Friday, August 26, 2005

Andreotti vs. Pera: Who speaks more for the Pope?

Giulio Andreotti, controversial politician of the old guard, ex-Italian Prime Minister in the period of the so-called first republic, currently an Italian senator for life, delivered a speech at the annual meeting of Comunione e liberazione (CL). In the speech he directly criticized the radical discourse of the president of the Italian Senate Pera (see Teocons and Nozick) but also raised some other interesting issues regarding the relationship between religion and politics.

Andreotti said that one must not automatically put together terrorism and Islam. He said that there are Muslims who are not terrorists and also terrorists who are not Muslims. Andreotti also warned against racist statements (directly quoting Pera) such as that immigration brings about a society of mongrels. Following what is normally considered as the official line of the Vatican, Andreotti said that the war in Iraq was “profoundly unjust” because there were no arms of mass destruction and the U.S. Administration had know this. Regarding the insertion of Christian values in the preamble of the European Constitution Andreotti said that he is less interested whether this would formally occur or not, what he wants is that Europe starts making Christian politics. As far as the gay marriages are concerned Andreotti is more conservative and even aggressive, he thinks that they are against the nature and that giving homosexual marriages legal recognition is wrong because if everyone were to be gay human race would go extinct.

Analyzing Andreotti's and Pera's words one can conclude that Andreotti's words sound more main-stream and less radical, regardless his strong anti-homosexual position. Being overtly racists is less acceptable for the catholic sensibility than being overtly homophobic.

Andreotti made some other interesting statements, out of which the most curios remains his distancing from Pera's strong libertarianism in the economic sense (invoking the minimal state). Explaining what does he intend by European Christian policies Andreotti said that “if the rich become less rich and the poor become less poor, I can say that this is a Christian policy”. Is this (redistributive economic policy) where the mainstream Catholic political platform is going towards, or are most of the people within the Catholic Church closer to Pera's minimal statist thinking?

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