1.5 Million Italians Turn Out in Massive Rome Protest Against Homosexual Civil Unions
By Gudrun Schultz
ROME, Italy, May 14, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Italians from across the country poured into Rome May 12 to join in a demonstration against a law that would give legal recognition to homosexual couples—reports showed up to 1.7 million people overflowed the St. John Lateran piazza. Organizers initially expected to draw about 100,000.
The proposed legislation would give homosexual couples—and unmarried heterosexual couples—similar rights to those of married couples, stopping just short of legalizing homosexual marriage.
"Living together is not family," protester Anna Manara told the Associated Press.
"A commitment such as marriage cements the bond, while other models make it easier to be together and therefore end up making it less valuable."
While the pro-family demonstration was backed by the Vatican and Italy’s Catholic bishops, it was organized by lay people independently of the Church. The "mind-blowing" success of the event is an outstanding example of the power held by ordinary citizens when sufficiently mobilized in support of traditional values, said Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, a priest in Rome who is the moderator of the Catholic Online Forum (see blogsite: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2007/05/winners-and-losers).
"The importance of this event is not merely that when left to their own devices the Italian people will support traditional values in great numbers, giving the lie to the script presented by the intellectuals in the press. It also means in concrete terms that the traditional values laity can organize and achieve results."
"The success of "Family Day" also highlights a now deeply entrenched trend not only in Italy, but in the West: the marginalization of the Church from the public square," Fr. Zuhlsdorf said. "Nearly everywhere the Church’s is being denied its right to speak freely. Committed Catholic and other religious politicians and public figures and are pressured never to make reference to their religious convictions. The constant mantra is that religion should be a purely private matter than has no influence on public policy. Be religious, fine. But you may never act outwardly on your interior opinions."
Former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi decided to attend the event when he saw an anti-Catholic cartoon about "Family Day" in the Communist Il Manifesto. Speaking out against those who claim to be Catholic while holding positions in opposition to Church teaching, Berlusconi said, "Left-wing Catholics are an insurmountable contradiction."
"You cannot be at the same time Catholics - and as such considerate of the doctrine of the Church and its teachings on various questions - and then stand with those who are cheek by jowl on the other side."
He went on, "In these recent times there is an attack on the freedom of the Church to express its own convictions. There comes to my mind what happened in the Communist countries, the Church of silence that could speak only within the ambit of its own buildings." (Translation by Fr. Zuhlsdorf.)
More than 1,000 U.S. rabbis joined in solidarity with pro-family demonstrators in Rome—Rabbi Yehuda Levin, with the Rabbinical Alliance of America and the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the U.S. and Canada, sent a statement of support and solidarity to organizers of the Rome event and the Warsaw pro-family Congress.
Rabbi Levin applauded "the millions of morally decent family orientated Italians who utterly reject any legislative efforts to accord recognition to homosexual unions."
The rabbi said homosexual activism was "a problem of domestic moral terrorism by those who boldly, flagrantly and proactively agitate to undermine the most basic values of society, a reverence for innocent life, and the Biblically ordained family unit."
"The attempted homosexualization of the Holy Land with sacrilegious parades in Jerusalem, an affront to all religions, as well as the constant homosexual onslaught specifically in the shadows of the Vatican, such as is demonstrated by the debauchery of the homosexual celebrations in Rome 2000, and now again with this evil legislation, is a calculated international disparagement of religion, religious values and religion’s leaders."
A comparatively minute counter-demonstration of homosexual marriage activists in a nearby piazza drew only a few hundred participants. Italy’s Minister of International Trade and European Affairs, Emma Bonino, was in attendance, highlighting the government’s efforts to push through pro-homosexual legislation.
Prime Minister Romano Prodi declared his intention to introduce civil union legislation at the outset of his leadership, but the proposal has become increasingly volatile in the country and has created sharp divides within his own party.
See blogspot commentary by Fr. Zuhlsdorf: