NPR bemoans Italian vote


The piece begins with a reporter mournfully announcing that "Italy will retain one of the world's most restrictive laws on assisted fertility."

NPR correspondent Sylvia Poggioli reports that Italian bishops "with the endorsement of Pope Benedict XVI, openly campaigned in parishes and through the media" for voters to abstain.

Daniele Capenzone, leader of the Radical Party (which was the main promoter of the referendum), laments, "We lost, We lost heavily... I fear that what prevailed was indifference or mistrust in the possibility to change things."

The report claims Italian analysts are citing "referendum fatigue" as a factor, since no referendum in 10 years has elicited a majority turnout.

Another Italian political analyst Sergio Romano goes on record condescendingly claiming that the Italians - afraid of progress - in effect stuck their thumbs in their mouths and ran to a medieval Church ready to capitalize on the ignorant, techno-phobic peasantry:

"There is no doubt that people are disconcerted, uncertain, they have anxieties and that sort of thing, and it is possible that in such a psychological state they turn to the Church and they are ready to listen to the Church."

Poggioli then reports how "in the last several weeks, the Italian Catholic Church has been very vocal. Leaflets saying 'Life cannot be put to a vote' were distributed in Churches." Of course, she pronounces "Life cannot be put to a vote" in a mock authoritarian voice.

Romano then makes another appearance to accuse the Church of interference.

"But when the Church tells you exactly what kind of an electoral strategy Italian citizens should adopt, this is interference in my opinion. People who abstain just gave the Church a victory."

Notice what theory is not mentioned? That the Church actually succeeded in helping people to clearly see the moral issues and the best way to avoid supporting one immoral law over another was to abstain? Any other explanation is considered plausible except for this one.

Interestingly enough, Poggioli points out that Italy's abortions laws conflict with the fertility statues in effect that recognize the legal rights of embryos, and that many of the forces that supported this referendum are worried that the country's abortion laws are the next target. This is scare mongering of course, as no country in western Europe has any sort of pro-life movement strong enough to overturn liberal abortion laws.

Notice what happened: IVF is still legal in Italy. The end result of the failed referendum is that the laws won't be loosened to allow even more reckless creation and destruction of life and to allow non-traditional families to articially conceive

The status quo - creation and destruction of life still being legal - is hailed as a Vatican victory (even though, remember, no referendum in TEN Years has garnered a majority turnout) and social anarchists squeal that next the Pope will take away their rights to stop their unborn children's hearts.

What really happened I cannot say. But surely there is some middle ground here. What I don't get is why anybody is surprised that Italy - a nation that has rejected the truth about the family and children and is terrified of reproducing - didn't feel very strongly about a law that would result in more children.

That said, I do believe that there has been a tremendous outpouring of grace with the the passage of Pope John Paul and the election of Pope Benedict. I believe that the events and the hoopla forced people to pay attention to the Church, and that the Holy Spirit - being God - is fairly adept at taking advantage of the slightest openings of hearts to enter and convert them, and we may have seen the first fruits of that conversion here. Yes, there are many factors that make it hard to tell just how much a change of heart was responsible instead of voter apathy, but even if the effect of the Church;s efforts was slight, it's a sign of progress, and that is something to be celebrated.

UPDATE: Sandro Magister gives the Church a great deal of credit. Check out his piece for a more in-depth look at how Cardinal Ruini and others mobilized to spread awareness and get the Church's message out. He also looks briefly at the next battleground in the culture war: Spain.

UPDATE: John Allen has more analysis in this week's Word from Rome.

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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on June 17, 2005 7:13 AM.

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