Rorate Caeli

Interview with the only Bishop to take part at Rome's "Family Day" - "It's easy for the other bishops not to be here"

Bishop on the battlefield says: too easy not to expose oneself

Serena Sartini
Il Giornale
January 31st 2016

The Archbishop of Campobasso scolds his absent colleagues and appeals to Mattarella: “If the Cirinnà Bill passes, don’t sign it.”
He is one of the few bishops present at Family Day, perhaps the only one. Without fear of exposing himself or of being criticized by the other bishops, alongside the families, saying no to the Cirinnà  Bill on civil unions and with an appeal to the President of the Republic, [he says]: “I hope that the Bill will be examined by the Head of State, Sergio Mattarella and that he doesn’t sign the decree: it is in conflict with article 29 of the Constitution which states that the family is based on matrimony.”
The Bill should be completely rewritten – or better still, withdrawn
Monsignor Giancarlo Maria Bregantini, Bishop of Campobasso-Bojano, set out at 5 o’clock yesterday morning with a group of faithful from his diocese to be part of a demonstration at Circo Massimo. As a  shepherd does, not  abandoning his sheep.
Your Excellency, why did you want to be part of Family Day?

This is a civic and secular battle, a battle of basic dignity for three reasons: first of all, because the family is of perennial significance; second, because the snares regarding certain  secular positions of some days ago are in the increase; and third, if we give in on the family, we are giving in also on the social level.”

In what sense?

Because freedom cannot exist without the truth, and the truth signifies that God created man and woman with the capacity to give life. If we give in on the freedom of the family, we give in on freedom [even] in business affairs. There will be more dismissals, more poverty and exploitation. This is the mystery in the end, everything is connected.

What kind of “piazza” do you see in Circo Massimo?

A wonderful piazza, peaceful and joyful. It is not the Piazza of the left or the right, it is not the piazza of bishops and lay people. It is the piazza of a lot of people who place the family at the center of society. And I also want to be here to say what the lay people have in their hearts.

What is it about the “Cirinnà Bill” that doesn’t convince you?
It is an ambiguous government bill, terribly contaminated. Is everything now licit and the same? This is not good at all. It is to be completely rejected, it is wrong to put homosexual unions on the same footing as the family. Even more to be rejected is the idea of allowing the adoption of children by “the partner”.  

Will the government listen to the Circo Massimo “piazza”
I think so, because two million people gathered together in the same place; these are not virtual numbers like last Saturday’s (demonstration pro-Cirinnà) scattered here and there in the squares. Here it was all one; here you experience the presence of a united people. This is  strength and Parliament  cannot think it is the sole representative of a reality which it is not then capable of sharing in and representing.

Do you expect the vote to change next week?

I think so. Renzi cannot ignore the position of so many families. This time it isn’t possible to cheat. What’s difficult it to get all the Catholic institutional forces together - this yes. But the lay base, with no political affiliations, won a long, long battle. Here we have a popular gathering, like the Pope said in Florence - as in Don Camillo…  here you feel the people, and share in their joys and feel their tears.

Monsignor Bregantini, don’t you feel a bit alone? You are the only bishop in this piazza. Is the Church split then on Family day?
Nobody came here in someone else’s name; we had the free choice to come or not and I decided to be here. I came because I felt the need to be beside my people along with the many other people who believe in the family. Certainly, it would have been wonderful to see other bishops in this piazza.

And why didn’t it happen?
On the one hand because they wanted it to be the lay people to do the talking; but on the other, perhaps it’s easier not being here, not exposing oneself…

[Translation:Contributor Francesca Romana]