The Vatican's Secretary of State has supported the call by an outspoken cardinal for Italian immigration authorities to discriminate in favour of immigrants from Catholic populations such as Latin America and the Philippines.
    Last week, Cardinal Giacomo Biffi told 200 priests in his Bologna archdiocese that because Italy is accepting so many immigrants from Muslim countries, the Church is facing "one of the most serious and biggest assaults on Christianity that history remembers".
    He said: "I don't know how you're going to cope with Friday as a holiday, polygamy, discrimination against women, and the fundamentalism of Muslims, for whom politics and religion are the same thing."
    Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State, on Friday called the Cardinal Biffi's words "wise, very wise," and said they deserved to be "understood, not twisted".
    Other voices within the Church, reported in the newspaper l'Avennire have also supported the essence of Biffi's speech, calling for a careful consideration of the cultural integration of immigrants.
    However Caritas Italy Director Fr Elvio Damoli said that no matter where immigrants come from, "they are carriers of new things and, with their abilities, can revive and renew our potential, which at times is asleep."
Telegraph/Zenit (available soon)
18 Sep 00

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