03/28/2011, 00.00
ITALY - ASIA
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Cardinal Bagnasco: Solidarity with the bishop of Tripoli, dialogue for peace in Libya

In a speech to the Permanent Council of the Italian Bishops Conference, the urgent need for Europe to accept refugees from North Africa alongside Italy. The earthquake survivors in Japan, persecuted churches in Egypt, Iraq and Pakistan. Shahbaz Batthi, a "martyr". remembered.

Rome (AsiaNews) - "We believe that diplomacy is the right path and still possible, perhaps even desired by both parties. It is the only premise and condition for identifying an "African way" forwards toward the future invoked by young people. But also to avoid possible extremist forces that would have serious and unpredictable consequences”, affirms Mgr. Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), regards the ongoing war in Libya.

During his opening address to the Permanent Council of CEI, he quoted the words of the pope and the bishop of Tripoli, to whom he expressed his solidarity, lamenting "the use of force that, pits the poor children of the same people, of the same continent, against each other, provoking incredible pain and - if possible – an even more dramatic grief".

Card. Bagnasco also recalled all the " jasmine revolutions" in North Africa and the Middle East, which combines "concrete emergencies, political and ideological goals and economic interests", creating a highly confusing situation. In any case, he also stressed that these events – in large part and obtusely unforeseen by many experts - are a sign that "the fundamental human aspiration to freedom and the recognition of personal dignity, sooner or later emerge in the consciousness of individuals and peoples, pushing them to embark on paths that are not always united or corresponding to the desired objectives”.

Regarding the waves of refugees arriving on Italian shores, Card. Bagnasco said that "the emergency involves the entire Community", asking the rest of Europe to "pass - as has been rightly said - from a 'partnership of coexistence' to real ‘coexistence’." In any case - he said - "persistence in considering these poor people as irksome intruders will not get us very far ... In this new scenario, the idea of being able to patrol the entire coastline of the continent is illusory. It is time therefore to implement policies of genuine cooperation which alone can convince our brothers to remain in their land, making it productive. "

The cardinal also expressed solidarity with earthquake victims in Japan, who "gave the world a powerful lesson in composure, determination and strength" and for whom Italian Caritas has set up aid programmed in collaboration with Caritas Japan.

In his opening address, the cardinal also recalled the persecuted Christians in Egypt, where "the post Mubarak era, so far, has presented no change in their situation, despite the encouraging signs of unity and solidarity that emerged during the demonstrations." A thought also to Christians "abandoned" in Iraq, "who are often made promises, only to left without any real protection."

Finally, the prelates thoughts turned to Pakistan, "and the deep impression left by the attack which killed the minister for religious minorities Bhatti, now a Christian martyr, who had long pledged to fight for the repeal of discriminatory laws, of which the blasphemy law is the most notorious, because of which the life of Asia Bibi is at risk. It is incomprehensible how a large and important country like Pakistan can tolerate such a blatant and calamitous situation of lawlessness”.

Card. Bagnasco welcomed the "European Union’s condemnation of religious discrimination and attacks being conducted against the Christians,", which finally, was adopted in a motion a few weeks ago (see 22/02/2011 Europe’s stuttering timidity in denouncing the persecution of Christians). "Now - said the cardinal - we are must bring our battle to every international forum, so that policies which humiliate people, crushing everything that is most sacred, are recognised as unacceptable."

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