Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has shot down Vatican concerns that an anti-homophobia bill being examined by Italy’s parliament could undermine church freedoms.
Draghi used the matter to emphasise that Italy is officially a secular state.
The bill would require that no schools, including private Catholic schools, would be exempt from participating in a proposed National Day Against Homophobia, Lesbophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.
The bill would also make discrimination against people based on their gender or sexual identity an imprisonable offence.
Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States at the Vatican, reportedly sent a letter last week to the Italian embassy to the Holy See expressing concern that the legislation interferes with the freedom of the Church.
In his letter, Gallagher reportedly referred to the 1929 Italy-Vatican treaty which gives the Church the right to run its own affairs.
Draghi tackled the Vatican’s concerns on Wednesday, telling the Italian Senate that Italy “is a secular state, not a religious state”, and has “a parliament that is certainly free to discuss and legislate”.
The prime minister also said that Italy’s legal system “contains all the guarantees to ensure that laws always respect constitutional principles and international commitments, including the concordat with the Church”.
The Church is officially opposed to homosexuality and yet supposedly-celibate priests are very often unmasked as being gay.
A 2019 book claimed that a majority of priests in the Vatican are homosexual, although many are not sexually active, the New York Post reported at the time.
About 80% of the most revered clerics in the Roman Catholic Church are homosexual despite the church’s opposition to gay rights, according to the extensively researched book “In the Closet of the Vatican” by French journalist Frédéric Martel.
The gay priests adhere to an unspoken code called “The Closet”, in which it is understood that, for instance, a cardinal or bishop who denounces homosexuality is more likely to be gay, according to the book.
Such revelations are not infrequent and always cause turmoil in the Vatican.
Vatican City was established in 1929 as a state that is independent from Italy following the signing of the Lateran Treaty.
It is in fact the smallest country in the world, at under half a square kilometre and completely surrounded by the city of Rome.
With a population of less than 1,000, of whom one is always the current pope, protected by his Papal Swiss Guard, the sovereign state at the heart of the Roman Catholic Church is traditionally fiercely independent.