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“The Pope has invited us to use respectful language. I pointed out that it is exactly what we do.” Massimiliano Gandolfini tells us everything about his meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican. Including the Pontiff’s recommendation to be moderate, so as to avoid the transformation of debate on crucial issues such as gender and civil unions into a fruitless fight. The Chairman of the Committee “Let us defend our children” and promoter of the last two “Family Days” embraced this invitation. “We do not want to be discriminatory against anyone – he told Interris -. Our struggle is against misleading ideologies, not against people.” Bergoglio, for the rest, invited him to move forward, not to give up, exactly the words Gandolfini needed to hear after some alleged misunderstanding with parts of the ecclesiastical hierarchy.

The Family Day has received the Pope’s endorsement. What did Bergoglio tell you?

“I desired very much to speak eye to eye with the Holy Father, because I needed some certainties in order to continue or not to continue our action. This meeting was full of involvement and empathy. The Pope welcomed me as a son and this was what I desired; we had the opportunity to talk about many things, some general questions and also other more specific, such as civil unions and gender education at school. The Pope totally shared our values and principles. I asked him to make strong statements, which represent the route to follow to us.”

Have you discussed the role of laymen in civil society?

“Yes, the Pope urged us to get involved in political arena to find legislative, educational, and training tools that can translate Christian principles into practice. I have pledged our complete loyalty to him and to the Magisterium of the Church and our commitment – which has become even more determined after that meeting -, to recognize the good also in State laws.”

Has the fact that the Pope approves your struggle changed something in your movement?

“Now we know that we are not fighting windmills like Don Quixote without having anyone to back us. The endorsement of the Successor of Peter is of the greatest value. From a practical point of view we will keep working: on anti-gender paths with the Ministry of Education and trying to do everything in our power in the parliament, even if the situation is hopeless, to stop the bad civil unions law.”

On several occasions, the Pope has talked about gender ideology. Did you discuss it during the meeting?

“He repeated that it is an unacceptable ideological colonization and reiterated that forcing a child not to have a father and a mother is unthinkable. He invited us to fight against all those things.”

The debate on civil unions has opened in the House and soon the text will be there too. Renzi has been clear about that he might put forward a confidence vote on the Cirinnà bill also in the House. What is your opinion about the Prime Minister’s move?

“It is unacceptable from a democratic point of view. This law – which is deeply divisive – did not have the opportunity to be confirmed through discussion. Resorting to a confidence vote for the second time is a new slap in the face of the Italian population that gathered at the Family Day. It brings to the fore desire to quickly close a delicate question with the same old mania of action. I believe it is better not to do anything at all than doing things wrong. In this specific case it was done wrong, quickly, and unfairly because children’s rights have been violated. We will remember, especially when the time will come for the plebiscite.”

What does the Pope think of this law? Did you talk about it?

“It has made him bitter, especially on the question of surrogacy.”

You have mentioned one last attempt to stop civil unions. How will you act?

“There is almost no room for action left, especially if they give it the vote of confidence. We are currently pushing on the head of State on some unconstitutional aspects which will have to be carefully sifted through. We have a document designed by sixty constitutionalists to be presented to Mattarella”.

First there was gender ideology at school, then the Cirinnà bill, what will the next Family Day about?

“These are two pieces of the same strategy against the man. There are not only these issues, there is also the law on advance directives related to euthanasia, despite the fact that these things are different, and there is the debate on the liberalization of the so-called soft drugs, which – I repeat as a doctor -: do not exist. Then there is the quick divorce bill. Generally speaking, there is a strategy to alter the structure of human beings. On May 28th we will have a convention in Rome with members and sympathizers in which we will discuss the mission that lies ahead.”

How should politics act to protect families?

“Promoting the family, from the fiscal, social security, and educational points of view, should on the agenda. To interventions in this field does not mean only to give 500 € to large families. We need a real policy that will focus on families, especially on those with many children. The recently adopted strategies are not helpful.”

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