By deciding to publish an ambiguous letter on abortion, the Italian daily Avvenire – a newspaper owned by the Conference of Italian Bishops (CEI) – has not been without creating unease and controversy beyond the Alps.
The Italian law that liberalized abortion in 1978 “is not a law that calls into question the ontologically intrinsic dignity of an embryo, it is a law that has intervened to regulate a social phenomenon,” Angelo Moretti writes with aplomb in an article published by Avvenire, the most famous Italian Catholic daily on August 27, 2020.
The author of the contribution even considers that, “On the abortion pill, there is a need to relaunch the dialogue with a new look at the reality we live in”: words worthy of Protagoras, father of relativism, but which ring false in the mouth of the coordinator of Caritas for the diocese of Benevento.
On the side of the transalpine episcopate, the embarrassment is palpable: the spokesman for the episcopal conference refused to comment on the publication, limiting himself to recalling the declarations of the Italian prelates, condemning the practice of abortion.
Angelo Moretti’s contribution immediately sparked an outcry from several Catholic sites and newspapers: for example, in the columns of the news site La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, lawyer Gianfranco Amato accuses the Caritas coordinator of using “specious Jesuitical sophisms.”
The director of Avvenire for his part ignored it, and speaking to the Catholic News Agency denied any promotion of abortion: “For days I have been publishing responses [to the new guidelines] from external people, external to the newspaper, who bring their vision,” Marco Tarquinio said in self defense – as if the truth were only the fruit of a battle of opinions.
The issue of abortion has been revived in Italy in the wake of the Covid-19 epidemic: since August 12, the government has in fact issued new directives, allowing the abortion pill RU486 to be administered at home, until the ninth week of pregnancy: “a double defeat: for the life of the unborn child and for the woman herself, left even more alone,” according to the, rather timid, terms of Cardinal Angelo Bassetti, Archbishop of Bergamo and President of the CEI.