Italian Bishops Push Parliament Against Gay Rights

Italian lawmakers are coming under increased pressure from the Roman Catholic hierarchy to follow church teaching and oppose civil rights advancement for gays.

In late March, the Italian bishops warned Catholic politicians that they have a moral duty to oppose legislation that gives legal protections to gay couples. The directive from the Italian Bishops Conference came during the Parliament’s consideration of a bill pushed by the fragile government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi that would grant numerous rights to gay and straight couples alike.

According to Reuters, Senator Maria Luisa Boccia blasted the directive, saying “This is something that happens in societies we criticize as Islamized.”

On March 13, Pope Benedict XVI issued a lengthy letter that included a section on the duty of lawmakers to reflect church teaching on abortion, end-of-life care and marriage.

“Catholic politicians and legislators,” he said, must “introduce and support laws inspired by values grounded in human nature,” the Religion News Service reported. Benedict said those values include “respect for human life, its defense from conception to natural death, (and) the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman.”