Readers, when the Italian government held firm and sent the so-called ‘rescue ship’ Aquarius packing it drew the battle lines with the Italian Catholic Church—that is what the church is saying!
I’m writing about this story again today because it represents a critical juncture for the future of Europe.
There is hope (I think!) as I wrote a couple of days ago, here, for the survival of Western Civilization in its birthplace, but action to save it must be swift and happen NOW.
Here is the Crux headline (Taking the Catholic pulse):
Italian Church and new government finally face off over Aquarius
(The subtitle could be: The Catholic Church shows its daggers)
ROME – For months the Vatican waited, silently, to see how to engage Italy’s new populist government. For months the Italian bishops offered support and patience as political parties clumsily attempted to create a new government. Promising vigilance, for months Italy’s high-ranking clergy looked for points of dialogue, but also contrast, with the country’s infant leadership.
Finally, the wait is over and – unsurprisingly – the battle between the Church and Italy’s ruling coalition of right-wing populists, Northern League, and anti-establishment party, Five Star Movement, will be centered around immigration.
(Dear Donald, pay attention, immigration is THE issue of the century!)
“Beating your fists on the table is absurd before endangered lives and the international law that imposes the rescue of people at sea,” said Cardinal Francesco Montenegro, president of Italian Caritas and head of the Italian bishops’ conference’s immigration committee.
“Politics must be the ability to dialogue and search for the common good, safeguarding human rights above all else,” the archbishop of the Southern Italian town of Agrigento said, before adding that “politics must go back to knowing its job.”
The “Sarajevo” for the battle between Italian bishops and Matteo Salvini, leader of the Northern League, is Aquarius, a rescue boat that was carrying more than 600 immigrants and refugees, including seven pregnant women and 123 unaccompanied minors. [Or put more accurately, a boat carrying over 600 men and boys who are economic migrants NOT refugees.—ed]
First of all, Aquarius was a magnifying glass for the profound ruptures within the European Union concerning immigration, and the weaknesses of the Dublin regulations, which puts most of the burden on first arrival countries such as Italy and Greece, that also happen to be weakest economically.
The fact that Spain offered to take Aquarius “is not a victory for Italy,” Montenegro told media outlets on Monday, “but a loss for politics in general and for the European Union in particular.”
Secondly the case was an important trial balloon for the Northern League and Five Star Movement coalition. While some mayors chose to ignore Salvini’s call to close ports, most of the party members stayed in line.
Finally, this impasse in the Mediterranean Sea pushed the Italian Church to finally show its daggers, proving that when it comes to immigration they won’t back down.
Already during the election season, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, President of the Italian bishops’ conference, CEI, only barely hid his opposition to the Northern League and its leader, calling its representatives “not to blow on the fire of frustration and social rage.”
Already Salvini stated that under his leadership, Italy won’t budge. “With other Aquarius boats we will have the same behavior,” he said, as he celebrated the success of his tactic.
Let the battle for the future of Europe begin!
Go here for my complete archive on the ‘Invasion of Europe’—more than ten years in the making!
Don’t miss this post from 2015 where we reported that former Australian Prime Minister Abbott said that Europe must turn back the boats. Three years and hundreds of thousands of migrants later, they are getting the message.
Italian Interior Minister Salvini has started a new hashtag: #CloseThePorts Use it!