There was a puzzling piece at the Italian site Formiche, with comments by Bp. Nunzio Galantino, whom Pope Francis appointed as General Secretary to the Italian Bishops Conference.
Let’s see a few quotes from His Excellency:
I hope that the Italian Church can talk about any topic at all, about married priests, the Eucharist for the divorced, homosexuality, without taboos.
“Without taboos”. Were this from someone other than a Catholic bishop, I would suspect the use of code language. “Without taboos” sounds like code language for adapting doctrine to worldly trends. Also, Pope Francis signed off on the excommunication of the Australian heretic, the former-Father Greg Reynolds. He is still excommunicated.
“In the past we were exclusively focused on ‘no’ to abortion and euthanasia. It can’t be like this, in the middle of this there is existence which develops.
I think this means that, because we live in 2014, we have to focus on other things because, “in the middle of this there is existence which develops… in mezzo c’è l’esistenza che si sviluppa”. Hey, life goes on! We evolve. Right? We move beyond the past. It is unthinkable that he is saying that we have to “develop” to a point where we say “yes” to abortion, instead of “no”.
I spent a lot of time in Italy. I am unaware that bishops and priests there were exclusively focused on abortion or euthanasia. As a matter of fact, you would hear about those horrors from the pulpit so rarely that you would have thought the Church to be indifferent to them. On the other hand, there were great groups of lay people who banded together to create some extremely well attended public days of demonstration in favor of life. They even recited the Rosary.
More about those people who recite Rosaries:
I don’t identify with the blank faces of those who recite the Rosary outside of clinics which practice the interruption of pregnancy, but with those young people who are against this practice and struggle for the quality of persons, for their right to health, to work.
“Interruption of pregnancy”? This is a very odd expression in Italian for someone – a Catholic bishop – whose default position must be staunchly pro-life. And I wonder what bishops in these USA would think about one of their brothers in the episcopate describing them as reciting the Rosary with blank faces.
I am sure that we will be able to learn more about what Bp. Galantino really means to communicate. When people are not accustomed to interviews, and they speak off-the-cuff, they can sometimes say things in a way that they don’t really intend.
The Holy Father will visit the Diocese of Cassano allo Jonio next 21 June.
Reactions to Bp. Galantino’s remarks, in Italian: