Cardinal Matteo Zuppi: Celibacy is not a life without love

Matteo Zuppi was one of the auxiliary bishops of Rome until in 2015 Francis decided to appoint him archbishop of Bologna, in Italy. Four years later he made him a cardinal.

He says that the idea of ​​being a priest was an idea that was forged little by little, thanks to the adolescence lived in the Community of San Egidio.

Archbishop of Bologna (Italy)
“I would say that at first I even felt some allergy or rejection of the idea because my parents, who were saints … my father worked in the Vatican and it is not that being a priest was something for what it said: How beautiful! No, no, no … But being in the Community was … I was a teenager and I felt that it was something alternative, we felt different ”.

Cardinal Matteo Zuppi explained that the closeness to the poor and the commitment of the laity around him in the Community of San Egidio was only a starting point. The decision to be a priest was progressive, he discovered it and matured over time, with the natural difficulties of a total surrender. 

Archbishop of Bologna
“You have to be careful: celibacy does not mean leading a life without affection. Celibacy is knowing how to love people in a different way. And that’s no small thing, huh? He is not ugly. If we were to take friendship a little more seriously, learning to love each other… to love each other is not the sexuality of pornography ”.

Matteo Zuppi is one of the cardinals appointed by Francisco with diplomatic experience in countries in crisis. 

He was one of those who followed the peace talks in Mozambique in the early 90s. He says that seeing the poverty with which people lived in that corner of the world made him reflect a lot. 

Archbishop of Bologna
“What was surprising was that life was worth nothing. And that there was nothing because of the drought, but above all the economic crisis caused by the war. There was nothing. There was nothing in the stores. You were going to the market and there was nothing. Not that there was anything. Nothing. And they all had to cope, so they resorted to the black market and what little was found. And life was worth nothing because since there was nothing, everyone was ready for anything ”.

This makes Cardinal Matteo Zuppi one of the European cardinals most familiar with the crises in Africa.

Javier Romero/

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