The president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, has become the target of new death threats, prompting increased security measures from Italian police.
Over the weekend, the archdiocese reported receiving an envelope containing a bullet and a photo of the archbishop.
According to the newspaper "Il Corriere Mercantile," the envelope was opened by an official of the archdiocese, and Archbishop Bagnasco was warned hours later, as we returning from Milan.
Local police chief Salvatore Presenti said the threats do not mean more attention is being given to the archbishop, who has been under police protection since the Genoa cathedral was recently vandalized.
A spokesman for the archdiocese said the threats were the work of "very small extremist and psychological weak groups."
Domenico Pompili, spokesman for the Italian Bishops’ Conference, called the threats were an attempt to intimidate the archbishop but declined further comment, saying the Church did not want to encourage more confrontation or tension.
Archbishop Bagnasco became the target of criticism for questioning a proposed law that would legalize homosexual and civil unions.