THE VATICAN may be starting to accept the idea that the Communist Party will have to join the Christian Democrats in governing Italy. Cardinal Antonio Poma, president of the Italian Bishops' Conference, made no reference to the current dialogue between the Christian Democrats and the Communists in his keynote speech to the May meeting of the conference, and this has been regarded in Italy as a significant omission.
Until now the Vatican has been firmly opposed to the "historic compromise" between the Christian Democrats and the Cornmunists, and actively backed the Christian Democrats in the elections last year. Cardinal Poma spoke of the need for Christia,ns to offer a "clear profession of evangelical values in contrast to pride, greed and impurity which has devastated our people and has already polluted the new generation." According to the Italian bishops, Italians should expect to make more sacrifices
Bishops on Italian politics
in the face of the increasing political uncertainty, growing unemployment, im pending changes in the law and disregard for moral and ,spiritual values. Expressing this view, without going into detail about the political situation, Cardinal Ponta said he considered the "acute economic, political and social crisis in Italy" very alarming. The current situation was, he said, a "hard trial for the faithful". They faced economic difficulties and knew there was the possibility of abortion on demand being legalised. The organised terrorism was not confined to the universities.
Cardinal Poma saw "like an epidemic, the spread of drug addiction, pornography, lack of truth in the mass media and contempt for religion". The family was under attack. The faithful must be aware that ideologies which were powerful in Italy wished to destroy the unity which God wanted in the Church, and these ideologies would never be able to live with Christianity. The Italian bishops were concerned about promoting true values for all in the future.