(Rome) The former editor-in-chief of the Roman Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica comes to his successor's aid and compares Matteo Salvini, the de facto leader of the European sovereignty movement, with Judas.
Matteo Salvini, leader of the Lega, Italian Home Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister, has been the "EU superstar" superstar since last May's EU elections. He has succeeded in forging a cross-party alliance. The sovereignty movement provides, which probably only Steve Bennon thought possible, more than a third of all MEPs, which is concealed by the media as much as possible, because this strengthening is not desired. Of course, the Alliance must first prove how closed it is on individual issues and how well it can get involved in the European Parliament. The first option is the appointment of the EU Commission President.
With 29 seats, the Lega is represented after counting all votes even with the same number of mandates in the EU Parliament as the Brexit Party by Nigel Farage and CDU and CSU together. Farage and Salvini represent the two strongest single parties.
The AfD had felt the headwind of the German Bishops' Conference under Cardinal Marx. An unusual scenario, since for decades the Church has rejected any partisanship as downright indecent, as if such things had never happened.
In Italy, the pressure against Salvini and the Lega was even more massive. Almost verbatim attacks by Church representatives against the AfD and the Lega suggest an ordered, but at least concerted party take. On the Apennine peninsula, however, everything was still a bit more emotional, aggressive and unconditional. In the Federal Republic of Germany it was a Protestant pastor who was caught destroying AfD posters. In Italy, however, it was Catholic monasteries that issued anti-Salvini banners.
The politicization of the Church, initiated by Pope Francis six years ago, has taken on an irritating course.
This includes a message from P. Bartolomeo Sorge SJ, who joined the Jesuit order in 1946 and was ordained a priest in 1958 for the Order. He was born on the island of Elba. His German surname was brought by his ancestors, who arrived in the 18th century to Sicily, whether still under the Habsburgs or already the Bourbons, is no longer known. The origin of the family Sorge, which is at least clear, is found in the Lower Franconian region and is located in the province of Zealand in the Netherlands today.
The seven-years-older P. Sorge was counted, like Fr. Jorge Mario Bergoglio among the group of brothers who were promoted by the Jesuit General Pedro Arrupe. Under Arrupe P. Sorge became the editor of Civiltà Cattolica, the most important Jesuit magazine in the world. At the time, Sorge was already a political strategist of "democratic Catholicism": he advocated a strong Christian DemocraticParty that was to be left-leaning, while rejecting "integralist" Catholic directions and organizations. The opponent for Sorge was on the right. Thus, in the 1970s, he struck the political nerve of the time when the Western European Communists proclaimed "Euro-communism" to emphasize their independence from the Soviet Union, and when in Italy the left wing of the Christian Democrats sought the "historical compromise" with the Communists.
According to a book published in 2017 by journalist Stefania Falasca, Pope John Paul I seriously contemplated P. Sorge in 1978 as a possible successor to the Patriarch of Venice, although he was "associated with some, somewhat suspicious, Catholic currents," as the then Pope himself in a personal letter to the Archbishop of Milan, Giovanni Cardinal Colombo, noted. General Arrupe had already given a positive opinion of Sorge. Resistance came, however, from Antonio Cardinal Poma, the Archbishop of Bologna and then President of the Italian Episcopal Conference. Reason was the public support on the part of Sorge for a "dialogue" with the Communist Party of Italy (PCI). The pontificate of John Paul I lasted only 33 days, and under John Paul II, P. Sorge was no longer eligible for the Patriarchal Office or another episcopate.
Sorge who will turn 90 this October is mentally fit and does not keep his opinion behind the mountain these days. In February 2018 he described his satisfaction with "myChurch between Martini and Bergoglio". These are the two Jesuit Cardinals Carlo Maria Martini and Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who were also candidates for the papal throne. Cardinal Martini failed at the first attempt in 2005, but Cardinal Bergoglio was successful in the second attempt in 2013. A quick success, considering that only in 2005 the first attempt was ever made in the nearly 500 years of religious history to make a Jesuit Pope.
Father Antonio Spadaro SJ, acting editor of the Civiltà Cattolica, has not been squeamish with Salvini and the Lega in recent weeks. P. Sorge, his predecessor, intensified the tone after Salvini's election victory. The Democratic referendum aroused the Jesuit so much that he drew a drastic comparison:
"Italy is leghistic, not Christian anymore. The Lega follower says, 'The Italians First', the Christian says, 'The Excluded First'. It is not enough to kiss Jesus in public, that's what Judas did. "
Already in advance, bishops, theologians and Jesuits had loudly heard who chose Lega, "is not a Christian.” Something similar was already to be heard from episcopal mouths in Germany.
A Tweet from P. Sorge, in which he compares Salvini with Judas. Salvini himself spread the anathema from P. Sorge on Twitter to add his answer:
"See what this theologian writes ... All that is missing is that someone demands my excommunication so that we have experienced everything ... Forward: with faith, respect and modesty!"
It is unclear what benefit Santa Marta expects from such a confrontation. Because of the unconditional Refugees Welcome line has lowered approval ratings in Italy for Pope Francis before the EU election even lower than its previous low, according to a survey by opinion pollsters Demos.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Vatican.va/Twitter (Screenshots)
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org