The video above relates to the procession in honour of Saint Anthony which took place in Padua a couple of days ago on occasion of the Feast.
This is another indication of how, slowly and softly but in a way that can’t be ignored anymore, Catholicism is coming back to the main stage of Italian public – and in time, make no mistake, political – life.
Padua has something more than 200,000 inhabitants, and the 100,000 people who attended this procession gave, even considering the traditionally Catholic region, a powerful message of what is happening in the country.
Yours truly has often expressed the opinion that Catholicism is something that goes very deep in the conscience of the faithful; a very strong bond, a home everyone feels linked to, something not even deluded, delirious barking cats want to abandon.
It suffices, therefore, that the Catholic hierarchy starts again to forcefully defend the Catholic message and the traditional Catholic values to cause, in time, a recovery of what is, for a Catholic, never really lost, but rather pushed in the background for lack of proper reflection and, more often, proper guidance.
If you look at this video, you’ll think yourself transported into another era: the identification of the City of Padua with his Saint is total. Associations of all kinds, religious and lay ones, are represented; the popular participation is, as already stated, massive; the symbiosis with the Institutions is evident (you will notice that the Carabinieri around the statue of the Saint are in dress uniform, and please also notice that the Carabinieri are not a local police but depend directly from Rome).
What you are seeing here is a desire to come back to old values, to a way of living that might have seemed to be constrictive at times, but whose advantages – temporal as well as spiritual – are now being slowly rediscovered.
It will take time before this resurgence of Catholic values translates in a clearly identifiable, more assertive political action; it will take time and, let me stress this, good bishops able to provide the faithful with the guidance they need.
But it’s happening, it’s happening already. The recent controversies in Italy (from the atheist advertisements on the buses, to the euthanasia battle, to the crucifix issue) have certainly contributed to a reawakening, to a recovery of one’s own values.
We never understand so well what we are, as when we are confronted with what we are not. Italian Catholicism, for a long time taken as a given, has been challenged, forcing millions to ask themselves what values they stand for; and helped in this, thank Goodness, from a Church establishment increasingly more able and willing to show some teeth and to man up to the challenges of our times.
Multa renascentur, quae iam cecidere