Catholic World News News Feature
Italian bishops concerned by terms of religious-freedom law July 18, 2007
The Italian bishops' conference (CEI) is opposing a legislature measure that purports to broaden religious freedom in the country.
Bishop Giuseppe Betori, the general secretary of the CEI, explained that the bishops object to the bill-- which is currently pending before a parliamentary commission on constitutional matters-- because it would put the Catholic Church on the same level as religious sects.
The proposal would recognize marriages performed by any sect as equivalent to Catholic marriages; to date these unions where have been treated in Italian law as civil marriages. The bishops' conference notes that the government's treatment of Catholic marriages is regulated by the concordat between Italy and the Holy See.
The Italian bishops are concerned that approval of the new legislation could give rise to social problems-- for example, in cases involving religions such as Islam, which allow a man to marry more than one wife.