toward “every filth” in the Church and his support for “transparent decisions and a cleanup.”

“From him the Church has learned and learns not to be afraid of the truth, even when it is painful and odious, not to silence it or cover it up,” Cardinal Bagnasco said.

At the same time, he energetically criticized the hypocrisy of a culture that justifies and favors pornography and perversion, or covers “disgraceful choices of leisure and tourism.”
 

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