.- Conviction in the faith demands respect for others, new Italian bishops’ conference president says
ROME – During an interview with Vatican Radio, the new president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, said that when a Catholic “is convinced of the ideas of the faith and therefore, of reason, the rest must be respected, even in diversity, with a non-aggressive but serene and challenging attitude.”
Archbishop Bagnasco told Vatican Radio that in order to strengthen Catholic identity, “We must truly discover, rediscover and consolidate that which we have. Only by not hiding or having a weak perception of who we are [as Catholics], will we be able to be undertake more dialogue and be more purposeful towards others,” he said.
In emphasizing that the faithful should bear witness to “the serenity and joy of the faith,” the archbishop said Catholics should be better prepared to engage the culture and meet the challenges of the day.
At the same time, he underscored that there are certain values that for the laity must be non-negotiable and that to abandon such principles is to “go against man and not to free him.”
Archbishop Bagnasco said the Church in Italy should look to the Magisterium of the Pope “with gratitude.”
“The Magisterium of the Holy Father represents one of the basic treasures of the Church. If this is true for the entire Catholic Church, I would say it is even more so, in a certain sense, for the Church in Italy since the Pope is in Italy and moreover is Bishop of Rome and Primate of the country.”
“It’s true that Italy has an immediate link to the Pope that is unique in the world,” the archbishop noted. “It’s not only logistical or physical but also a closeness of affection and faith. This is expressed in many ways, and we must care for it jealously and with much gratitude,” he stated.