Is the Faith Dead in Italy?

Is the Faith Dead in Italy?

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Ever since the fall of Roman Empire and through centuries of invasions, wars, political corruption and violence, ordinary Italians have taken refuge in the twin bulwarks of their society: family and faith. Today, both are seriously endangered, and in June of this year, hundreds of thousands of Italians reacted by protesting in Rome against their government’s anti-family policies.  To understand this, REGINA interviewed a group of Italians ages 20-55, from cities and villages all over Italy. Our questions about the essential nature of the relationship between Italians and their Church were not easy to answer, and we received forthright answers.

It’s worth noting that honest Italian voices are rarely heard in the country’s mainstream media, which is largely controlled by huge conglomerates with definite political agendas. Too, in a country where people fear for their jobs, many are reluctant to be blunt in their public comments. Therefore, to encourage honesty, we have disguised the names of our respondents, though their ages and locations are correct.

We think you’ll agree that their opinions are very telling. The influence of parents on younger people is apparent, though substantive, unbiased education about the Faith and its history is almost non-existent. The influence of the anti-religious elite in the universities and media is also clear; nevertheless, those Italians with families still reflexively turn to the Church for sacraments.

However, the number of Italians who have families is declining rapidly. Not only are families smaller, in many cases they are failing to form at all. Many here refer to a ‘crisis of cultural values.’ People seem quite troubled about the pernicious influence of media, though few are concerned by the messages and effect of ubiquitous advertising. Some are deeply discontent with the Italian Church’s hierarchy and its apparent inability or lack of interest in influencing society positively.  Materialism, syncretism, individualism, the disappearance of millennia-old cultural mores  —  most of our respondents connect the dots between all of these and the disastrous decline in marriage and religious vocations.

There does seem to be a marked difference between the concerns and perceptions of Italians in their 20s and those older, and we find this hopeful. Many older people are in denial about the incidence and effect of abortion, though the young are quite clear about both. Older people do not seem to see the rampant New Age influence; young people are aware, and trace it to cultural politics.

Fascinatingly, it is young people who most often point out the lack of respect younger Italians have for older people. Young people also seem less interested in feminism, cultural Marxism and other ideologies fashionable in their parents’ generation. And, while Italians’ concern with the intelligibility of Latin may seem perplexing to those outside the country, those few Italians who have had contact with the usus antiquor are enthusiastic about it, and most of them are quite young.

With a non-working democracy, uncontrolled immigration of non-Christians and an economy in seemingly permanent crisis, it may not be an overstatement to say that the future of Italy – in fact, if there is to be a future ‘Italy’ – is in the hands of these very young, brave Italians.

REGINA: We are very interested to know more about the current state of the Faith in Italy today. It doesn't seem as if the average Italian attends Mass very often, and the statistics bear this out. Why is this?

My father is strongly Catholic, while my mother has a more fluctuating attitude towards Faith. Personally I try to go to the Mass every day and if I can I recite the rosary and other prayers. I think the current state of Faith in Italy is not so bad; when I go to the church there are always plenty of people. – COSTANZA, 20’s, PARMA

Many are Catholic culturally, but not practicing. There is usually one Mass per Sunday in which more people attend (kids, Scouts, catechists.), while the other Masses are less well-attended and families might not attend together. – VALENTINA, 20’S, ROME

In my opinion, people are abandoning the Church due to the bad information there are about hierarchies. For example, everywhere Cardinals and Bishops are depicted as rich people who think of their own interests, but this is a false prejudice. – LAURA, 20’s, MARCHE

Most Italian people consider themselves Catholic, but we are not practicing the faith anymore. Catholic culture and beliefs are only on the surface for the majority. But there is a minority that is going to Mass not only on Sundays and these people are aware of what it means to be Christian. These, thank God, are not only elderly. They are from all age groups and they have a higher level of culture, they read more than the average. – PIERLUIGI, 50’S, MILAN

Unfortunately, since 1968 young people have rebelled against the Church, tending to new forms of religion. Thanks to Pope John Paul II, who is a great Saint, for awhile they came back to the true Faith and its values, also founding religious movements like the one of the “Papa-Boys” — young people who followed the Pope, like a group of supporters. Nevertheless, on average today Italians are breaking the habit of going to Church, though they still attend for the most important Sacraments, such as baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, weddings or funerals, or for most important holidays, like Christmas, Holy Week or All Souls Day. In my opinion, this is because society is discarding its values and is also losing the culture of the battle against sin. – MARCELLA, 50s, LIGURIA

Most Italians nowadays do not recognise the Church principles as theirs and – even if Catholic – do not recognise themselves in the behaviour of the Roman Church. – PATRICIA, 30’s, FLORENCE

 “Unfortunately, today the Faith in Italy is being lost because many families no longer teach children to pray, entrusting everything to the catechism of the parish or school. And so, for the first time in the history of Christianity, the chain of faith between the generations is being broken. Just look around, the children of the middle-aged generation hardly know who Abraham, Isaac, Jacob were themselves. When they are parents, they will have nothing to pass on. The Holy Mass is little frequented as it is always in the spotlight of the media, who besmirch the work.”
Michael, 20’s, LIGURIA

Italian people have had really bad education about Catholicism. Even if a great number of children are baptized, the majority of them stop going to the Mass on Sundays or receiving Sacraments shortly after First Communion or Confirmation. My personal experience makes me say that it is due to priests or Bishops, who have sometimes abandoned their mission, becoming mere social workers. In some cases, they prefer fame over Faith. – VITTORIO, 20s, ROME

REGINA: The Latin Mass is almost unknown in most of Italy — we have even heard of groups of Italian bishops complaining about ‘traditionalists' to Pope Francis. Why is the TLM perceived as such a threat by prelates in the Italian hierarchy?   

The Latin Mass is perceived as a threat because many prelates think that it is an elitist form of cult, given that there are few people that understand the Latin language. – COSTANZA, 20’s, PARMA

Since not everyone studies Latin, not everyone would understand the Latin Mass. In the past, even 20-30 years ago, there was more frequently Latin Masses available. In the past, even an Italian-speaking Mass would have Latin prayers in it more frequently (e.g. Salve Regina). From a cultural side, Latin is sometimes seen as an elitist language. Previously, Mass was said in Latin because of tradition. Some might think that Latin is a language that would not reach the average person today…or that the Gospel message would be lost in translation. – VALENTINA, 20’S, ROME

I do not know whether it is perceived as a threat, but I think that most people believe that God's word needs to be understood thoroughly and fewer people nowadays study and understand Latin. – PATRICIA, 30’s, FLORENCE

The Second Vatican Council was perceived in Italy as a big change, something very good and necessary. Priests and Bishops in Italy adopted the liturgical change in a moderate way, avoiding the radical changes that happened in other countries, as in the north of Europe. Because of that I believe the Latin Mass was, and still is perceived with suspicion. Anyway in most Cathedrals of Italian cities there is at least one Sunday Mass in Latin. – PIERLUIGI, 50’s, MILAN

For me, bishops see the Traditional Latin Mass as if it is an obstacle against the modernisation process. They also may think that it is a liturgy loved and defended only by old people. However, these bishops are wrong. Every Sunday I attend a local TLM — which follows the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of Benedict XVI — and the majority of those attending are very young! – MARCELLA, 50’s, LIGURIA

Because many prelates think that Vatican II has eliminated the Vetus Ordo.
MICHAEL, 20’s, LIGURIA

The Traditional Mass is having a renaissance thanks to lay people, and even thanks to some priests or bishops with good intentions. In my experience, I can confirm that Traditional Mass-born vocations are clearly more frequent than others. The same is true for increasing Italians’ participation in the Mass or in other Sacraments. On my opinion, Italian bishops look at these small but growing groups as if they are their antagonists, which by their success could make the bishops look bad to objective observers. Most Italian bishops want to preserve their dominance, and often react with strong abuses of power. – VITTORIO, 20s, ROME

 

Maybe the Latin Mass is seen as a threat because many prelates are progressivist, and look at the Latin Mass as something old and obsolete. However, the next generation of high prelates is more conservative, so they are more favorable to the Latin Mass. – LAURA, 20’s, MARCHE

REGINA: The Church in Italy has an amazing history – many ancient buildings are still standing — but are Italians today aware of this? Are they taught about the early Christians, the Martyrs, how the Faith kept knowledge alive during the centuries following the fall of the Roman Empire?

 

Italian schools teach people the importance of the early Christians, even if in a very poor way. History books often dedicate only a small part to this topic. – LAURA, 20’s, VENETO

We are, but the world ‘Martyr’ nowadays is not always positive and has also acquired a sinister connotation of fanaticism. – PATRICIA, 30’s, FLORENCE

While Italians today are aware of the importance of the Faith in keeping alive knowledge during the centuries following the fall of the Roman empire thanks to the monasteries and the amanuensis monks, I think that generally they aren't much taught about the early Christians and the Martyrs. – COSTANZA, 20’s, PARMA

Yes, in Italian schools (middle school and high school) this is studied in depth from different views in both middle school and high school: historical, artistic, literary, religious. This remains more on an academic and intellectual level. For instance, it is not connected to a personal connection of faith (at least at public schools). It is taught from a “neutral” point of view. – VALENTINA, 20’S, ROME

This must be done by teachers of Catholicism, even if it is another sore point. The majority of these teachers are well prepared to teach this, though on the other hand there are some teachers who are not able to transmit authentic Catholicism or that our country has Catholic origins — so their pupils never learn this. – MARCELLA, 50’s, LIGURIA

Only devout Catholics are aware of the richness of our Church history. It is almost unbelievable that we had so many saints in our cities. I believe that the Faith is going to be stronger when it is attacked, so for example, when the Gay and Lesbian movements are pushing to introduce their vision into the public school, all of a sudden Christian families have started to complain and to say aloud their point of view. In many case the de-christianization of the society was done in a way more subtle, almost underground and that is by far the worst attack we face: a society that calls itself Catholic but is void of any Christian content. This is happening for example when charity is only towards people (the poor or those in need) — forgetting God. – PIERLUIGI, 50’S, MILAN

The Italian people don’t know at all the Church's story.
MICHAEL, 20’s, LIGURIA

REGINA: It's clear that Italians are aware of and proud of their great cultural heritage, but do they recognize the role that the Church has played in creating this beauty and preserving it?

Yes, Italians recognize the Church’s presence and influence in Italy: in art, culture, philosophy, etc., even also with governance. The idea of appreciation though differs. Those who respect the Church appreciate the Church’s influence. Those who are not believers or believe the Church meddled too much in the business of the state, have less respect for its role. Many criticize the Church in the ways she has influenced and conducted herself in the past, most especially for the role between the country of Italy and the Vatican. Regarding today’s controversial issues (which in more secular countries are accepted), the Vatican has power which still influences Italian politics (e.g. abortion, gay marriage, divorce, etc.) – VALENTINA, 20’S, ROME

In my opinion, Italian people take for granted the great beauty of our country, so that we cannot appreciate it. We have not the knowledge that 80% of our cultural heritage is due to the Catholic Church. – MARCELLA, 50’s, LIGURIA

Most Italians probably recognise the historical role of the Church but cannot see any continuity in its current state. – PATRICIA, 30’s, FLORENCE

If the priests do not care for the history and the value of the Church, why should the people? – Carlo, 40’s, VENETO

Italian aren't aware of the Church's role in Italian culture. To be more precise, they look at the Church only as a bad institution which contaminates Italian culture – this is caused by a certain prejudice which is taught underhandedly in schools (with rare exceptions). – LAURA, 20’s, MARCHE

Ignorance about religious treasures is always due to bad education emanating from certain priests or bishops. Not only have they not transmitted the authentic Faith, but they have also exposed the Faith to ridicule with poor and often awful desacralizing liturgies. They left purity to follow worldliness. This is caused by ignorance of the Church's history, its origins and its glorious era replete with amazing music and astonishing art and architecture. – VITTORIO, 20’s, ROME

Antonio Gramsci (19th century founder of the Italian Communist Party) had the recipe to de-christianize Italy. It was done through culture. The dominant culture was to reshape history and the Italian way of thinking into a non-Christian way. For example, to accuse the Church of obscurantism, or of anti-scientific approach. And when we deal with works of art admired all over the world, to separate the content from the formal analysis. So we can celebrate Dante or Michelangelo, without saying a word about the topic they were concerned with. – PIERLUIGI, 50’S, MILAN

REGINA: In recent years there has been a trend towards New Age ideas among middle-aged Italian women, who believe the Church has ‘oppressed’ them and prefer yoga, etc. Where is this coming from?

Italy’s whole contemporary culture is full of spiritual syncretism, with influences from Eastern philosophies or new “religions”. You can find anywhere gyms where yoga is taught, Buddhist temples, movies or documentaries which spread these cultures. It is obvious that this comes with the failure in validating the glorious history of Catholicism. – VITTORIO, 20’s, ROME

I can confirm that many Italian women have in fact deserted the Church in favor of New Age ideologies they have learned about on the internet.
MICHAEL, 20’s, LIGURIA

New Age ideologies are probably a trend; they are not taught in schools. However, the Church has often had an obscurantistic behaviour towards women. Italian women moved forward and fought in order to have their own liberty, independence and rights (that they previously did not have). – PATRICIA, 30’s, FLORENCE

I think that the advent of New Age ideologies that consider the Church as patriarchal and oppressive is mainly due to the extreme left politics propaganda that in order to reduce the relevance of the Church foster these different form of cults. – COSTANZA, 20’s, PARMA

The criticisms of the Church are studied in high school, but from a philosophical and historical perspective (eg. Marx). But the teachers have to present an argument or theory in the most neutral way possible…they are not allowed to propagate political propaganda. Perhaps, these ideas come from outside of Italy from other parts of Europe, America, and the East. – VALENTINA, 20’S, ROME

This is coming from abroad. Many are preaching models from the north of Europe or from North America. This is done in many ways, inside universities, through movies and lifestyle. People who are against the Church can defend the Muslim right to profess their faith but in fact what they want the most is to remove the crucifix from our public schools. – PIERLUIGI, 50’S, MILAN

I think Italian women got this idea from Feminism. Italian feminist people – like Emma Bonino – are unfortunately very popular and so they spread their ideas. – LAURA, 20’s, MARCHE

REGINA: For perhaps the first time in Italy's long history, the young generations seem not to be marrying or having children. The few marriages are also extremely fragile, and divorce is common. What is causing this?

In fact young generations do get married and do have children, but it's true that these families are extremely fragile and often split up and divorce is considered a choice like another, not something wrong. This is caused by the fall of ancient values that are coming from politics which permeate all society. – COSTANZA, 20’s, PARMA

I think fragile marriages are caused by the fact that, until a generation ago, people were marrying only after a certain time of engagement – on average, five years – while now they are marrying a few months after they have met for the first time. This certainly causes a certain anxiety in other families, who are no long believing in marriage. – LAURA, 20’s, MARCHE

This is not limited to Italy. There are several factors, including the economic crisis and a crisis of values. If there were a foundation of values in common, notwithstanding the economic issues, there would be more of a chance for the family. The problem is the family does not have the same value as before. There is more individualism. For instance, after the second world war, there was an enormous economic crisis, but the family still survived. But today, there is an economic crisis but the family is not surviving. There is less connection between the generations. For instance, parents might not know how to deal with their children. There is still respect from the old toward the young, but the young (perhaps spoiled by society) lack respect for the old. By contrast, non-Italian Catholic immigrants (Filipinos, Africans, South Americans), have a strong respect for the family. They have families even if there is an economic crisis. – VALENTINA, 20’S, ROME

Family is very weak in Italy and Spain, but stronger than in the UK, Scandinavian countries or Benelux. France was able to help families more than Italy. The problem is that no one is helping them; the market economy and the social political system are making Italian family life more difficult. Only if families are aware of the big war against them, can they mobilize. It is also true that it is only when families are vital that a society can develop, so a sick society sooner or later will give way to somebody or something else. It could be that among these new young families arising –who understand the challenges they face – that we will have also a Christian community with strong values. = PIERLUIGI, 50’S, MILAN

This is caused by psychological, politic and economic insecurity. No one seems to be disposed to engage himself for his whole life; for that reason, even families which have been Catholic forever are now facing cases of cohabitation without any wedding. I am a follower of the theory of the Historical Recurrences of Giambattista Vico (Naples, 1668 – 1744), who is my favourite philosopher, so I think there is a parallelism with the Fall of the Roman Empire. – MARCELLA, 20’s, LIGURIA

Nowadays Italians do not perceive marriage as a necessary step to be part of society as it used to be in the past. However, it always depends on what part of the country one is from and whether one was born and raised in a small town or not. – PATRICIA, 30’s, FLORENCE

Yes, this is tragic. But this is what Italian women want. They want to be free. Not tied down to a family. So, now they are free. – CARLO, 40’s, VENETO

 

REGINA: A generation ago, Italians would not have foreseen that today Italy would have the lowest birthrate in Europe. Italy’s abortion rate is twice neighboring Croatia’s, where the Catholic faith is still practiced. Is it even publicized? What emotional effect is this having on young people?

 

The abortion rate is not so high. – PATRICIA, 30’s, FLORENCE

Even if a lot of abortions are not known – women would never say that they have aborted a child – their incidence is very high. In fact, abortion is publicized, in direct or indirect ways, and is shown as a way to have more freedom. – LAURA, 20’s, VENETO

Luckily abortion is not publicized in Italy and is still considered a painful choice for women and for men. Nevertheless it is not illegal and sometimes is thought to be acceptable by the State, mainly when the pregnant woman has been harassed or when the fetus is seriously ill. – COSTANZA, 20’s, PARMA

This depends on whether you are speaking about a Catholic or a secular person. In fact the birth rate among Italian women is even lower than the official because foreign women here are having more children than Italian women. – VALENTINA, 20’S, ROME

Abortion is decreasing in Italy, but the anti-life mentality is spreading more and more. There is a lack of hope towards the future, and the population is very old. Elderly people usually have less energy to plan. For young people it is difficult to find a job, and they are not accustomed — as generations before were — to sacrifice. The combination of the ongoing economic crisis and their being accustomed to a high living standard creates a people who are unable to move. Young people calculate more than their parents, because they have something to lose. Women many times put their work objectives as their first priority and men are like spoiled brats, enjoying their career while they live with their parents — and getting what they want from their fiancee. – PIERLUIGI, 50’S, MILAN

REGINA: Italians say that the reason many are not marrying is because there are no permanent jobs, but Italy has suffered through great cycles of poverty in the past without abandoning the family. Why do you think that today is different?

We cannot compare the crises we had in the past with this one. Society has changed, culture has changed. I believe Catholic families are still influential in raising children. Maybe they are not multigenerational as before, but are still influential. For the Church I believe this is the only way to maintain and pass the faith for the future. – PIERLUIGI, 50’S, MILAN

Grandparents have always been very important in the Italian families. It does not depend on Catholicism but more on the wish to be helping each other within a family. – PATRICIA, 30’s, FLORENCE

Maybe nowadays people are using the economic crisis as an excuse; in fact, they are no long believing in marriage itself. Catholic families maintain a certain control over children's education, even if children are more and more influenced by the context like mass media, non – Catholic friends, etc. – LAURA, 20’s, MARCHE

In the past there were more families, whether Catholic or not, composed of a large number of individuals, so the new bride and groom could depend on them for their survival. Nowadays these large families are almost extinct and the new couples have great problems if they can't get a permanent job. – COSTANZA, 20’s, PARMA

The Italian Catholic parents of today do not have the same educational capacity of the past. Not because of lack of intelligence, but because the culture has become more secularized. There is the content of television that 20 years ago would not have been accepted. Women almost naked dancing in a suggestive way at 8:00 at night was not accepted in the past. Neither were the explicit contents of commercials. For this reason, it is harder to educate children. You have to be more attentive. You have to be able to explain things. It is harder to be a good parent today. In the past, you also had more help from the grandparents, neighbors, the parish, etc. Today it is more individualistic. One may have many friends, but the friendship may be more superficial than in the past. – VALENTINA, 20’S, ROME

I think there is also a crisis of faith due to the world we live in – a culture without faith and values.
MICHAEL, 20’S, LIGURIA

REGINA: The presence of advertisements for the luxury goods that Italy exports is everywhere in Italy. Do you think this has contributed to the consumerism of today's Italians, especially the young? To their alienation?

In my opinion, Italian products' ads do not influence Italian consumerism. Italian people (especially the young) are looking for foreign products – usually from the USA, the UK or from Japan – rather than Italian products. – LAURA, 20’s, MARCHE

I do not think so. Contrarily, I think in Italy they are influenced by foreign products, especially by American products. – MARCELLA, 50’s, LIGURIA

I think that advertisements for goods of any kind could increase consumerism and cause alienation in young and old people, though not only the advertisements for the luxury goods exported by Italy. – COSTANZA, 20’s, PARMA

Yes, definitely. Advertisements are often suggestively or explicitly sexual. These have definitely influenced the choices of the young in both their consumer habits and their personal values. Messages through advertising have strong influences on the young. There is no filter or capacity to recognize the social messages that they are sending. In some of these ads, women are treated as objects and even appear to enjoy it. – VALENTINA, 20’S, ROME

As an advertiser I do not think so. I would rather say that in poor countries the “status symbol product” is more effective that in a wealthy society like Italy. But of course it is also true that advertising can affect lifestyle and, as Italians, we are proud of our fashion and our food. – PIERLUIGI, 50’S, MILAN

REGINA: Italy is being invaded by non-European refugees, especially from Africa and the Middle East. At the same time, there is a ‘brain drain' happening as gifted young Italians are emigrating for jobs in places like Australia. Meanwhile, foreign corporations are moving their workers to Italy to produce ‘Italian' luxury goods — as in the Chinese in Florence. There seems to be no functioning democracy left in Italy on a national level. Italy is truly in crisis and the Church has historically served as a place of refuge and support for Italians, most recently in the wake of World War I and World War II. Previous generations seemed to have a deep understanding of the need for the Church as the fundamental organizing principle of society — has this understanding disappeared completely?

No it is not. The Church is still strong in Italy as a teaching and social reality. In a time when the politicians are so distant from the people, a Pope like Francis is using the right language to reach everyone, and also at the local level, young priest are very clever as pastors of their communities. Of course, we have also a lot of old priests and the new vocations are not enough to replace those who have died. – PIERLUIGI, 50’S, MILAN

The Church gives much help to immigrants. I know of a Romanian woman who immigrated to Italy illegally. She eventually got a job cleaning in a Church and the Church helped her get legal citizenship. In reference to the Chinese in Florence, usually they make cheap goods, not the luxury goods. They benefit from using the term “Made in Italy” even though it has little to no connection to Italian producers. The Church helps both Italians and the foreigners. Caritas, for example, helps with feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless. The hungry and homeless consist of both Italians and foreigners. – VALENTINA, 20’S, ROME

I think we can live with, and I know many immigrants are living with a lot of respect in the part of the country where I live.
MICHAEL, 20’S, LIGURIA

No, it did not disappear. A huge number of people, even non-Catholic people, see the Church like a Great Mother: it sustains us and overcomes the shortcomings of the Italian Government. – MARCELLA, 50’S, LIGURIA

Apparently, the need to call on the Church seems to have disappeared. However, people are often asking the Church for help, even if in a silent way; the Church has activated a wide range of services for to help people in need. – LAURA, 20’s, MARCHE

The Church is no more regarded as the fundamental organizing principle of society but has an unimportant role confined to drug rehabilitation centers and charities. – COSTANZA, 20’s, PARMA

I am afraid the Church is not perceived as an organising principle of society any more. – PATRICIA, 30’s, FLORENCE

REGINA: Does the Church hierarchy seem to be aware of the plight of so many Italians, and are they offering the Sacraments as a real support in all of this? With the lack of vocations approaching critical levels, do Italians have much contact with the Church on everyday levels at all?

Outside of the tourist churches, most churches in Italy are closed. No priests, no vocations, no Faith. – CARLO, 40’S, VENETO

As I said, the Catholic Church is viewed as being completed detached from everyday life. – PATRICIA, 30’s, FLORENCE

The Sacraments are often available but more is needed. If people go to Confession, it may be not to confess a sin, but because they are having a crisis of values, and need encouragement or advice from a priest. The average Italian probably has little to no contact with the Church on an everyday level…more those who are involved in a parish. – VALENTINA, 20’S, ROME

Yes, the Church is aware of the plight of so many Italians and does offers Sacraments as a real support in this, and in spite of the lack of vocations, the contact with the Church is at a good level. – COSTANZA, 20’s, PARMA

The Church always helps people in need, by offering them the Sacraments or even economic help (like the canteens or other charitable actions from the Caritas). Sadly, people are not having contact with the priests; this is not due to the hostility of Church people, but to the prejudices of people. – LAURA, 20’s, MARCHE

Bishops in Italy are known to be the closest to the hierarchy and this is helping them to be focused on good doctrine. We have also new movements that are bringing new life to the Church, like “Comunione e Liberazione” i “Focolarini”, and new saints that are inspiring us like Padre Pio, la Beata Molla, Piergiorgio Frassati, just to mention a few. I think that with all these and with hope in the Holy Spirit, we are going to have all we need. – PIERLUIGI, 50’S, MILAN

The Church's members are humans, and as humans, they have both merits and defects. The Church has a uniform presence in Italy, and it manages to meet people’s needs which have not only a spiritual origin. It is important to have the Grace to meet kind people, sent and guided by God's Providence. There is a need to pray daily so that more and more people may have vocations to the priesthood and to the religious life. – MARCELLA, 50’s, LIGURIA

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