Rome Newsroom, Feb 15, 2021 / 08:30 am
The president of the national bishops’ conference has welcomed Italy’s new government with a message to Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who was sworn in Saturday.
Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti said the bishops are sure Draghi “will want to give priority attention to the people and families most marked by suffering, precariousness and the economic crisis.”
Draghi, an economist and banker, has formed a national unity government in Italy after being called in by President Sergio Mattarella following the collapse of the previous coalition last month.
Mattarella officially appointed Draghi prime minister in a ceremony Feb. 13. The new government is a mix of technocrats and politicians.
The Italian bishops watched the developments of the political crisis with “trepidation and concern,” Bassetti stated, emphasizing the importance of unity as the country faces “the heavy, even tragic, fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic,” including “new and widespread poverty.”
Bassetti added that “the Church in Italy will be an attentive and collaborative interlocutor, as has always been the case, in respect of mutual competences.”
Earlier this month, Italy’s national statistics office Istat reported that the country’s economy shrank by an estimated 8.9% last year, its biggest contraction since the end of World War II.
With over 420,000 jobs lost from February to December 2020, the Church in Italy has warned about the increasing number of “new poor” in the country.