Insight on the News
Italy Ready for a Change
● In 1929 Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and Pope Pius XI entered into an agreement known as the Lateran Treaty, but commonly referred to as the “Concordat.” Now negotiations are under way between the Italian government and the Vatican to revise the 46-year-old treaty. Pressures in this direction have been strong. They began building up after World War II, and the issue of divorce has more recently added force to the move for change. The Concordat grants Church law the same status as civil law. Therefore, a clear contradiction now exists. The Italian legislature made divorce allowable under civil law but the Church law still prohibits it—yet the Concordat says that both laws are of equal force.
Last year the Church waged a major campaign to overturn the government’s divorce law but suffered overwhelming defeat. As a Reuter’s dispatch from Rome says, this “was the clearest sign possible that the population was ready for change—and that the time was now ripe for an overhaul of the Concordat.” Italy’s leading political party, the Christian Democrats, backed the Church in its antidivorce campaign and has since suffered some election losses. They, too, feel the need for a change if they are to regain some of their losses. Heightening their concern is the specter of a growing Communist party, looming ever larger on the Italian scene.
● A year ago “U.S. News & World Report” magazine took a survey among leading Americans to rate the influence on national decisions and actions that eighteen major organizations and institutions exercise. In that survey, “Organized religion” placed last. This year in a similar survey “Organized religion” placed next to last—but only because the list of institutions included was expanded from eighteen to twenty-four. Actually, “Organized religion” dropped down from eighteenth to twenty-third in its rating among American institutions as an influence on the national way of life.
In a similar vein, the periodical named “Bunte” describes the way many Germans are trying to cope with the financial impact suffered as a result of tax reform. Large numbers are severing themselves from membership in the churches and thus freeing themselves from the tax that such membership requires. According to “Bunte,” “the Catholic dioceses and the evangelical state churches combined expect to receive 1.2 billion DM [Deutsche mark] less in 1975 from church taxes.”
● “The range of medical conditions connected with homosexual acts is broad indeed,” says the April 15, 1975, issue of “Modern Medicine.” Pointing to the most frequent consequence, the article says: “There is no question that venereal disease is extremely prevalent among homosexually active males. The prevalence among homosexually active females is not quite so high, but it is still higher than among men and women whose activity is exclusively heterosexual.”
The list of ailments occurring stretches far beyond the usual venereal diseases, such as gonorrhea and syphilis. Among frequent conditions, doctors find that, in the genital organs, there may be inflammation of the prostate gland; inflammation and constriction of the urethra; swelling and ulceration of the lymphatic tissues; ulceration and formation of granulation in the groin, spreading to the buttocks and genitals; in the anal region there may develop a weakening of the anal muscles with resultant loss of sphincter control; enlargement of hemorrhoids; perforation and laceration of the colon; amebic dysentery; and cancerous tumors.
All of which points up the accuracy of the Bible’s statement that those who ‘change the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature receive in themselves the full recompense due for their error.’—Rom. 1:26, 27.