Bishop Bans Blessing for Italian Democratic Party, Outcry Ensues

by Juliana Freitag • ChurchMilitant • December 7, 2017

Democratic Party leads Italy in pushing pro-abortion, pro-LGBTQUEER agenda. Could this be a sign that the Democratic Party’s influence on the Church is on the wane?

The liberals in the Viterbo, Italy diocese are in an uproar over a blessing ban. The Bishop, Lino Fumagalli, banned all blessings in the inaugurations of political parties’ offices in the city, except when done privately. Obedient to the bishop’s orders, two priests refused to give an official blessing in the opening ceremony of the new office of the Democratic Party (or PD, Partito Democratico) in town.

The reaction was immediate, if unexpected. In power since 2013, PD has been responsible for aggressively pushing anti-Catholic, extremely unpopular laws in Italy, all to keep up with their progressive agenda: they’ve approved homosexual civil unions, introduced gender theory in schools and allowed the country to take in an unmanageable influx of migrants; their disastrous government has seen the biggest flight of Italians from their country since the post-war era (the numbers of emigrating Italians for 2017 were 250,000, when in the immediate post-war they were close to 300,000).

The unemployment rate among youth is increasing alarmingly (37% of young people were unemployed in Italy, according to official data released in July), while the number of marriages and the birthrate have both reached historic lows, leading to a demographic crisis.

Marian procession in Viterbo led by Bp. Fumagalli

Meanwhile, PD supporters are fasting for the approval of Ius Soli, a controversial bill that would grant Italian citizenship to children of foreigners independently of the parents’ citizenship, and battling for “urgent” causes like punishing “homophobia” (a recent survey from the Pew Research Center revealed that 74% of Italians accept homosexuality — hardly a homophobic country), or promoting bills to facilitate abortion. All very charitable politics, indeed.

Giuseppe Fioroni, a deputy from the so-called Catholic wing of the Italian Democratic Party and prominent public figure in his hometown of Viterbo, didn’t take the blessing ban lightly.

“This has no precedent in the history … of our Republic,” he complained, adding, “This contradicts the Pope’s invitation to Catholics to engage in politics. This behavior is the expression of someone who looks to the past. I believe and I hope that the bishop wishes to rethink this attitude.”

He went on, “Infallibility concerns only the pope, not the bishops.”

The deputy can be seen expressing his indignation in a video where he vows that “this doesn’t finish here.”

The Curia of Viterbo responded with a note:

Regarding the provocative and disrespectful declarations aimed at the Bishop of Viterbo Lino Fumagalli, it’s not a habit of the Church to bless party offices, by definition a “part,” while the Church is universal. … This ecclesiastical procedure intends to avoid easy manipulations, as now demonstrated by the specific case of the new PD office in Viterbo.

Newspaper Libero called the incident “a sign of times,” as Fioroni has been all-powerful in Viterbo for decades. “A leaf doesn’t move if Fioroni doesn’t want it to” goes the local saying. Could this be a sign that the Democratic Party’s influence on the Church is on the wane?

The episode took place shortly after the impromptu rally headed by former Prime Minister and current secretary of the Italian Democratic Party, Matteo Renzi, inside the paleo-Christian cathedral of Paestum, in southern Italy. Renzi is currently touring Italy as part of PD’s campaign for the 2018 Italian Parliament elections.

During his stop in the province of Salerno, local PD politicians invited Renzi to speak from the cathedral pulpit, allegedly without the authorization of the diocese. (The cathedral had been opened that day for an archaeological tourism event).

Father Johnny Kaitharath, the parish priest, declared he didn’t even know Renzi was in town. “It has all been organized by local politicians,” he said. “These are the crosses we must carry.”

Bishop Antonino Raspanti of Acireale and vice president of the South Region division of the Italian Bishops Conference commented, “I don’t understand how Renzi thought he could preach politics from the pulpit. This is all very strange. … We can all understand, with a bit of common sense, that an eminent Party secretary rallying in a place of worship is inappropriate.”

Renzi’s behavior is much more than “inappropriate.” It’s sacrilegious. Using a pulpit of a consecrated church as a platform for anti-Catholic propaganda is downright demonic. But it certainly isn’t “strange”: The Democratic Party, just like the rest of the liberal world, is standing firmly against all that is sacred. Their neurotic arrogance comes from the need to destroy the Church from within; it’s not enough to be outside of the Church, but the Church must approve of their wickedness, adapt to their perversions, bless their reign of evil. As long as the Church exists on earth, the Prince of their world cannot prevail.

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