(ANSA) - Rome, November 14 - The Roman Catholic Church will not interfere in the affairs of the Italian State, Pope Benedict XVI said Monday.
He also stressed the Vatican was not looking for special benefits.
In a message to parliament, Benedict said: "The Church in Italy and every other country does not intend to claim any privilege but rather to fulfill its mission in legitimate respect for the secular nature of the State." The pope's message on the third anniversary of his predecessor John Paul II's historic visit to the House came amid polemics over the Church's allegedly privileged position in Italy. A new budget provision allows the Church not to pay property tax on its extensive real estate, effectively giving tax breaks to all Church activities, even commercial ones.
Some small and strongly secular parties such as the Socialists and the Radicals vainly fought the budget amendment, which was passed by a solid cross-party majority.
In recent years politicians on both sides of parliament have been accused of pandering to the Church's conservative positions in the hope of winning votes in what is still a deeply Catholic country.
Read the complete article Church won't clash with state from ANSA.it.
The article goes on to describe the tax cuts afforded to the Church, the issues of abortion, the referendum that the Church successfully boycotted, etc.
Aside from the whole tax issue, I do not believe that the Church swaying its members to vote on way or another on issues is interfering in the secular realm. After all, when it comes to politics, the Church is simply another interest group trying to make its point and sway the voters. Those who would deny the Church any place in politics and who would shove it off into the corner to be seen and not heard are going against the very traditions they believe they are protecting.
After all, it's not the Church's fault that it is a two-millennia-old institution that traces its origins back to the living God incarnated as Man on Earth. That's just the way it goes.