“We are against any attitude or gesture of intolerance or hatred towards people because of their sexual orientation, as well as their ethnicity or their beliefs,” he said.
“Our worry concerns the interpretative problems that could arise if a text with vague and uncertain contents were adopted.”
If the Holy See did not speak up on the subject, it “could have been accused of guilty silence,” he said.
“Discussing is always licit,” he commented.
But another high-ranking Vatican official said at a public event in Rome June 23 that he believed the diplomatic intervention should not have happened.
Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, reiterated the comment in an interview the next day with La Stampa.
He said: “That note should not have been written, but, in any case, the Ddl [Zan] remains a bad bill, poorly written.”
In its diplomatic note, the Vatican raised concerns that the “anti-homophobia” bill could violate Article 2, paragraphs 1 and 3 of the two states’ Agreement for the revision of the Pact.
In 1984, Italy and the Holy See signed an agreement amending the Lateran Pacts of 1929. The agreement guarantees that the Italian Republic recognizes “the full freedom of the Catholic Church to carry out its pastoral, educational and charitable mission, of evangelization and sanctification.”
According to article 2, paragraph 3 of the agreement, “Catholics and their associations and organizations are guaranteed full freedom of assembly and expression of thought by word, writing and any other means of dissemination.”
Opposition to Ddl Zan also concerns Catholic schools in Italy. Nearly 8,000 private Catholic schools are accredited to the Italian state and follow the state curriculum. Opponents of the bill fear that the proposed legislation would force the schools to celebrate a “national day against homophobia, lesbophobia, biphobia, and transphobia.”
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On the sidelines of an event in Montefiascone, central Italy, Thursday, Parolin told reporters that the Vatican fully agreed that “the Italian state is a secular state.”
“I believe that the step that has been taken by the Holy See is appropriate in the sense of expressing a concern,” he said, “and I believe that it is legitimate to express concern on an issue that is close to our hearts, which is that of religious freedom, freedom of expression and freedom of teaching.”
Asked if Pope Francis had authorized the diplomatic letter, Parolin said: “The principle is that one’s superiors are always informed about everything that is done.”
Ddl Zan is named after Alessandro Zan, one of the politicians who introduced the bill to parliament.
Zan belongs to the Italian left-wing Democratic Party and has been a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies since 2013. He is also a leading member of the Italian LGBT activist organization Arcigay, which has protested against the Vatican for its position on same-sex marriage and homosexual priests.