When Bishops Speak Up
ROME (AFP) - With less than one out of five Italians casting their ballot, Italy appeared set to keep its tough assisted procreation law after the powerful Roman Catholic Church called for a boycott to scuttle the two-day referendum.
The vote is seen as a first test for newly-elected Pope Benedict XVI, who backed a call by Italian cardinals for predominantly Roman Catholic Italians to abstain on moral grounds.
The appeal appeared to have its effect, with only 18.7 percent of eligible voters casting their ballots Sunday in a vote in which turnout is key since more than 50 percent of the electorate must vote for results to be valid.
The turnout was half of 35 percent turnout experts say is needed for the quorum to be considered attainable by the close of voting on Monday at 3:00 pm (1500 GMT).
(read the entire article here)
It's amazing what happens when bishops take a clear stance on issues. 82.3% of voters didn't turn out, many of them no doubt due to the bishops' request that they not vote. I noticed that none of the articles I have read have mentioned any dissenting or "progressive" Italian bishops, arguing against the "outdated" or "oppresive" part of the Church. No doubt the unity helps their case. It would be interesting to see what would happen if American bishops were to take a similar clear, strong stance.