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Cardinal Zuppi calls for ‘inclusive democracy,’ social participation; decries populism, individualism

July 05, 2024

» Continue to this story on Conferenza Episcopale Italiana

CWN Editor's Note: Addressing participants in the Italian Catholic Social Week in Trieste, Cardinal Matteo Zuppi of Bologna, the president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, said that “democracy does not only mean institutions, laws and procedures, rights and duties, but also the inclusion of the other, the fragile, the marginalized.”

“We are happy when Catholics are involved in politics at all levels and in institutions,” he continued. “Catholics in Italy wish to be protagonists in building an inclusive democracy, where no one is discarded or left behind.”

“Let us look with concern at the danger of populism which, if we have no memory of the past, can deprive us of democracy or weaken it,” he added. Cardinal Zuppi’s praise of democracy, and criticism of populism, came days after a populist party received more votes than any other party in the first round of French elections.

Cardinal Zuppi lamented individualism and a lack of voter participation in elections. “The Church is a place where we are passionate about others and, therefore, about dialogue, as happened in assemblies, conferences, meetings, in the synodal path, precisely because of its eminently social character,” he said.

The prelate also called for greater openness to migrants, saying, “We don’t want borders to be walls or, worse, trenches, but hinges and bridges! ... We want it for those who, at the cost of terrible suffering, have become migrants and ask to be considered what they are: persons!”

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