A Visit to Italy

We have been visiting a family who live down in the heel of Italy, on our way to the Conference of European University Chaplains in Hungary and to see our son in London. Our families are connected because of our hospitality to their daughter while studying in Adelaide; and we are inspired to visit them because of their hospitality to sick Chernobyl children.
As we struggle with the language barriers, we feel the pain of their struggle against corruption in their town and the dominance of a self-satisfied Catholic church, holding a historical religious monopoly over its people.
The present Mayor seems to be able to do whatever he wants. He flouts the law. We hear of payback against their family, because once one of their relatives was the Mayor. It’s petty power play.
Although most of the town attends church, it has little effect on curbing corruption. It is intent on its own life, maintaining its hold on the status quo through its own magic dispensations. Superstition can be a powerful force!
This family wants to bring cultural activity to the region. They are staging the International Festival of the Sustainable Imagination. It will probably end up being held in an old Cinema (a 15th Century granary) the parents have bought and are restoring – since the Mayor will almost certainly undermine them by forbidding their use of the public venue at the last minute. They really are thinking ahead to outfox those whose interest it is to maintain a narrow view of life.
We have less than two days with the family. But in that time hope and courage have been strengthened. Hope for some level of liberation from repression and courage to stand for its truth.

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