Don’t Underestimate The Vatican’s Power In Italian Politics

Religion Unplugged | 8/21/2019 | Staff
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That these political parties, largely rejected by the electorate last year, want to join forces and stop the anti-immigrant League should come as no surprise. Undoubtedly, the Catholic Church will be rooting for such an outcome, favoring a French-style centrist coalition. Any chance the church has in regards to regaining the Italian electorate from the far right can only come through this potential alliance. It would also help slow Salvini’s momentum over the past year, where even the once-hostile southern region of the country has started to support his policies.

Pope Francis has been largely pro-immigrant, leading to a theory that the Vatican (through Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin) may be trying to broker a deal between Five Star, the Democratic Party and even Forza Italia. Salvini and the Vatican hierarchy have been at odds for years, primarily on the issue of immigration.

Catholicism - Church - Leaders - Teaches - Compassion

Catholicism, church leaders argue, teaches compassion and charity, qualities lacking from Salvini’s anti-immigrant policies regarding refugees from Africa and the Middle East. Salvini, on the other hand, ran on the campaign slogan Prima gli Italiani (which translates to “Italians First”) and is an unapologetic nationalist. That Salvini modeled his campaign after President Donald Trump’s is part of a larger, global dissatisfaction against elites and lifelong political ruling class.

In a New York Times Op-Ed last month, Mattia Ferraresi, who wrote for the Italian newspaper Il Foglio and is a Nieman fellow at Harvard University, noted that The League’s “embrace of Christianity is a recent addition.” The former secessionist party had been mostly libertarian on social issues. Under Salvini, the party became anti-immigrant and more conservative on issues such as abortion and gay marriage. He’s been known to clutch a rosary at political rallies, where Pope Francis is often booed whenever his name is brought up. Politico has branded...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion Unplugged
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