Italy: 'Family Day' rally draws hundreds of thousands

By Junno Arocho Esteves

ROME (CNS) — Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in
Rome’s Circus Maximus to protest against a proposed bill that would grant legal
recognition to nonmarried
heterosexual and homosexual couples and give them the right to adopt children.

not officially sponsored by the Catholic Church or any other religious group,
the rally Jan. 30 did include men and women religious and at least one Italian
bishop. Most of the participants were families, many carrying signs defending
the rights of children to be raised by both a mother and a father.

The legislation, known in Italy as the “Cirinna” bill, includes a proposed
clause that would allow for a nonbiological parent in a homosexual union to
adopt a child conceived by his or her partner, either through artificial
insemination or with a surrogate mother.

The event’s organizer, Massimo Gandolfini, told the crowd
that the rally’s aim was not “to make war against anyone” and that
traditional families are the backbone of society.

“The family cannot become a neglected institution; it is
precisely the family that keeps our society standing,” he told the crowd.

The “Family
Day” rally,
which is credited with
leading to the defeat of a similar civil union bill in 2007, received endorsements
from Catholic leaders and politicians in the country.

According to the Italian newspaper La Stampa, Cardinal
Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa, the head of the Italian bishop’s conference, said Jan. 17 the rally
was “absolutely necessary.” Days before the legislation was to be
debated on the Senate floor, Cardinal Bagnasco also addressed concerns over the
proposed bill, saying that the Italian constitution must be “appreciated
and cherished.”

“Children have a right to be raised by a mother and a
father. The family is an anthropological fact, not ideological,” he said.

– – –

Copyright © 2016 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Original Article