Leading Catholic political thinker calls on new generation to defend Christianity

Rocco Buttiglione, the vice-president of the Italian Parliament’s Chamber of Deputies, has called on a new generation of politicians to defend and promote Christianity. Rocco Buttiglione is widely known for having his nomination to the European Commission blocked for upholding Catholic teaching on homosexuality.

Rocco Buttiglione stated:

‘We need people with conscience in politics. And, I think the great reservoir of values today is in the Christian people and we must tell them, you must make politics, you must enter into politics, you must make with your hands the future of the land.

‘Good things have a high price, but they are worth it, of course. If you want to be Catholic in politics, sometimes you have to make sacrifices and value your conscience more than your position, more than your seat in politics. But, would you trust a man that put his political career higher than his conscience?’

‘I think that we very often forget that democracy is a very delicate creature,” he stated pointing toward the first flourishing of democracy in ancient Greece which collapsed after 171 years.

“And, what is the reason that Greek democracy died? Because of moral relativism, corruption,” he said adding that the moral relativists of today are, in fact, the intellectual descendents of the sophists of ancient Greece.

“Western democracies run the danger of dying because political activity is not based on principals.”

Despite the dire predictions, the 63-year-old academic and politician is not without hope for the future. The key to success, he said, lies with a five-letter word – truth.

“We must bring truth to politics again. We must be able to tell the truth to the people. Very often politicians don’t tell the truth. Very often politicians tell the people what they want to hear. And, what the people very often want to hear is not the truth.”

The Catholic News Agency reports:

‘Already several young Catholic politicians in Italy are responding to the challenge laid down by Buttiglione and others.

“Politics must be done by heroes,” said Simone Budini, the 24-year-old co-founder of a new Italian political party, Giovani Liberi e Forti (Young, Free and Strong). The new party is based on Catholic social principles.

“Heroes are men who are in politics because they love their city and they are ready to give their lives for their city. And, nowadays, we have the opposite example. We’ve got people who are ready to sell their city to have pleasure for their lives.”

Protect the Pope comment: Ideology has replaced truth in western culture as soft totalitarianism becomes entrenched in political institutions, the judiciary, the media, health services, education, and even sections of the Church, such as dissenting development agencies, and dissenting clergy, for example in Austria, Ireland and England.

The response of compromised institutions to those who speak the truth is often silence, a refusal to even recognize those who speak the truth.

If people persist in speaking the truth then the compromised institutions start whispering campaigns, attempting to discredit the truth speakers by insinuations of fanaticism, even insanity.

The next response of compromised institutions is to ridicule and demonize those who speak the truth, to portray them as dangerous, unreasonable, and wicked.

Rocco  Buttiglione is right when he says we need a new generation of Catholic politicians who have the courage to speak the truth, but we also need such courageous individuals in the Church, where sometimes the silence is deafening.


10 comments to Leading Catholic political thinker calls on new generation to defend Christianity

  • fd

    Rev Nick Donnely pays a praiseworthy attention to international facts , from Ireland to Italy, from the supposedly civilised United States to the countries where Christians still get killed.
    Well done! Keep up your great work.

    Now, I would like to submit to you an article by Rocco Buttiglione (the politician Rev Nick talks about),which was published on the Avvenire newspaper( Buttiglione writes on Avvenire sometimes).
    The article is about Harry Potter. Mr Buttiglione says that the book can be interpreted from a Christian/Catholic perspective,even though Ms Rowling did not intentionally give a Christian key to the book.

    It’s interesting when he says that Voldemort represents everything that Pope Benedict is fighting against.
    (Longing for power, negation of values)
    Here is the article,both in Italian and GOOGLE-translated.

    Here is a translated passage from the article by Mr Buttiglione, which I’m submitting to you.

    “The fundamental structure of the book of Harry Potter is that of a struggle for good and against evil, for truth and against lies. In a sense, this structure is directly opposed to the dominant culture today, to what Benedict XVI calls the ethical relativism. In one of the mothers scenes of the saga, which will certainly have pleased the pope if he has ever read it, Voldemort tries to tempt Harry. There is neither truth nor lie, she says. There is neither good nor evil. There is only power. The power is the truth. Voldemort offers Harry to share power, but Harry tells him, simply, no.”
    Mr Buttiglione



    The Theology of Harry Potter
    It makes sense to do a theology of Harry Potter? At first glance you would say no. The creator of Harry Potter, Ms. Rowling is not a theologian, and certainly his intention was simply to tell a story. However, theological readings of Harry Potter there were more than one. The first was probably that of Gabriele Kuby, who read Harry Potter as a work related to new age fashion. Harry, after all, is a sorcerer and his books do not contain any explicit reference to Christian revelation.

    In fact, the new age references only touch the top layer of the saga. A more careful reading of the narrative structures deep in the book does not take long to discover numerous Christian references. To begin with the singularity of Harry, what constitutes it in its role as a character, is its (relative) immunity before the magic. This is the most powerful and evil wizard fails to kill him. Harry is protected by a spell of extraordinary power generated by the love of the mother (and father) who sacrificed their lives for him. Here we find the theme of love that saves and there is no greater love than to lay down his life for those you love. We will find the same theme at the end of the book. There will be Harry to give his life to save his friends and ultimately defeat evil. For Harry, however, life will be returned. Only someone who is capable of giving his life will be able to save. Jesus is par excellence the one who gives his life for his friends.

    Is Harry Potter a Christ-figure, like the lion in the Chronicles of Narnia Arslan? Yes and no. The archetype of Christ is communicated to all Christians and, moreover, the Gospels tell us that this archetype has a natural value that precedes the person of Christ. The Gospel, in fact, tells us that maybe you can find someone to give her life to save his friends. The specific of Jesus is that he gave his life for his friends but his enemies, the wicked who put him to death. Harry Potter binds to a natural archetype that in the story of Jesus is assumed and transfigured but expresses a law of life already present in the natural order.

    This belief is confirmed by the fact that the first subject of the gift of life are the mother and father. The spell that protects Potter was born from the love of his father and his mother. A theologian would say that takes place in the natural order, however, already opens the Christian event.
    A second element that characterizes the saga of Harry Potter is his installation, in a sense antiesistenzialista, at least in the sense of ‘Sartrean existentialism.

    At first, indeed, Harry looks like a Sartrean hero. It is a freedom in the world that seems to cast itself having to give its support and its meaning. The more the story progresses, however, Harry discovers to be inserted into a story and to have in it, a destiny. In this story it was originally inserted to his parents but it is present through the community of friends. These are the friends of his parents who defend him against Voldemort, they assume the burden of his education and gradually reveal the story of his parents. But this is also his school which it binds with a friend for life. In this company enlivened by the perception of a task grows a personality capable of perceiving the law of duty and sacrifice.

    This community is composed of males and females. The story goes Harry and his friends also in the discovery of sexual difference. The book is also a book about friendship between men and women. Harry learns to be a friend first women to be sexually attracted. It considers the head and heart before deciding on sexual attractiveness. For all those involved in sexual selection will take place at a later date within the group of friends. Sexual selection, then, will be a choice of a spouse. All the characters get married and have children. It seems that at Hogwarts still believe in love. Harry, after all, grows in the memory of his love which is, in a manner indistinguishable, love for one another and love for their child. In fact, Rowling has been divorced twice. You can make mistakes in their lives for their children without losing the hope of love.

    The fundamental structure of the book of Harry Potter is that of a struggle for good and against evil, for truth and against lies. In a sense, this structure is directly opposed to the dominant culture today, to what Benedict XVI calls the ethical relativism. In one of the mothers scenes of the saga, which will certainly be pleased if the pope has never read it, Voldemort tries to tempt Harry. There is neither truth nor lie, she says. There is neither good nor evil. There is only power. The power is the truth. Harry and Voldemort offers to share power, but Harry tells him, simply, no.

    If you look at the principles of modern deconstructionism is hard to escape the impression that it is Voldemort who is also a deconstructionist. Each narrative of truth and goodness must be deconstructed to show how to set up the order to ‘inside of which we distinguish between right and wrong is always and only power. Thus, there is no natural order and the claim to assert or enforce it is in principle ideological. The world of Harry Potter instead, in principle, a world where there is a breach of natural order and a struggle to restore it.
    The ‘idea of ​​an order and a law that governs the world is not, of course, only Christian. It belongs also, for example, stoic intellectual universe.

    This idea of ​​Christianity has added another. No one is entirely good but no one is entirely bad. Let’s start with Harry Potter. Between him and Voldemort, there is a secret connection. Harry takes his soul in a fragment of Voldemort’s soul. Therefore, he must die in order to defeat the opponent. Even the best need to be purified. And even the worst of the prisoners are not totally evil charm. Draco Malfoy, one of the most stubborn enemies of Harry, Harry refuses to recognize a prisoner and bring him to death. Even more interesting is the case of Severus Snape. Snape is in character and propensities linked to the dark side of magic and the world hates with all his forces, and Harry’s father, basically, even Harry. Snape loved Lily Evans, however desperately, the mother of Harry. By virtue of this love Snape will always strive to protect Harry. There is a lesson in this very Christian. Love, if true, is never wrong. But sometimes it asks to be true, the price of suffering and sacrifice.

    Something similar is also found in the case of Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts and Harry’s great friend and mentor. Him know that he was attracted to the dark side of magic. It’s been a friend of Grindelwald (a kind of Voldemort before his time) but if it is disconnected and all life was then devoted to fight for peaceful coexistence between the magicians and ordinary mortals. Rowling also informs us (in conversation) that Dumbledore has somehow sublimated homosexual tendencies in its educational vocation. The men have such tendencies and passions and are not responsible. They are responsible for the use which they do. So Harry (Rowling tells us) perhaps could be Voldemort and vice versa. For this reason each of us is responsible and yet there is a recent solidarity which binds all men.

    How ever it is possible to find such a wealth of symbolic content in a ‘work of fantasy? There are three possible answers. The first is that Rowling is Christian. The second is that there is a great tradition in English literature of fantasy with a strong Christian symbolic (CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, etc. …). GKChesterton The third is that there are universal symbolic structures congruent with the Christian faith. Both W. Benjamin H.U. Von Balthasar was taught that every story deserves to be told is measured with the theme of man’s salvation. Deconstruction tries to show through the artwork chaos and the absence of an order and meaning. Even in the representation of absence it is impossible to prevent the emergence of nostalgia and almost foreboding presence of a meaning.
    Rocco Buttiglione

    • Tim

      interesting. If I might add three comments:

      1, I don’t think it is true to say that JK Rowling didn’t deliberately encoropate Christian themes into the story. She has admitted in an interview with MTV that she included biblical parallels into her stories from the start, but didn’t want to make it too obviously because she was worried that would spoil the story for readers who knew the biblical story because it would give away too many clues, “”To me [the religious parallels have] always been obvious,” she said. “But I never wanted to talk too openly about it because I thought it might show people who just wanted the story where we were going.” ”

      2, The Pope has condemmed the Harry potter books, writing that their “subtle seductions, which act unnoticed … deeply distort Christianity in the soul before it can grow properly.”

      3, JK Rowling herself is a church goer who says this about her faith “”The truth is that, like Graham Greene, my faith is sometimes that my faith will return. It’s something I struggle with a lot,”. “On any given moment if you asked me [if] I believe in life after death, I think if you polled me regularly through the week, I think I would come down on the side of yes — that I do believe in life after death. [But] it’s something that I wrestle with a lot. It preoccupies me a lot, and I think that’s very obvious within the books.”

  • fd

    I want to add that ,after Mr Buttiglione wrote this article on Avvenire, the daily Il Fatto Quotidiano mindlessly mocked him and headlined: Harry Potter is Christian, says Mr Buttiglione, theology professor at Hogwarts .
    I think that Il Fatto Q and the like would really want him to go to Hogwarts. What they are afraid of is that he remains here, as he will, and that other young Catholic politicians might follow his example.

  • ms catholic state

    I am very glad of this….however I think we have to be more blunt. Instead of talking abstractly about Truth….we should use the word Catholicism. Instead of using the slightly baffling words….moral relativism….we should say Secularism (same thing I think). For instance we can say….Catholicism will save Europe…secularism will kill it! And everyone will know what we mean, and can then choose to support or oppose it.

    Also I wonder if a new Political party is going to get anywhere? I don’t know what it’s like in Italy….but in the UK it takes decades for a new party to get anywhere. Even the Christian parties are still compeletly below the radar. Would it be better for these young Catholics to enter into one of the main parties and shape it into a definitely Catholic mould instead.

  • fd

    Dear Tim, yes it might be taken funnily if Il Fatto Quotidiano were not as anti-Catholic as ,believe me, it is.
    Dear ms Catholic State: your concerns are very true,sadly. And they are even more true as far as Italy is concerned. Think that in Italy all the “prominent” politicians we have were already prominent politicians in 1994. Honest people who try to enter politics in Italy are blocked at the first step if they don’t know the “right” people, sad as it is. You still find good politicians here in little towns and villages but most of the prominent politicians (whith some healthy ,allbeit too rare unfortunately, exceptions like Mr Buttiglione)don’t really care about the “res publica” and occupy places that should be occupied by people who would like to deal with the “res publica” but are shut off by this society of privelege.
    A great Catholic politician we had was Aldo Moro( there are many streets and Piazzas devoted to him all over the country) Aldo Moro was killed in Rome in 1978 by a group of communist extremists.
    Who knows whether these Catholic groups Rev Nick Donnelly has gently talked to us about will have a chance to deal with the “res publica”. I don’t know whether this might surprise you Rev Donnelly but if you asked Italians if they know the political parties you have mentioned here in this blog, 99.99 per cent of them will tell you they have never heard them. Never have the media talked about that. Neither RAI nor MEDIASET nor SKY nor LA 7. They have been ignored by all these stations which ARE Italian TV. The Catholic channel tv2000 has surely talked about them, but that’s all.
    I have to say though that there is a general feeling among the people here which has been called by journalists 1992 feeling: that is in 1992 an entire political class was literally swept away by the Milan judges( Rome is the capital but Milan is where all things happen in this country). All the corrupted politicians of that time had to leave their offices and many did end up in jail .Alas, they were replaced by many other politicians who would not live up to the expectations of the citizens
    Now all these politicians which have ruled (alternatively) Italy for twenty years might just as well be going. But nothing is certain and noone knows what the future holds.
    Anyway, I hope the parties mentioned by Rev Nick might have a chance in the near future.
    Thanks Rev Nick for taking an interest in my country.

  • fd

    Why not in the lake district in Italy? (lake Como up in Lombardy: it’s gorgeous)
    I love it too of course,and often the things we criticize most are the things we love most( because we care about them)
    And I still hope I’ll get the chance to meet you someday…

  • fd

    The English lake districts gave the world fine poets like William Blake (“did He , who made the Lamb make thee ?”) and Coleridge ( “It’s an ancient mariner and he stoppeth one of three…”).I’ve never been up there but I’d love to.
    I too live in the very north of my country(near lake Como,in northern Lombardy) as you are up north in England.

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