There is a big brouhaha in Italy about the Vatican challenging an anti homophobia proposed law. The Church, meaning the Vatican, has some good points but rank and file Italians aren’t buying it just as they haven’t bought much of the Church’s (read Vatican) intervention into Italian politics.
Over the decades, the Vatican has alienated Italians, no matter how engaged or disengaged they are from the Church, by pushing the government to act as the Church. Here are a couple of the most divisive things that the Church has promoted in a political way:
Because of the Church, for decades Italians could not seek a civil divorce in Italy. Never mind that a woman or a man might have his or her spouse leave for a paramour and live with that person and there was no legal means to make the “sinner” pay alimony or child support. Even the most ardent of Catholics saw how destructive this was of women/mothers and their children especially at a time that women did not normally work outside the home.
Apart from meddling in the politics of Italy where many Italians are now more secular than religious, the Church is viewed as a political institution and the priests are seen as uncaring, aloof and authoritarian.
About 8 years ago while visiting my Italian relatives in Livorno, I got an earful.
It is very difficult to attain a Church annulment in Italy compared to the USA even though Italy now has laws that allow a civil divorce. My relatives could not believe how many annulments I was able to procure for many of my parishioners over the years. They said most priests would not help parishioners gain an annulment even when there are clear grounds for one.
On top of that, they spoke of the non-pastoral approach of priests to lax Catholics. One of my relatives had a baby that was in critical condition after birth. A priest was called to baptize the baby but the priest refused since the parents were not practicing the Faith. Never mind that in an emergency situation anyone can baptize. Thus, why wouldn’t the priest take pity on the baby and maybe win the parents over with his pastoral solicitude? Why rely on a lay person to baptize in an emergency situation when a priest could have and should have gone to do it himself?
And now, Italians, like most people in the world, do not want to treat homosexuals differently than anyone else and laws are being established, as in this country, to secure their civil rights and to be protected under the law and the Vatican through its political interventions continues to divide Italians which makes the Vatican and thus the Church look uncaring and promoting the mongering of hate toward a particular class of people.
You can read about the current brouhaha here and how the Vatican is in damage control with Italians: