· The Pope's message for the Social Week of Italian Catholics ·
“A people that does not look after its elderly, its children and its youth has no future, for it abuses both memory and promise”. Pope Francis said this in his message to Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, President of the Italian Episcopal Conference, on the opening of the 47th Social Week of Italian Catholics, which began on Thursday evening in Turin. In the message the Pontiff paused to speak about the theme of the conference — “The Family, Hope and a Future for Italian Society” — recalling that “as Church we offer a concept of family, which is that of the Book of Genesis. It is a concept of unity in the difference between a man and a woman, and of its fecundity. Besides in this situation we recognize a good for all, the first natural society, as it is understood in the Constitution of the Italian Republic”.
The Italian Head of State Giorgio Napolitano also sent a message to those participating in the Social Week, underlining how “the theme of the family and its needs is an issue on which the contribution of the Catholic world's reflection is very revealing and much appreciated in light of the deep understanding that the Italian Church has of the complex national reality and of its capacity to look concretely at the future”. Napolitano explained how talking about the family also means “dealing with sensitive issues of younger generations, the first of which is youth unemployment, which is truly wounding our times, and also of immigration and of the integration of new families to our nation”.
The conference opened with an address by Cardinal Bagnasco and subsequently Prime Minister Enrico Letta spoke, saying: “ We are a barren society, one which does not produce children and that is losing their bet on society. We are losing the real bet, the bet on life”. Thanks to families, the impact of the crisis on the country has been “less pervasive and intrusive” than other places. Families are exiting the crisis very weary because they “have taken on a role which exceeds their strength and because they have served the whole of Italian society”. Regarding the right to education, Letta admitted that Italy “has a dirty conscience”. “Our application of the constitution”, he explained, “is not at a high point”.
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