Italian archbishop defends Church’s right to criticize cohabitation bill

.- The new head of the Italian bishops’ conference says the Church is doing its duty by criticizing a bill that would allow cohabiting couples to register their union and to obtain financial, inheritance and next-of-kin rights, similar to the rights of married couples.

Opening his first session of the bishops' council on Monday, Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco of Genova denied that the bishops’ condemnation of the controversial bill amounted to interference in national politics, reported ANSA.

He said Italian society would be "dramatically harmed" if the "unacceptable and dangerous" bill, known as the Dico bill, was passed because it would undermine the sacred bond of marriage.

If approved, the bill would apply to heterosexual and same-sex couples, creating what the Church sees as a watered-down form of same-sex marriage.

During their meeting, the bishops are expected to put finishing touches on a pastoral note that provides guidelines for Catholic politicians regarding the Dico bill.

About 40 associations, many of them lay Catholic, are organizing a Family Day demonstration in Rome on May 12. The groups are calling on the government to do more to support families. They oppose putting marriage on a par with other forms of cohabitation. 

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