By Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi
|Hundreds of thousands rally in Rome against sodomy|
Hundreds of thousands of Italians gathered in Rome on Saturday, June 20, to demonstrate against the imposition of ‘gender ideology’ in schools and to condemn an Italian Senate bill that proposes to give same-sex partners equivalent rights as married couples. This is a reaction to Prime Minister Matteo Renzi who tries to push a civil union bill through parliament.
Although comprised mainly of Catholics, other religious groups also took part, including the so-called Evangelicals, the Muslims, and Jews. Holding aloft banners reading “The family will save the world" and "Let's defend our children", a sea of people crammed into the San Giovanni square near the Italian capital's historic centre to support family values. The square, which can hold an estimated 300,000 people, was overflowing with the young, elderly and parents with toddlers, an AFP photographer said, with many more demonstrators spilling into nearby streets. Organisers for their part said as many as one million people showed up for the pro-marriage rally, including about 100 members of Parliament. The president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council on the Family, Abp. Vincenzo Paglia, was also present and offered a special blessing for the crowd.
“We rally to defend our children from gender theory introduced in the schools, that damages the innocence and the healthy development of children, to defend the natural family from the assault to which it is constantly subjected by our Parliament, to defend the right of parents to educate their children, and to promote the right of every child to grow up with a father and a mother,” rally organizer and long-time Italian pro-family activist Toni Brandi told journalists.
Participants taking part in what organizers called a “family day” packed to overflowing the Piazza San Giovanni in front of the St. John Lateran Basilica.
"We are a million," organizers said from the stage, reported Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera. While Zenit in Italian has reported a million demonstrators, other news sources such as Breitbart puts the number at half a million, while mainstream media puts the number even lower. Event organizer and Catholic leader Kiko Argüello of the Neocatechumenal Way believes there were even more than a million.
The grassroots-led rally is all the more remarkable in its overwhelming numbers in that it was announced at the beginning of June and received no prior media attention. By Sunday, reports of the rally became front page news in all of Italy’s major newspapers. The rally is even more remarkable in that a similar rally held last year only drew about 600 people.
Participants, many of them families with children, held banners that stated: “The family will save the world" and "Let's defend our children.” “No to gender ideology, no to ideological colonization of our children in the schools, no to the [Senate] bill Cirinnà and gay ‘marriage,’” “The natural family alone is the necessary and fundamental cell of society.”
"In my children's schools they are talking about families made up of two fathers or two mothers, without asking parents' permission," said 41-year old doctor Giuseppe Ripa, adding: "It's dangerous and wrong."
Fellow protester Piero Uroda, a 78-year-old pharmacist, said it was “not honest to say these things to the very young, it's not like they are students who can debate these ideas.”
“I don't want gay marriage or gay adoption, the natural family is like ours,” he said, pointing to his relatives gathered around.
The protest comes as the Italian senate examines a civil union bill, which Renzi wants to see go to a vote in the coming weeks, with the aim of legislation being enacted before the end of July.
The call for Italy to keep pace with its western European neighbours on the issue has grown stronger since Ireland voted overwhelmingly in favour of gay “marriage” last month.
While a survey published by Italian daily La Stampa at the end of May found that 51 percent of voters would support gay “marriage”, protesters in Rome said the state should stop trying to interfere in sexual or gender education.
“We are asking for families based on marriage be respected, and stressing the central role parents play. We forcefully reject the attempt to sneak into the curriculum projects which aim to destroy children’s sexual identities,” said Massimo Gandolfini, spokesman for the “Defend our children!” committee.
There were both cries of support and derision from the political sphere. Matteo Salvini, rising star on the far right and head of the Northern League party, sent a Facebook “hug for all the mummies and daddies protesting peacefully in Rome to defend their children’s future.”
Vincenzo Brana, head of the long-standing Arcigay gay rights association in Bologna, was quick to point out that “today is World Refugee Day”, with hundreds of thousands of migrants in Italy facing an uncertain future.
Their problems “are an urgent issue which concerns us all. Those who take to the streets to talk of other things show they are living on another planet, and I would recommend leaving them on that planet alone.”
Toni Brandi told LifeSiteNews that despite Francis’ so-called “condemnation” of gender ideology, only a handful of Catholic bishops lent their support to the rally.
Organizers say the event was a total success. “The Piazza was filled with light and truth, without anything homophobic or discriminatory. The families of Italy have come with enormous sacrifices to Rome and have raised their voice to be heard,” the organizers stated in a press release after the event.
“It was a large group of people and families in defence of the family, moved by love for our children,” said Mario Adinolfi, director of La Croce and founder of “Voglio la Mamma” [I need Mama].
Concluded organizers: “It was a family day with a million smiling faces, all crammed, crowded together, under the sun and in the rain, without losing their smiles. Young and old parents, grandparents and grandchildren, children of all ages, even toddlers in prams, all say in unison to those who work in those hallowed halls of power: ‘Hey, we are here! You cannot ignore us!!!’”
It should be noted that following Francis’ support of sodomy, many countries—particularly since 2013—have been “encouraged” to legalise same-sex “marriage”. In 2013, Francis 1, when asked by a journalist about the Vatican’s alleged “gay lobby”, answered that while a lobby might be an issue, he does not have any problem with the inclination to homosexuality itself: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” he said. Since then, Francis 1 has appointed a number of homosexuals to important positions of authority in the Catholic Church. At the end of the past 2 years, 2013, the globally renowned LGBT-news magazine Advocate picked Francis 1 as Personality of the Year for his liberal stance concerning homosexuals.