ROME, September 13, 2013 ( – Replacing terms like mother and father with “Parent 1 and Parent 2” is not an innocuous defense of “equality” but the beginning of a complete re-write of Italian society, a prominent Italian cardinal said this week.


Changing the categories of family life and genealogy could send “a real earthquake” through the social structure.

The expression, that has already been proposed for all official documents related to public housing and kindergarten placements in the city of Venice, will make “the category of fatherhood and motherhood disappear, to be replaced by the generic category of ‘parenting,’” the Cardinal Archbishop of Bologna, Carlo Caffarra, said.

Speaking in a keynote address at a conference at the Teatro Manzoni in Bologna this week, Cardinal Caffarra identified the largest question facing Italian society: “Is marriage a reality at the disposal of the men, or does it have a ‘hard core’ that is not open to human preference?”

“Is the definition of marriage…exclusively dependent on social consensus?” he further asked. “Is it the social consensus which decides what marriage is?”

Cardinal Caffarra said that the main focus for the work of Catholic teachers should be understanding the primacy of marriage between man and woman, which has as its foundation the “intrinsic ability to give rise to a new the human person.”


He called fatherhood or motherhood “highest capacity and responsibility that men and women have,” because it is “one of the points where the creative action of God enters our created universe.”

In the modern world – busy with the reconstruction of marriage to include same-sex partners – the term “love” has been drained of its true meaning, he added.

“Have you noticed that I have carefully steered away from using the word ‘amore’?” Caffarra said. “Why? Because it’s been stolen.”

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“Indeed, ‘love,’ one of the key words for the Christian, has been taken from modern culture and made into an empty term, a kind of container where everyone puts what he feels. For this reason, the ‘truth in love’ today finds little support.”

He quoted Pope Benedict XVI in the encyclical Caritas in Veritate, saying, “Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled arbitrarily. It’s fatal to risk love in a culture without truth.”

He warned the teachers in the audience, “The witnesses of the truth of conjugal life will be difficult, as not infrequently happens to the witnesses of the truth. But this is the most urgent task of the educator.”

Yesterday the President of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, echoed the same topics in his opening address to the 47th annual Social Weeks conference in Turin. To “weaken the family,” Bagnasco said, or “worse destabilize the meaning of the person, is to destabilize society.”

Although he did not directly mention the Parent 1 and Parent 2 controversy, Bagnasco added that “the person receives life through fruitful love of Dad and Mom.”

“You’re starting to deconstruct the sexual dimension to match the social,” he said. And by insisting on this ontological “liquidity” of the human person, we “run the risk of being pulverized in an indistinct egalitarianism that erases the rock of sexual and generational differences, thus eliminating the possibility of being father and mother, son and daughter.”