First Published in the Catholic Herald – subscribe and enjoy!
Italy has a new president. She describes herself as “Italian, Christian, woman, mother”. The press describes her as “fascist”. She repudiates the accusation; and in an interview with an Israeli newspaper the Israel Hayom declared: “we have handed fascism over to history for decades now, firmly condemning the loss of democracy, the outrageous anti-Jewish laws, and the tragedy of World War II.”
Everything depends on definitions, of course. Professor Paxton from Columbia University sees the difference between fascism and right-wing politics residing in the approach to “individual rights, civil liberties, free enterprise and democracy”.
And in the present circumstances in Europe, this is the crux of the argument. Where does the threat to individual liberties come from?
Meloni amongst many others, insists the real threat to human liberty comes now from the Left. In an energetic speech in 2019 to the World Congress of Families, she began by outlining the area of conflict.
It has been obvious for some time that the very notion of family has been an affront to progressive politics, but Meloni suggests that the struggle is with unseen financial and political adversaries, who wish to strip of us of our humanity and our identity, in order to crush us and turn us into consumerist slaves:
“Why is the family so frightening? There is a single answer to all these questions.
Because it defines us because it is our identity.
Because everything that defines us is an identity, and for those who would like us to no longer have an identity and simply be perfect consumer slaves.”
She blames what she calls ‘financial speculators”:
“They attack, national identity, religious identity, attack, gender, identity and family identity . I can’t define myself as Italian, Christian, woman, mother.
Now I must be citizen X, gender X, parent one, parent two.
I must be a number because when I’m only a number, when I no longer have an identity or roots, then I will be the perfect slave at the mercy of financial speculators.
We will defend the value of the human being -every single human being.”
Of herself she says: “I am Giorgia, I am a woman, I am Italian, I am Christian. You can’t take this away from me!”
Whilst the secular progressive and anti-Catholic Left do all they can to portray political stances in the terms that were current in the first half of the Twentieth century, Christians in particular see the threat, not only to them and the Church, but to democracy and humanitarian values, as coming from the new Left, and not the Right.
Whether it is so-called wokery, or cancel culture, ‘turbo-charged political correctness’ or Cultural Marxism, the secular assault on Christendom involves a series of attacks on the values that Christianity in particular identifies with and defends.
It wants to replace the individual with the collective; it wants to silence free speech and control thought crime; it wants the diminishment of national and gender identity in order to replace it with a form of homogenous world order.
In her autobiography she wrote: “You see, political correctness is a shockwave, a cancel culture that tries to upset and remove every single beautiful, honourable and human thing that our civilisation has developed. […] It is a nihilistic wind of unprecedented ugliness that tries to homogenise everything in the name of One World. In short, political correctness – the Gospel that a stateless and rootless elite wants to impose – is the greatest threat to the founding value of identities.”
It was highly significant that Meloni chose to quote GK Chesterton, one of the principle Catholic exponents of the struggle to defend faith against secularist assault.
In Heretics Chesterton wrote: “We who are Christians never knew the great philosophic common sense which inheres in that mystery until the anti-Christian writers pointed it out to us.
“The great march of mental destruction will go on. Everything will be denied. …
“Fires will be kindled to testify that two and two make four. Swords will be drawn to prove that leaves are green in summer. …”
Astonishingly prescient of the assault by postmodernism on the fabric of rationality, it is the Christian Catholic voices which are being raised with the greatest effect against this pernicious assault from the Left on individualism, rationality, faith and freedom.
Of her relationship with the Church Meloni has reflected on her difficulties with the present pope: “Maybe it’s age, maybe the memories, but even though I’m Catholic and I’ve never allowed myself to criticise a pope, I admit that I haven’t always understood Pope Francis.”
“Sometimes I feel like a lost sheep, and I hope one day to have the privilege of being able to talk to him, because I’m sure that his big eyes and his direct words can give meaning to the things I don’t understand.”
Her response to John Paul II was different: “He was the greatest pope of the modern era and the greatest statesman of the 20th century…But he was also more. As they say, it’s almost impossible to understand the value of something until we lose it.”
“John Paul was elected in 1978, a year after I was born..When he died in 2005, I was 28. For almost 30 years, he was always there. It was as if I had lost my grandfather, because he, simply, had always been there … He was a great man, a saint.”
Meloni’s values are “God, Family and Country”. The Left are deeply threatened by God and Christian ethics, in particular those what defend the unborn child.
The Left have pursued an unremitting assault on the family and in particular the rights of parents, even to the point of promoting the sexualisation of children in the new gender wars.
The Left have done all they can to diminish the sense of belonging to a community expressed in the shared attributes of nationhood by diluting it with experiments in multiculturalism that destroy without re-creating, replacing belonging with factionalism.
To believe in God, family and country, is not far-right, and with Meloni’s commitment to democracy, support of Israel and human rights in contrast to the dehumanising of post-modernity, cannot be fascist.
It is instead Catholic and Christian, and should be recognised and celebrated as such.