The Archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio, Luigi Negri, has likened the proposed Italian laws against “homophobia” to a reemergence of fascism and the “dark times of state ideology” in Italy.

The archbishop warned that the bill which proposes to criminalize “homophobia,” will introduce “for the first time since the end of fascism 70 years ago, a crime of opinion that evokes the dark and troubled times, long subdued and always believed to be over, of state ideologies.

“Times in which the State identified ideological positions which it forcibly imposed, and suppressed all those which did not match,” he added.

Archbishop Luigi Negri

“In defending a certain lifestyle and its supporters, but especially those who theoretically profess homosexuality and practice it in society, the state discriminates in a serious and irreparable manner against other opinions and lifestyles,” said the archbishop.

“Our people risk losing the fundamental freedom of expression, freedom of choices, options, views and conceptions of life that make up the core of the experience of the people,” Negri told the weekly magazine Tempi.

The archbishop warned that priests and bishops who simply quote from certain passages of Scripture, or from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “could be brought to the authorities.”

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Italian Christianity, said Negri, must not forget the teaching of Pope John Paul II in the encyclical Centesimus Annus, and continue to defend their freedom. Because “every time we strive to secure our freedom, we defend the freedom of all, and every time we lose our freedom or it is limited, it is lost or restricted for all.”

“In the past three years, more than 100,000 Christians have been massacred in many countries around the world because of a disregard for the freedom of conscience,” said the archbishop.

“Is it possible that the 'defense of homosexuality' has priority over this real problem and is more important than the freedom of conscience?”