Friday, May 20, 2016

Marco Pannella -- The Man Who Changed Italy for the Worse

Marco Pannella, the personification of the Radical Party of Italy,
whose life goal was to fight against the Catholic Church, is dead

(Rome) At the age of 86 years  Marco Pannella, the historic leader of the Radical Party of Italy, died on Thursday in Rome. Along with Eugenio Scalfari, later founder and chief editor of the daily newspaper La Repubblica and today, Pope's friend, he founded the Radical Party (PR) in 1955. His name is inextricably linked to the legalization of divorce and abortion, the fight for the legalization of euthanasia and the "gay marriage", for drug liberalization, the abolition of conscription and connected to the legalization of pornography, but above all with an insatiable antipathy against the Catholic Church.
On May 1st, Religion sociologist Massimo Introvigne published a portrait of the man who changed Italy for the worse, which now becomes his obituary.

The Man Who Changed Italy For The Worse

by Massimo Introvigne
The ecumenical pilgrimage to the coattails of the critically ill Marco Pannella, which includes a wide variety of people, has all the features of a secular religiousness. Sociologists have noted this morning: while religion "in the Church" in the West is only practiced by a minority, the religious sentiment is revealed today in secular and implicit forms, from the cult of celebrities to the cult of sports and the arts. One of the most studied manifestations of this phenomenon is the cult of the late Princess Diana of England, who was not a particularly religious person.

Named after an uncle who was a Catholic priest

The relationship between Marco Pannella and religion is more complex. Go to the official lists of candidates in elections and his actual name appears there: "Giacinto Pannella, called Marco". In the birthplace of the radical party leader, in Teramo in Abruzzo, there is a "Via Giacinto Pannella". No,  roads are still not named after the living, but this should not even be surprising because of the overwrought apologetics which currently surround him. The street where Pannella's birthplace stands is named after a great-uncle. This great-uncle, Giacinto Pannella, was a Catholic priest, a respected intellectual in his home and a Catholic collaborator of Benedetto Croce and Giovanni Gentile 1
The future leader of the radicals was named in honor of this great uncle Giacinto. However, he did not know him personally, since he was born three years after his death. But his parents knew him very well. The father of Marco Pannella, Leonardo Pannella, a wealthy landowner, was a scandal in Teramo  because he married a French woman whom he had met during a business trip. He behaved and dressed especially too ostentatiously for a small town in the South of the 1920s. It was the influential uncle who defended his nephew and his wife and helped the young couple.   Marco Pannella wrote about it later, he had always fought the Church  without hating it. The reason? "Because of this episode of the family chronicle, because the best person in my family was that priest." 2

Liberal, anticlerical family environment

Marco Pannella as a student

Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that Pannella used his life for combating the Church. He grew up in an environment in which fascism and anti-fascism coexisted together. At the same time, he was sent on a regular basis during the holidays, to the relatives of his mother to France, where he was early exposed to secular and liberal ideas. 3 When the war ended, he had already chosen his political family and at the age of 15: the Liberal Party, which since First World War continued the moderate legacy of Risorgimento, that of Camillo Cavour. He started in the party towards a tremendous career and in 1950, at the age of 20 years, was President of the Liberal Students . A few years later he successfully concluded his law studies at the University of Urbino. His final work was a criticism of the fact that the Concordat with the Catholic Church had been granted constitutional status. He  would later claim of this that it was actually written by others, because he was too busy with politics.

Eugenio Scalfari and the Cadre of Future Party Leaders

The Liberal Party, especially in Rome, where Pannella had moved with his family during his university years, took very anticlerical positions. Pannella had become one of the leaders of the left wing of the party, where he a friend, but also rivals found in a friend, and sometimes rival, six years his senior in party representative with whom he who strove neck and neck for attention: a certain Eugenio Scalfari.
Pannella was soon no longer satisfied the Liberal Party. He recognized that the existing at the universities a Goliardom, a specifically Italian form of student associations, with its inherently serene and youthful exuberance with an inherent anarchy in train, which concealed a political force. He was elected President of the Italian Goliardic Association  and transformed them to a cadre of  the future Radical Party, but also the Socialists and Communists, including Bettino Craxi 4 and Achille Occhetto 5 . He wrote at the time, with Scalfari, for the anticlerical weekly Il Mondo. When in 1954, Giovanni Malagodi became new Liberal Party leader and led the party lead it to be a  truly  secular but less anticlerical course and engaged willingly in dialog towards the Catholics, Pannella and Scalfari in 1955 of the same year began  the weekly magazine L'Espresso, establishing the Radical Party. They saw themselves as the heirs of the Partito d'Azione (Action Party), and thus the radical heritage of the Risorgimento, that of Giuseppe Mazzini. The Radical Party emblazoned "Devaticanization" of Italy on their banner. Specifically, it was meant to smash the Catholic heritage of the country, to "modernize" Italy by the standards of European secularism [laicism].
Anticlericalism did not pay in the elections, however. At the height of the Cold War, where it was the Christian Democratic Party which managed to avert a communist takeover, those parts of the Italian company, that did not belong to the Popular Front, were to work for cooperation and consensus. This also led to the Liberal Party moderating its accentuated anticlericalism.

Alliance plan with the Communists

The radicals garnered only an average of 0.8 percent of the vote during elections in its first 20 years. Early Divisions emerged: On the one side was the wing run by Scalfari which sought an alliance with the socialists against the communists in the wake of the Soviet invasion of Hungary. On the other was the wing run by  Pannella which insisted inexorably on the fight against the Church as a decisive program point which had to subordinate all strategic or tactical considerations. His enemy were the Christian Democrats, who he saw as a political arm of the Catholic Church, and not communism. Consequently, he called in 1959 for an alliance with the Communists against the ruling Christian Democrats.
Therefore,  Pannella was expelled from the party  and went to Belgium and France. In 1962 he was able to bring the Radical Party again under his control. After this crisis little more than the party name was left. Many leading party representatives had gone to the Socialist Party or the left-liberal Republican Party. Pannella held so unexpectedly again a small instrument in his hand, but with which he could now could do what he wanted.

Divorce, drugs, abortion

Pannella campaign for divorce in 1969

He put the anti-Catholic themes again at the top of the party platform. Those were: the abolition of the Concordat and the introduction of divorce. In 1967 he declared the "anti-clerical year". The year before he had established the Italian Federation for Divorce  (LID), which played a crucial role in the introduction of divorce in 1970 and whose confirmation would come  in the Referendum of 1974.
But with the divorce, all was not finished for Pannella. As soon as he had won the popular vote, with which divorce would be abolished, when he was arrested in 1975 because he publicly smoked a joint. It was then that he initiated a campaign for the liberalization of drugs, or that which Pannella called "light" drugs. In 1993 he was able to prevail in decriminalization. His struggle, however, continued until his death. Because  an aspect of this theme were in force, there were more and more aspects of the same topic, which were still to be enforced.
After the divorce, the radicals discovered the abortion issue. They called for the legalization of the killing of unborn children,  then began their campaign and in less than four years would  their achieve their goal. The abortion law was confirmed in 1978 and defending against a referendum by the Catholic organizations in 1981, attempted by popular vote to abolish it. Fighting  at Pannella's side was Emma Bonino. 6
Together with her, Pannella was a protagonist in an ill starred smear campaign against the Catholic President Giovanni Leone, which led to his resignation. The campaign was part of the struggle for the liberalization of abortion. The Radicals feared Leone could refuse to sign the abortion law. It was only in 1998 that Pannella apologized to the 90-year Leone and admitted that the accusations against him were false.

Deputy in Rome and Strasbourg - Radio Radical

Campaign to promote  drug liberalization in 1989

Through his political campaigns Pannella succeeded in 1976 to gain entry into the Italian Parliament, where he was to remain with customary interruptions until 1994. The European Parliament, however, soon interested him more. He sat there every day from 1979 to 2009. The election results now fluctuated between two and three percent. The election in 1979 was 3.5 percent, the best ever. With the election campaign reimbursement and public aid and he financed and founded his main instrument of propaganda: Radio Radicale . 7

"Devaticanization" of Italy and Europe - Pannella  Tutored by  Antonio Gramsci

When the Soviet bloc collapsed and the Cold War ended, that meant in Italy the end of the First Republic. This was followed in 1994 the Second Republic and   Pannella quickly found new themes: the legalization of artificial insemination, "gay marriage" and euthanasia. The new political landscape came to meet his tactical thinking. He teamed up, depending on whichever was more valuable, even with the middle-right camp, even with the center-left camp. His political compass showed itself but l unchanged in the original goal of the anticlerical actionists: the "Devaticanization" of Italy and Europe. Pannella was never a Communist, but he had read Antonio Gramsci. From this he knew that a frontal attack on the Catholic Church was impossible in Italy, which explained the resulting the lack of success by the Action Party (1942-1947).
In order to fight the Catholic Church in Italy, rather, the social roots of religion had to be pulled out from  society according to the models of secular France and the "modernized" Protestant North. The program foresaw one point after another, but were inexorably implemented: divorce, abortion, drug liberalization, artificial insemination, "gay marriage" and euthanasia. For this program, as Pannella himself explained, the alliances are not important, ultimately not even the ideologies. The one and the other were only "taxis" in which you get in and get out again. What is important is the program that must be pursued with determination, and it would not be exaggerating for it   to be described as "religious".

Why Pannella was seen by many Catholics as an interlocutor?

Marco Pannella with Emma Bonino: "To Taliban - No Vatican", 2003
Marco Pannella with Emma Bonino: "No Taleban - No Vatican", 2003

One can then ask why Pannella, considering the core of his political and cultural activity, was seen by Catholics as an interesting conversationalist, from leading Christians to Pope Francis, even John Paul II. greeted him.
Then there is a double answer. The first reason is the paradoxically "religious" character of the Radical Party, which has therefore been repeatedly compared to a sect, but also in public life by Marco Pannella, reminiscent of the figures of the Baroque Theater.
The comedic tones histrionic traits, the wailing and weeping, the hunger strikes, and now his sickness are presented as elements of a kind of sacred performance - something the sacred, which is very far from the saints of the Catholic religion. It is a sacred staging that repels some, but intrigues many, even in circles that are very far from the ideas of radicals.
The second reason for Pannella's success in certain Catholic circles, is that not all of his fights for  "rights" are to be despised. Especially to three questions Pannella interests the Catholic world: the persecuted Christians in various parts of the world, where he talked about some persecutions first in Italy; hunger in the world and the inhuman conditions in many prisons in Italy and abroad. Pannella spoke about this topic with Pope Francis.

Pannella's role in society, "one can only negatively assess"

Pannella with the Dalai Lama

Consciously I do not wish to introduce rumors here of report of  a deathbed conversion by Pannella. There are rumors concerning a private and personal sphere, but none of it was made public. I deal with the public figure and the role played by Pannella in Italian society. It's a role that one can only negatively assess because Pannella had succeeded where the Action Party had failed. Its ruthless approach, and although he never achieved electoral success, he added in an unsurpassed way to the de-Christianization of Italy.
Of course, there is not a single man and not even a party that define or dominate a de-Christianization process. However, an important engine of such a process are bad laws, and many of them, though signed entirely by others, would have received its first impluse from Pannella, or not until later, and not in this or that form.
The great-nephew of Don Giacinto Pannella may have fought some good fights. Benedict XVI.warns in Caritas in veritate from  the confusion between real rights and invented or false rights that are demanded by the same people, as if they were all of equal value and dignity. This leads only to the fact that the good and the right demands and concerns are compromised and defaced by being put in one  big pot.
Text: Massimo Introvigne

Pannella call to communists and fascists: quit fighting Freemasonry

On the death of Marco Pannella, we attach a text sample to show Pannella's antagonistic thinking to the Church, which always had an uncompromising priority in his permanent polemics. On 6 September 2000, he called for the radical left and the radical right to end their rejection of Freemasonry, because the Catholic Church was much "worse" than Freemasonry that spawned such a thing as the Syllabus of Errors have of 1864:
"It's really time that communists and post-communists and fascists and post-fascists regret and stop once and for all from insulting and persecuting Freemasonry as such. Agreed, the anathemas of the syllabus attempted majority the Freimauer land, to destroy the Carbonari, organizations of the Enlightenment and secular-liberal groups of all kinds. The Syllabus itself represents the worst forming of a culture of bondage, intolerance, and the rejection of freedom of conscience.  Therefore, I have  a conclusion to make, and I have no doubt: either they make an end to it, or the Communists and Fascists, clerical prohibitionists and counter-reformers of every kind, who will be buried in the rubbish dumps of human history in the end."
Translations / Introductions / Footnotes: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Wikicommons / MiL / CR
Trans: Tancred
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  1. Benedetto Croce (1866-1952) and Giovanni Gentile (1875-1944) were the two main representatives of the Italian Neoidealismus. While Croce to pioneer and chairman of the Liberal Party was and belonged to the Italian Parliament both before the First and the Second World War, and was after the First and at the end of World War Minister, to Gentile joined the Fascist Party and became a its leading intellectuals and ministers.1944 Gentile was killed in a communist assassination in Florence. Common to them was a staunch anti-clericalism. [ ↩]
  2. What Massimo Introvigne is a family idyll, however, lets mention that Don Giacinto Pannella harbored liberal beliefs and Masonic circles had contacts. As editor of the "Rivista Abruzzese" he offered the declared opponents Church Benedetto Croce and Giovanni Gentile room Publications. He even gave up the "Collected Works" by Melchiorre Delfico, an Illuminati and Jacobin from Teramo, after the oldest lodge is named in Abruzzo. Giacinto Pannella was 1893 Knight of the Italian Crown appointed, which was at least unusual little more than 20 years after the defeat of the Papal States by the Italian State for a Catholic priest. [ ↩]
  3. With liberal and anticlerical ideas Marco Pannella was, as shown, however, already familiar through his family in Teramo, not only in France. The question fascism-antifascism was not affected, as the biographies of Croce and Gentile show.
    Introvigne not dealt with in his essay Pannella contacts with Freemasonry, who already had his great-uncle, and - according to documents in the Italian parliament Archives - apparently his father, nor Pannella homosexuality. [ ↩]
  4. Bettino Craxi (1934-2000) was from 1968-1994 member of the Italian Parliament, 1976-1993 Chairman of the Italian Socialist Party and from 1983-1987 the Italian Prime Minister. [ ↩]
  5. Achille Occhetto (1936), from 1962 to 1966 Chairman of the Communist youth organization, 1966-1969 Head of Propaganda of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Italy (KPI), party secretary in Sicily, from 1976 to 2006 member of the Italian Parliament, from 1988 to 1991 Secretary of KPI after which renaming 1991-1994 chairman of the Democratic left party (PDS), since 2009 Member of the links Ecological party, a successor organization of the former left wing of the KPI, which belongs to the European left. [ ↩]
  6. Emma Bonino accused in the framework of the fight for abortion itself, to have more than 10,000 unborn children killed by abortion. To a law to escape, she fled to France. After the legalization of abortion was amnestied. While the Catholic Rocco Buttiglione was not Commissioner because of his Catholic faith, looked at Emma Bonino in their bloody past no obstacle. Bonino, who enters to this day for the worldwide legalization of abortion and euthanasia, was praised by Pope Francis as a "very large" in Italy. [ ↩]
  7. The party transmitter, also a radical splinter group received in a unusual and has scarcely comprehensible political agreement a contract to Parliament coverage, including live broadcasts of parliamentary debates.An object of the already of public broadcasting RAI fulfilled. In reality it was a political deal with, was acquired by the taxpayer, the total financing of the transmitter, and moreover a part of the radical party structures. Legislation which is still valid. How it came about, and that it could last as long, is one of the puzzles of Italian politics. About the microphones of Radio Radicale collected Pannella new followers and spread its daily propaganda against the "non-negotiable values". [ ↩]


Anonymous said...

He looks like the Crypt Keeper.

Anonymous said...

He looks like a demon straight from hell. That Francis would praise him, and consider him a friend shows that in 2013, the Cardinals in conclave were really scrapping the bottom of the barrel to find a new Pope. They could hardly have picked worse....except for Kasper, etc.
Same goes that back in 1958, they couldn't have picked much worse than Roncalli.
Damian Malliapalli

Anonymous said...

Indeed, which leads me to suspect that on both occasions, and probably others too, the cardinal electors were instructed, perhaps under duress, to vote for candidates selected by an inner group with access to considerable political and economic muscle.

Andrew said...

I thought the same thing!

Anonymous said...

No mistaking that one! Honestly, has anyone's look ever suited their essence like this one? And oh yes, we mourn his death and grieve our loss. This is genuine evidence of the first class that the Vatican is inhabited by the totally disoriented. Geriatric dementia on steroids.

Cyril said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

He's gone to his reward and if he didn't repent before death we know what that reward is.

Anonymous said...

Hans Küng's end should be nigh.

Barnum said...

No knock against the Dalai Lama, and I don't know anything about Pannella, who I have only read about here and will be forgotten sooner than later, but what could they possibly have in common that would cause the uproarious laughter? Was the joke in Tibetan or Italian? I wish I could have witnessed that act.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible he was perfectly possessed?

Tancred said...

Fits the bill.

JBQ said...

May the good Lord have mercy on his soul. I was stationed on a ship out of Naples for six months in 1975. The Italians are a very passionate lot. We were warned against running into Communist rallies. I saw one from afar and there was screaming and yelling and flags. -----Pannella was caught in the tide of Italian passion. Here in America, these same levels of thought and deceit and evil are well thought out and premeditated.-----Francis is Italian and not really Argentinian. His parents were immigrants. There is a great deal of difference between Pannella and Nancy Pelosi.----The connection of Francis continues to be very troubling but in the context of Pannella and his break with Scalfari makes this connection a bit more understandable.