Thursday, September 5, 2019
On the surface, this tussle seems pretty straightforward to the orthodox Catholic onlooker. Once again, the liberalizing clericalist regime of Pope Francis is assaulting orthodox laypeople, whose only crime is refusing to reduce Catholicism to a sort of party line, which may be changed at the whim of its leaders. There’s some truth to that reading, but the whole reality is far more complex.
For one thing, gratifying though his invocations of Catholicism may be, Salvini’s status as a champion of Catholic morality is a bit problematic. Once married and divorced, once civilly partnered and then broken-up, Salvini has a child by each woman. When the latter relationship fell apart, he got engaged to a third lady, broke up with her, and is now on to yet another fiancée.
As far as the other side goes, Francis’s Vatican may seem ideologically innovative, but it’s following an old papal tradition: high (indeed, sometimes sublime) ideals married to often-disastrous political incompetence—ideals for which the laity must, sooner or later, pay the price.