The Italian bishops' conference
increased pressure on government leaders on Friday,
insisting that a gay pride festival planned for Rome in
June and July should not be given official support.
Church leaders, Catholic intellectuals, and political
groups have all come together in the opposition to the
World Gay Pride 2000 event set in the midst of the Jubilee
Year, although the ruling center-left coalition government
has given muddled indications of its support or lack
thereof for the event.
Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the Italian Conference
of Bishops, said the Church was not opposed to the country's
constitutional right to hold demonstrations. "What it is
asking is that this demonstration should not go ahead in
Rome during the Jubilee Year," Cardinal Ruini said after
the conferences' annual meeting. "I don't think it is a
coincidence that they chose Rome and that they chose this
Similar gay pride events in other cities have included open
blasphemy and demeaning of the Catholic Church, and Church
officials fear that by having the event in the center of
Catholicism in the world during the Jubilee Year could
incite even worse displays.
Prime Minister Guiliano Amato this week said
"unfortunately" the right to protest was written into the
country's 1948 constitution and therefore the government
had no choice but to allow the event go ahead. Members of
the ruling coalition were outraged at Amato's use of the
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