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Head of Italian bishops tells separatists that Italy is one

Bagnasco says violence is wrong, in comments to secessionists

03 April, 13:37
Head of Italian bishops tells separatists that Italy is one (ANSA) - Genoa, April 3 - Violence is wrong and must be repudiated, the head of Italian bishops Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco said Thursday, one day after a group of secessionists from the Veneto were arrested on allegations that included subversion.

"Any form of violence must always be repudiated," Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa and president of the Italian Bishops Conference, said following Mass celebrated at Ansaldo Energia offices.

On Wednesday, police arrested 24 separatists in the Venice region suspected of crimes that include criminal association for terrorism and subversion of the democratic order.

An Italian prosecutor said that the separatists were planning an "insurrection" to obtain independence for the region, "by using violent methods and insurrection," said Brescia Prosecutor Tommaso Buonanno after the arrests.

Among their complaints, the separatists said their region is paying more in taxes than it can afford, and do not receive enough government services or authority in return.

Bagnasco said that Veneto is not alone in its economic concerns.

"There are difficulties for everyone, not just for one part of the country, and they can be severe," said Bagnasco.

He added that political concerns, including calls for greater regional authority, must be dealt with through discussion and not threats of violence.

"The question of decentralization of some functions to be seen through the perspective of non-violence, cooperation, national," said the cardinal.

We must consider the unity of the country, not only as an historic ideal, but as an effective, actual nation," said Bagnasco.