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ROME, Italy, June 15, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) has spoken out against a proposed anti-“homophobia” and anti-“transphobia” law that they say would threaten free expression. According to a CEI statement released last Wednesday, “adequate safeguards with which to prevent and repress any violent or persecutory behavior” are already in place.

“Not only are there no regulatory gaps in these areas, but there are also no gaps that justify the urgency of the new provisions,” the Italian bishops pointed out.

“On the contrary, a possible introduction of further incriminating regulations would risk opening up to liberticidal drifts, so that – rather than sanctioning discrimination – one would end up hitting the expression of a legitimate opinion,” they wrote, adding that this has already been proven by “the experience of the systems of other nations in which similar regulations have already been introduced.”

The bishops mentioned, as an example, that “subjecting to criminal proceedings those who believe that the family, in order to be one, requires a father and a mother – and not the duplication of the same figure – would mean introducing a crime of opinion.”

Such a crime of opinion would limit “personal freedom, educational choices, the way of thinking and being, the exercise of criticism and dissent.”

Instead of pushing new laws on the people of Italy, the bishops argued for promoting “educational commitment in the direction of serious prevention, which will help to avoid and counter any offense to the person. There is no need for polemics or reciprocal excommunications on this, but a willingness to engage in genuine and intellectually honest discussion.”

Although the Italian bishops came out against the new law, a change to the Church’s teaching on homosexuality is pushed by a new book published by Luciano Moia, a senior journalist for the Italian Bishops’ Conference’s daily newspaper Avvenire.

In his book, Church and Homosexuality: An investigation in the light of Pope Francis’ magisterium, Moia focuses on the question of chastity, arguing that the definition of the term chastity needs to be revised. He wonders whether chastity in the context of homosexuality is to be understood like marital chastity, namely as “[r]espect, fidelity and commitment to mutual help in the relationship,” or as “absolute abstinence.”

“Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,’” the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches (CCC 2357). “They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

In May, a book commissioned by the Austrian Bishops’ Conference also argued for the Church to accept homosexuality.

The book claimed that homosexual relationships come from God, revealing God’s “goodness and humanity.” It called upon the Church to change her teaching against homosexuality and to bless homosexual relationships.

In February, the people of Switzerland voted to make “homophobia” a crime.

The new legislation in Switzerland added the aggravating circumstance of a victim’s homosexuality to the original 1994 anti-discrimination and “hate speech” law in the country’s penal code that already criminalized discrimination on the basis of race or religion.

However, it is not yet clear how the new law will be applied in practice. Sanctions for discrimination and “hate speech” under the original law have been usually limited to fines, only rarely moving up to a suspended prison sentence.

The bishops in Switzerland were largely silent on the new legislation.

“The doctrine of the Catholic Church expresses itself with out exception against all calls to hate and discrimination against persons or groups,” was the comment placed on the Swiss Bishops’ Conference website. “It will be up to citizens to judge whether this principle is already sufficiently enshrined in the existing legislation or whether it should be extended.”

Meanwhile, Polish President Andrzej Duda has pledged to stop the advance of the agenda of homosexuality and gender ideology. His campaign platform includes a section promising “an end to ideological LGBT propaganda in public institutions” and “the right of parents to decide in what spirit to shape their children.”

Duda also mentioned the fact based in natural law that “parents above all are responsible for the sexual education of their children.” He expressed support for “the parents’ decisive influence on the form and substance of optional classes in schools,” as well as homeschooling.

On June 10, President Duda told supporters that the family is crucial to Poland and that the traditional definition of marriage will prevail.

“The family deserves special support from the state,” as it “protects and builds society.”

“Our identity has helped us to weather the toughest times in childhood. The Polish family has preserved our values. The family is a special value, which demands special protection from the state.”

“Marriage is a relationship between women and men, and so it will remain,” Duda said, echoing the definition of marriage as understood by society until very recently.