30/11/-0001 When the Faithful Vote from Fear. The Church Faces Italy’s Anti-Immigrant Movement

di Andrea Riccardi

Source: Commonweal Magazine

Steve Bannon may be on the way to getting his electoral Dream Team in Italy, a coalition of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the anti-immigrant League. That is no cause for celebration among Catholic Church leaders, who are somberly facing up to the fact that the faithful have helped elect a governing coalition united by opposition to immigrants, whose welfare is one of Pope Francis’s greatest concerns.

Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio, was more blunt than most about it. “In addition to defeating the Democratic Party, I speak in some way of defeat of the church,” he said in an interview with L’Espresso. “There is a Catholic vote that went to the League or M5S,” the acronym for the Five Star Movement. “I do not say that they should be excommunicated, but the church’s message did not have relevance to them.” The League, he added, “was more reassuring” for these voters than the church was. (Polls showed that Catholics who go to Mass weekly voted in substantial numbers for the League or the Five Star Movement, but were less likely than the overall electorate to do so.)

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