On October 1, 2016, the new dicastery became fully active when its statutes came into force. Francis appointed priest and communications expert Dario Edoardo Viganò as prefect. In September 2017, a cooperation agreement was concluded with the Jesuit Order, which gave the Pope's Order - invisible to the outside - a not insignificant position.
However, Prefect Viganò already crashed last March with the manipulative handling of a letter from Benedict XVI. which Viganò published at the expense of Benedict as a special flattery to honor the fifth anniversary of the election of Pope Francis, but ended in his forced resignation instead.
It is the case that the criticism falls both upon Viganò and Pope Francis, which the international media directed at Viganòs' journalistic professional ethics and d his demanded his resignation, which Francis makes clear to the present day by two gestures. Viganò had to go as prefect, but was promptly equipped by Francis with a consultancy, and just for the Communications Secretariat. A minister who has to resign because of wrongdoing, but immediately becomes the chief adviser again for the same ministry, is a rather unorthodox method.
Francis went even further, and he hasn't appointed a successor to Viganò to this day. The place of the prefect is vacant. This brings Francis to Viganò, manipulation at the expense of Benedict XVI. or not, an almost unqualified expression of his unbroken esteem. Ultimately, Viganò is still the actual boss in the communications secretariat, despite being in the background. It is also confirmed by this example that Francis does not let go of people in whom he places his trust, but bolsters them.
The Giro d'Italia and the subtle political messageSo the current topic.
The Osservatore Romano was the last medium that was transferred to the new ministry. Strangely enough, the pope's daily newspaper yesterday reported on the Giro d'Italia , the world's most famous cycling race after the Tour de France.
The internationally watched and popular stage race ended with the last stage in Rome, which was stopped after one third and the winner was called prematurely without completing the race. Reason was according to the race management the bad road conditions in the Italian capital.
So far so harmless, but the Osservatore Romano usually does not report on such sophisticated events. A look at Italy's leading secular media provides the explanation. The premature end of the Giro d'Italia became an indictment of the Roman city government, which has been run since June 2016 by the Movimento Cinque Stelle. Since then, the mayor has been the lawyer Virginia Raggi. In concrete terms, the political movement founded by political comedian Beppe Grillo was portrayed as incompetent in a supposedly unpolitical context.
In parallel to the Giro deal, one of the most dramatic political tug-of-wars in recent Italian history took place in Rome. The Five-Star Movement has been by far the country's largest party since last March's parliamentary elections, claiming the formation of a government. However, this is decidedly rejected by the ruling left-wing Democrats (PD), to whom President Sergio Mattarella belongs, as well as by EU leaders in Brussels.
President undermines government formationFor 72 days, Mattarella delayed the task of forming a government of the strongest party. It was only on May 20 that the five-star movement and Lega appointed the nominee professor of law and non-partisan Giuseppe Conte, after it had long been established that the two parties had agreed on the joint formation of government and have an absolute majority in both houses of parliament.
As the parliamentary majority seeks a course change in the EU and on immigration - the recovery of state sovereignty, an end to mass immigration, the exit from the euro, the return to the lira, and thus self-responsible monetary and economic policies, and the dismantling of the EU to one common economic space, but without a common currency and without political centralism in Brussels - let Mattarella burst the formation of a government. The dispute erupted around the financier and economist Paolo Savona, who was to become economics minister. Obviously, nobody in Italy can become a minister anymore, whom Brussels does not want. The theoretical government majority therefore speaks of a grave contempt for the will of the voters, in that the outgoing left-wing Democrats (with only no more than 18 percent of the vote) and the EU, despite parliamentary elections in Italy, want to impose on them a pleasant government.
This leaves new elections in the air with an uncertain outcome. Vote until the result fits? It seems unlikely, however, that the left can recover. The center-right parties, especially Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia, hope to win in new elections, the three percent who lack the legal alliance with Lega since the parliamentary elections to form a government without Five-Star Movement.
Five-Stars and Lega: currently 94 percent of constituencies availableBut it could also be that the Italians have taken pleasure in a completely new way and confirm or even strengthen the majority of the Five-Star Movement and Lega . According to a recent survey by the renowned left-wing Istituto Cattaneo, the two parties could even win 94 percent of all electoral districts in a joint campaign. Then even President Mattarella could no longer prevent the formation of a government.
Until then, however, much can still happen, including an intervention by the "deep state", as the more recent Italian past teaches. Without Great Britain and Italy, only the Berlin-Paris axis would remain of the EU big ones.
The indictment of the street conditions in Rome is easily recognized in the EU-friendly, large media of the country as part of the psychological warfare against an unwanted formation of government by Five-Star Movement and Lega . Until June 2016, Rome was ruled for 25 years from the left, and five years (2008-2013) from the right.
Pope Francis, the Left Democrats and the EUIt is noteworthy that the Osservatore Romano joined in this chorus, albeit in a more restrained tone. It is no secret that the Neanderthal Pact, as the Five-Star Movement / Lega alliance is disparaged by its opponents, is rejected by Santa Marta. The dislike of the current leadership in the Vatican is earned especially by Lega. The recommendation of the Italian bishops, which they gave before the parliamentary elections at the direction of the Vatican, was directed precisely against the two victorious parties. The magic word of criticism was "populism." Voters were not told who to vote for but who they should not vote for: no "populist parties." The accusation of populism applies to the opponents of a multicultural and multi-religious reconstruction of Europe through the reduction of sovereignty and mass immigration. Similar episcopal announcements were made before the federal elections in September 2017 in Germany as well.
Above all, the Lega loudly contradicts Pope Francis' demand for unlimited immigration. This is a request to which the former Italian Senate President and personal friend of Benedict XVI, Marcello Pera found harsh words for in the summer of 2017. Francis's most closely related bishops have repeatedly lobbied with the Lega in the recent past. Where the Lega resisted the suppression of Christian symbols and customs in public, were not only opoposed by representatives of the political left, but, surprisingly, church representatives, too. Since the contradiction of Cardinal Marx against the Bavarian cross-decree, shows a comparable clerical schizophrenia which is also known in German lands.
Not to forget: The result of the parliamentary elections can also be read as a clear electoral defeat for Pope Francis, who of course did not run for office himself. So it was interpreted by attentive political observers as well. It is well known, however, that the cards are not reshuffled until after election night, and there the Vatican does not seem to be inactive in order to iron out the Pope's electoral defeat.
Behind the scenes, in the current struggle for the formation of governments in Italy, economic issues, especially in the context of the EU and the euro, play an even more central role than mass immigration. Finally, the parliamentary majority challenges the Treaty of Amsterdam, which created the EU. Both topics, however, are inextricably linked in the current orientation of Brussels. The Italian parties know that, and Italian voters seem to have understood that too - and chose the Five-Star Movement and the Lega.
Text: Andreas Becker
Image: Mil / photomontage (party logos) / Corriere della Sera (screenshots)
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org