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Catholic World News News Feature

New threats against Italian archbishop April 09, 2007

Threats against the president of the Italian bishops' conference have been found scrawled on two churches in Genoa, after vandals struck the city's cathedral last week. But Genoa's police says there is no cause for concern about the archbishop's safety.

Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa has been the target of gay-rights campaigners since the prelate issued a strong statement opposing legal recognition of same-sex unions. During Holy Week, the doors of the cathedral of St. Lawrence were spray-painted with the words, "Bagnasco shame."

Over Easter weekend, two nearby churches where covered with graffiti that read, "Beware Bagnasco," and "Die Bagnasco." The graffiti also included insulting references to Pope Benedict XVI and to Cardinal Camillo Ruini, who had preceded Archbishop Bagnasco as president of the Italian bishops' conference.

The Genoa police department, which had temporarily assigned an armed officer to guard the archbishop, said that there would be "no new preventative measure" as a result of the graffiti.

"We have adopted all possible preventative measures: a police escort and constant control of the areas that the archbishop frequents," the police announced. "We are very attentive, and there is no reason to speak of tension.”

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