O Italia Fortunata!
Not even three months after the resignation of the government of Romano Prodi, Italians will vote this Sunday and Monday in national elections. What a contrast to our interminable primary season. Admittedly, it would be a purgatorial penance to take endless months of Silvio Berlusconi. But then Jeremiah Wright from here to eternity is no nirvana either.
Today’s Wall Street Journal Europe has an interesting piece on the role of the Church in present-day Italian politics. Here’s an excerpt that refers to Pope Benedict’s anticipated United Nations Address:
Four days after the Italian elections, the pope will address the United Nations General Assembly in New York. In his speech, he will almost certainly raise a global range of concerns, as specific as the war in Iraq and as broad as the protection of life “from conception until natural death.” As he has done in the past on such occasions, Benedict will argue not on the basis of Catholic teaching but on the ethical principles of “natural law,” common to all humanity.
It is in those same terms that the pope and his followers must learn to address Italy and its neighbors, since the church’s traditional heartland is shrinking. By replacing confessional parties with issue-driven coalitions, Catholicism may yet restore itself as a potent political force in secular Europe.