Migrants: Italian Church members urge to stop racism

Letter to bishops signed by 110 Catholic activists

16 July, 15:19

    ROME  - Dozens of members of the Italian Church have sent a letter to the Italian Bishops' Conference (CEI) and to all the bishops singularly to urge them to intervene to stop racism, as demanded by the Gospel and Pope Francis.

    A reported 110 people signed the appeal, including parish priests and directors of Catholic charity Caritas, professors from Catholic universities, scout chiefs, nuns from religious congregations and diocese operators.

    The letter did not name anyone but warned bishops from those, "including representatives of institutions", who contribute to the growth of a "culture with marked elements of refusal and fear of foreigners, racism and xenophobia". "In this context, many think that it is possible to be Christians and, at the same time, refuse or mistreat immigrants, denigrate those who have less or come from afar, exploit their work and marginalize them in degrading contexts. There is also an exploitation of the Christian faith through the use of religious symbols like the cross or rosary of verses from the Scripture, sometimes blasphemous or offensive". The letter's promoters cited in particular Cardinal Pietro Parolin and the president of CEI, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti. "But there are still few voices of the Pastors who prophetically remind what it means to be faithful to the Lord", says the letter.

    According to the appeal's promoters, nothing justifies the Church's silence - "neither fear of being misunderstood or politically labeled not the fear of losing economic privileges or enduring rejection or ecclesiastical or civil exclusion".

    Welcoming migrants isn't enough, the letter says, there is now an "urgency" to "announce with the means we have that the dignity of immigrants, the poor and the disadvantaged is holy for us". The initiative - explained Rocco D'Ambrosio, a professor of political philosophy from the Gregorian University in Rome, is among the promoters and signatories of the letter - came from a "spontaneous discussion, from the need to rally around the values of Christianity". The appeal was also published by the website 'carcasiunfine' (or looking for an end), which is continuing to collect signatures. (ANSAmed).

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