Monday, October 03, 2005

The Italian scene

As you'll all remember, back in the early summer, Italy had itself a referendum on a law governing IVF among other things. The Church's campaign of persuading voters to stay at home so that the referendum would lack a quorum was a complete success.

Here is a further and quite interesting look at the state of Italian politics and the revival of the Church's agenda:

[...] But the road to a left-center victory has proved exceedingly bumpy so far. Here's why:

For four decades after the end of WWII, the Catholic Church wielded power in Italy through the Christian Democrats, so thorougly discredited by corruption scandals that the party was dissolved in the early 1990s after its last Premier, Giulio Andreotti, was found by a court to have extensive Mafia ties. But now, following 15 years of enforced slumber, the Roman Catholic Church has made the decision to relaunch the Church in Italy as a political force -- and all signs are that it will work. And even as the front-running Prodi campaigns up and down the Italian peninsula from a proletarian yellow bus, the Vatican -- with a vintage1950 political ideology and strategy -- has moved into higher gear too.

Other events that should be getting attention are being stifled by the press...

Instead, day after day, the big headlines are going to the Church -- for example, to a debate over whether high school and university students in Siena had a right to boo the Cardinal Primate of Italy, the austere Cardinal Ruini, for saying that he opposes "de facto marital unions," meaning unwed heterosexuals as well as gay couples. In this September 23 incident, 40 students ousted from the hall where Riuni was speaking then congregated outside, waving placards like, "Free love in a free State," and "We are all homosexuals."

Ruini subsequently announced that he has not only the right, but an obligation to speak out on issues which concern the Church. Then Ruini went further, suggesting that a proposed law permitting legal recognition of civil unions between unmarried heterosexual couples and gay couples would be unconstitutional. Momentarily, at least, the fact that a cardinal spoke on the constitutionality of proposed Italian legislation put the cat among the pigeons. Curiously, what is now emerging is a groundswell of growing support for the Church and, tacitly, for what his opponents call Ruini¹s meddling.

Read the complete article Italy: The Church Re-enters Politics, Dividing the Left from ZNet.

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