Conversation with Andrea Turazzi Bishop of San Marino-Montefeltro: "In the ancient Republic where the referendum on abortion won with the 77,28% of votes, Mount Titano will become like Mount Taygetos?

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INTERVIEW WITH ANDREA TURAZZI, BISHOP OF SAN MARINO-MONTEFELTRO: "IN THE ANCIENT REPUBLIC WHERE THE REFERENDUM ON ABORTION WON WITH THE 77,28% OF VOTES, MONTE TITANO WILL BECOME LIKE MONTE TAIGETO?

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“I don't think it's relevant nor do I think it's right to compare the San Marino people to the Spartans. It is necessary not to identify that 77% of “Yes” abortion with the extremely aggressive and ideological attitude of some groups. The Referendum in San Marino was celebrated as a proactive Referendum to ask for decriminalization. However, the application also envisages the possibility of an abortion practice without limitations. In fact, it takes into account only the woman's point of view. The right of the unborn is not adequately considered ".

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Author:
Jorge Facio Lince
President of Editions The island of Patmos.

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INTRODUCTORY HISTORICAL NOTE: THE ANCIENT SERENISSIMA REPUBLIC

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(C)capital of the Republic of San Marino: the fortress, also called guaita, on the top of Monte Titano

In the Republic of San Marino this the Serenissima, 33.860 inhabitants, after a heated referendum campaign, those entitled to vote went to the polls where the 77,28% of voters voted in favor of abortion. A result that brings to mind certain oceanic majorities and that induces to reflect also animated by understandable restlessness.

The theme of ours the interview that will follow deserves a historical and hagiographic introduction. The Republic was born on 3 September 301. Its founder was Marino, a stonecutter from the island of Rab who fled Dalmatia during the persecutions of Christians initiated by Diocletian. With a small Christian community he settled on Mount Titano, the highest of the seven hills where the capital stands today. The owner of those lands was certainly Felicissima, rich noblewoman of the city of Rimini who donated that property to the community of Marino, who will later title it in his name. Together with Marino the figure of another stonemason stands out, Voice of Leone. This second, after having also reached Monte Titano, it moved to Monte Feliciano, known today as Montefeltro, continuing to work on the extraction and processing of stones. On that hill Leo will build a church, in an area called today San Leo, con-cathedral of the Diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro, which has its own cathedral and bishopric in Pennabilli, country of approx 1.000 inhabitants. Marino and Leo, according to the ancient tradition of deacons, they are the patron saints of the Diocese. The community of San Marino becomes independent in the eighth century after the fall of the Byzantine army of Ravenna, metropolitan archiepiscopal seat of which the Diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro is a suffragan. The link between the ancient Republic - which arises from deep Christian roots - and the Church of Rome has always been very close and solid. In 1291 the Supreme Pontiff Niccolò IV recognized San Marino as a Christian republic.

Even today the Serenissima Republic it has diplomatic relations with the Holy See and the apostolic nunciature is located on its territory. The office of apostolic nuncio is held by the apostolic nuncio in Italy, who carries out his diplomatic office with double accreditation: to the Government of the Italian Republic and to the Government of the Republic of San Marino. For this reason the diplomatic seat of the Holy See in Italy is called Apostolic Nunciature in Italy and in the Republic of San Marino. The penultimate Apostolic Nuncio in series order, S. AND. Mons. Adriano Bernardini (2011-2017), he was a particular and appreciated connoisseur of the history of that country. Although trained at the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary and ordained priest for the Diocese of Rome, he was a native of Montefeltro (Piandimeleto, fraction of Monastero). A native of Montefeltro was also another distinguished diplomat of the Holy See, S. AND. Mons. Pietro Sambi, who was apostolic nuncio to the United States of America. The current Apostolic Nuncio is the Swiss S. AND. Mons. Emil Paul Tscherrig. From 2014 Bishop of the Diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro is S. AND. Mons. Andrea Turazzi.

The Bishops of San Marino, albeit holders of the episcopal see and having a residence in the territory of the ancient Republic, they do not reside there permanently, this for political reasons linked to the particular nature of the government of that country, where the two Heads of State are elected on a short-term basis, called Captains Regent. Their Serene Excellencies in fact, they remain in office for only six months. In such a small country and with such a system of government the Bishop, who can remain on his episcopal chair for twenty or thirty years, it could assume a role of greater authority than the periodical Heads of State, especially if he had a strong personality.

The San Marino people are deeply proud of their ancient Republic and they never liked the jokes of certain Italians from the surrounding neighboring Romagna. Diplomatic incidents with Italy over time are far from rare, for example when on the occasion of the Feast of the Armed Forces a satirical magazine from Romagna alluded to the San Marino aviation made up of four remote-controlled helicopters and its naval fleet made up of ten battery-powered boats run in the water of a tank. Perhaps unaware, the ironic geographers, that the Republic has no access to the sea and that San Marino could have a naval fleet like Switzerland or the Principality of Liechtenstein, but also of European countries with a much greater territorial extension on which no one is ironic about the lack of naval fleets: Austria, Hungary, Slovakia … Or when the San Marino Armed Forces went on high alert - which happened more than once - due to military vehicles of the Italian Army that crossed its territory. An episode understandably experienced as an invasion, up to arousing the vibrant protests of H.E. Antonella Mularoni Minister of Foreign Affairs. Because with all due respect to the surrounding and neighboring Romagnoli laughing and pleasure-seekers, the San Marino people are proud of their country and their Republic, the oldest in the world. For this they deserve deep respect, above all profound historical respect.

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INTERVIEW WITH ANDREA TURAZZI, BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE OF SAN MARINO-MONTEFELTRO

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Author:
Gabriele Giordano M. Scardocci, o.p.

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S. AND. Mons. Andrea Turazzi, Bishop of San Marino-Montefeltro

(D). Excellency, you were born in Stellata di Bondeno (Ferrara) ordained priest for the Archdiocese of Ferrara-Comacchio (27.05.1972). It was estimated by the then Archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio Carlo Caffarra (1995-2003). For four decades he lived in contact with the People of God exercising the sacred priestly ministry as a parish priest, while dedicating himself to the formation of future priests as spiritual director of the seminary and teacher of pastoral theology. He is elected to the bishopric of San Marino-Montefeltro by the Supreme Pontiff Francesco (30.11.2013) and consecrated bishop by Cardinal Carlo Caffarra (24.01.2014), Archbishop of Bologna (2003-2015). We can begin by asking you for a personal memory of this bishop and theologian who returned to the Father's House on 6 September 2017, remembered today as one of the greatest experts on the subject of marriage, of the family and of human procreation?

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R. I was lucky enough to have the then Don Carlo Caffarra as a professor. I perfectly remember the clarity and depth of his lessons. Very strict, but extraordinarily welcoming. The Ferrara episcopate of Cardinal Carlo Caffarra has left an imprint on each of us priests, but I think he has profoundly marked him too: he added, to the robustness of the race theologian, the delicacy of the shepherd (fortify and comfort). I have many personal memories, that I jealously guard; two I share them: her tears during a coffee break, in the seat of the Regional Episcopal Conference, due to the decline in vocations; his joy in telling me about the "spiritual" experience lived in the Conclave that elected Pope Francis. I had no "doubt" about Cardinal Carlo Caffarra's attachment to the person of the Holy Father - Pope Francis - and not just to the "papacy". This is proved by the fact that when some attempted to place Cardinal Caffarra in conflict with the Holy Father on issues of the family, he didn't hesitate to answer:

"I would have been more pleased if it were said that the Archbishop of Bologna has a mistress, rather than saying that he has a thought contrary to that of the Pope. Because if a bishop has a thought contrary to that of the Pope, he must go, but just you have to go by the diocese, because it would lead the faithful on a path that is no longer that of Jesus Christ. Therefore he would lose himself eternally and risk the loss of the faithful. It is something that has deeply embittered me because it is slanderous, because not only has the Pope never spoken about this, but when he spoke he asked for a debate. And the debate is true if all voices can speak. I was born a papist, I lived as a papist and a papist I want to die " [N.d.R. see video of the interview].

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(D). As Bishop of the Diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro he found himself facing a referendum campaign for the legalization of abortion within a country that is the smallest and oldest republic in the world. She immediately let it be understood that for the particular Church she governs it was not a political question at stake but a question that touched a very sensitive chord of our faith.: human life, such considered by us Catholics from the moment of conception. Certain, everything was played out on the political ground, that of the referendum, through the free expression of the popular will. He believes that those in favor of the legalization of abortion have understood that for the Bishop it was not a purely political question but a delicate question of conscience?

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R. I intervened as a pastor. As far as I know, the people of San Marino have never contested my positions expressed in my speech to the Vicariate of San Marino, in two homilies in the Basilica in solemn circumstances (Corpus Christi and Solemnity of San Marino), finally, two press releases close to the Referendum, appreciated by many for their clarity and tone. Diverse vleisure of the “sign yes” they have taken on evident ideological tones, with typical slogans: "Neither God, nor Church, but women decide for themselves ... ". The “No” was substantially supported by two formations: a secular type, with reasons of reason, of science and anthropology; the other constituted by the Council of Ecclesial Aggregations (about ten). Officially the parties have appealed to freedom of conscience. But several parties (some of the government of the Republic) they fully supported the campaign for the “Yes”.

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(D). According to the official statistics of the 2019, out of a population of 33.860 inhabitants the Catholics of San Marino constitute the 97,2% of the population, formed by the baptized. Whereas the 77,28% of voters voted in favor of legalizing abortion, the result of this referendum is perhaps not a paradigm of the feeling of contemporary society? Faced with this quorum, how many Catholics could be who, after having voted in favor of the abortion law, then went to Sunday Mass after leaving the polls, feeling with the conscience in perfect order? If so, does not believe that we would be faced with a split between being Catholic and putting into practice what our faith considers a good that is never and in no case available, human life?

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R. Frankly, I did not expect such a sensationally unbalanced outcome. It is evident that the conditioning of the dominant culture also weighs heavily in San Marino, secularization and the split between faith and life: many are Christians without ever having decided to be! Perhaps this Referendum could have been avoided with mediation between the political forces. However, beyond the outcome, it was an occasion for a leap of awareness and responsibility: for Catholics of greater consistency in bearing witness to the Gospel of life and for all to support a culture and a policy favorable to the family.

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(D). In the Monday edition 27 September the newspaper of the Bishops of Italy, L'Avvenire, speaks of many problems to be solved after the "yes" of the Republic of San Marino. The newspaper dei Vescovi highlights the failure to indicate a time limit that could lead to the possibility of abortion up to the ninth month, with the risk of creating a free port of free abortion within the Italian territory. Do you think this risk can translate into reality?

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R. I hope that the law that will be introduced in the Republic of San Marino will be formulated in such a way as to keep in mind the sensitivity in favor of the life of many San Marino citizens.. At the Great and General Council (Parliament) petitions to this effect have already been filed. The low turnout is to be considered a real defeat, but this data also tells the relative value of the referendum outcome. Far from imagining a "Catholic abortion" - abortion is always and in any case a crime - I hope that we will arrive at a balanced law, that truly manages not to leave anyone behind and does not limit itself to accepting the ideology of waste. The first commitment will consist in closely monitoring the evolution of the political debate on the subject, in order to prevent the bankruptcy Italian experience and the excesses of certain European abortion laws, and to keep alive the humanitarian and Christian tradition of San Marino. The second commitment is “come next”: save lives, help moms, support associations pro-life; not last, educational commitment to young people and adults. Therefore, I have reasons to hope that a free port will not be created for free abortion.

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(D). During the referendum campaign, the opposing parties discussed in heated tones also on the so-called "selective abortion" which would allow for the killing of children with Down syndrome, or to children with anomalies that are not incompatible with a life worth living. We ask her: the Titan (N.d.R. Monte Titano is called the hill where the ancient settlement of the Serenissima Republic of San Marino stands), it could not run the risk of changing into the ancient Mount Taygetos, the height from which the Spartans, according to mythological tales, they threw down babies who were deformed or deemed too weak to live and grow according to the aesthetic and physical patterns of Greek culture?

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R. I do not think it is relevant nor do I think it is right to compare the San Marino people to the Spartans. It is necessary not to identify that 77% of “Yes” abortion with the extremely aggressive and ideological attitude of some groups¹. The Referendum in San Marino was celebrated as a proactive Referendum to ask for decriminalization. However, the application also envisages the possibility of an abortion practice without limitations. In fact, it takes into account only the woman's point of view. The right of the unborn child is not adequately considered. We do not look at the responsibility of the community. There are many possibilities for the protection of motherhood in our time, considered scientific progress, financial resources, increased social sensitivity. It must not happen that a woman voluntarily terminates her pregnancy for economic reasons or for lack of help and protection. Now the word goes to the legislator. The offer of a legislative framework of real help to women is hoped for, of protection of life and acceptance of conscientious objection. There will certainly be legislation that is different from the current one; a freedom that was not previously foreseen will be given. I hope it's not an incentive to abortion, to a lightness in decisions or - as Pope Francis recently said - "to a very ugly habit of killing".

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(D). The condition of decline in which we live at the ecclesial level is evident, the Church being world in the world, as evidenced by the dissociation between being Catholic and Catholic living and thinking that leads to a majority of 77,28% in favor of the abortion law. Grant us a question that is not easy to ask a bishop: as pastors in the care of souls and as theologians, how many serious responsibilities we have, in the face of all this? We have recently had cases of Italian priests who have publicly declared themselves in favor of euthanasia with great prominence in the national media. Certain, it is a matter of a few cases, but the resonance of these few is destined to create scandal and disorientation in the People of God, already too bewildered. It is not that we have lost the perception of the sacredness of The gift of life within the very context of formation for the ministerial priesthood? For this we ask you: where we can start again?

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R. repeat: one cannot be Catholic and deny the very principles of Catholicism, as the absolute right to life and the human dignity of the conceived, as I was able to underline on the feast of the Patron Saint and Founder Marino, the 3 last September. There are Catholics committed on the social front, on human rights and on the major issues of ecology. Some others emphasize the attention to safeguarding non-negotiable ethical values; sometimes it seems that a groove emerges between the two perspectives. To both of them I felt the duty to reaffirm how the Gospel of God's love for man, may the Gospel of the dignity of the person and the Gospel of life be one and indivisible Gospel. I also offer another consideration to be interpreted in the right way. We are giving a lot of attention, spending resources and effort, to human promotion. We can only appreciate the work, eg, of the diocesan Caritas, the testimony of volunteering, pastoral programs in favor of the urgencies and needs of the people. However, I would like the same impetus for evangelization. I would like more emphasis on the primacy of the proclamation of Jesus Christ: to be hope in a wounded world! In the coming days we will draw up a sort of "road map" in our Diocese:

– support for our faithful in the experience of a faith capable of interacting with the world and arousing hope;

– accompaniment of people in difficulty, spiritual guidance and appropriate catechesis;

– convergent work of pastoral offices on the theme of life;

– sustainability of a family counseling center;

– celebration of the Vigil for nascent Life e, as in Italy, of the Day for Life.

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(D). Rod Dreher wrote the book The Benedict option, to be understood as the escape of Benedict from Nursia who dares to separate from the now corrupt empire and upset by the invading barbarians in order to rediscover his origins, their roots and the Christian identity that today in the world sounds like an unpronounceable blasphemy ". Do you think we Catholics, without ceasing to be world in the world, but also averse to certain logics of this world, from abortion to euthanasia and for this, if necessary, hated by the world (cf.. GV 15, 18-21), we will end up arriving at a new "Benedict option" suitable for our contemporary society?

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R. I know Rod Dreher's book The Benedict option. It has been talked about for a long time among us too. We were able to appreciate interesting and certainly positive achievements. I would not like the vocation of "yeast in dough" to be weakened, the will to take on and "inhabit" our time. We cannot give in to the syndrome of feeling besieged. Even a "Catholic" agricultural cooperative, or a "Catholic" school, more than commendable initiatives, they must engage in dialogue and offer inspiration to all.

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(D). We asked one of his presbyters to paint his own bishop for us, he answered like this: «My Bishop is a believer of solid faith and a true pastor. He is always ready to go out of his way for his priests, that he would never abandon in the loneliness and discouragement of the dark night. It is always present, and he is very jealous of his priests, knowing full well how jealous God is of us all ". How does it feel to know that one of your priests has answered us like this?

 

R. (The Bishop responds with a smile)

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From the island of Patmos, 6 October 2021

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¹ N.d.R. The voters of San Marino were alone 14.558 equal to 41,11 of those entitled (circa 35.400). The ones in favor were approx 11.250 equal to 77,28% of the voters while the opponents about 3.308 equal to 22,72%. That impressive 77,28% represents only the 31,78% of voters, yet another proof that a fierce minority - in this case less than one in three San Marino - imposes its choices on the absent or inert majority due to laziness, little sense of responsibility, disinterest.

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About Bishop Andrea Turazzi

6 thoughts on "Conversation with Andrea Turazzi Bishop of San Marino-Montefeltro: "In the ancient Republic where the referendum on abortion won with the 77,28% of votes, Mount Titano will become like Mount Taygetos?

  1. Rev. fathers,

    in this troubled time, it may be helpful to re-read this:

    https://www.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/it/speeches/2011/march/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20110310_parroci-roma.html

    The entire lecture commenting on the events of St.. Paolo Atti 20,17-38.

    A very short quote among many:

    Pope Pius XI said: “The big problem of our time is not the negative forces, is the drowsiness of the good ". "Stay awake": let's ponder this thing, and we think that the Lord in the Garden of Olives has twice said to his apostles: “Stay awake!”, and they sleep. "Stay awake", he tells us; let's try not to sleep in this time, but to be really ready for God's will and for the presence of his Word, of his Kingdom.

    How can we awaken the sleepy goodies?

  2. “We cannot give in to the syndrome of feeling besieged”.

    The usual 60s misunderstanding. The problem is not that we are prey to the syndrome of feeling besieged. The problem is that we really are besieged and our ranks are thinning.

    And the consequences are those revealed in the inglorious referendum, where the majority of the self-styled Catholics of San Marino do not vote in favor of abortion: she simply washed her hands (the article seems elusive to me on this point). I would propose to name it “Republic of Pontius Pilate”, more than with the name of a saint. Which San Marino made his personal “Benedict option” centuries before St. Benedict and Rod Dreher.

    For the rest, it's not that “out there” there are a lot of people who can't wait to meet Christians to go arm in arm or let the dough rise. “Out there” there is a lot of people who, as soon as he meets real Christians (that is not of etiquette but of way of doing, therefore even without having declared themselves as such) takes them to raspberries, insults and maybe beatings. I speak from decades of experience. Monsignor would do well to read Matthew Forde's book “desocialization. The crisis of postmodernity”, with the chapter “The attack on healthy souls”. Book that, incidentally, Card. Caffara.

  3. From the heart and as an old reader of the island of Patmos who has been following this magazine since 2015, I tell you that this interview with the Bishop of San Marino-Montefeltro is extraordinary for its wisdom, Balance, lucidity in presenting such a terrible theme, abortion, considered by many, too many, a “right”, one “social conquest” …
    The historical introduction that precedes it on the history of the Republic of San Marino is also interesting.
    I hope to read still other interventions by Msgr. Andrea Turazzi.

  4. Dear Fathers, dear brother priests of the island of Patmos,

    to 85 year old, and lived the last ones 40 years of not easy Church history, now we expect to finish our earthly days with all the disenchantment that an old priest can have, so we end up not being surprised by anything anymore, having fun, with a venial sin of cynicism, observing who, inside and outside the Church, is amazed at everything, less than what one should be amazed at.
    I don't know the Bishop of San Marino-Montefeltro, I appreciated the spirit of wisdom and prudence, which took me back to the years of my priestly youth, when bishops who spoke in this way were not a rare exception, but the norm.
    And so I was pleasantly surprised, even if by now I am no longer surprised by anything.

Comments are closed.