Giorgia Meloni is the projected next Prime Minister of Italy following the 2022 elections this week.
While many Catholics across the world are extremely excited to see Giorgia Meloni as Italy's new Head of Government, many have also held back with reservation.
To understand why, we must look at both Giorgia Meloni and her party, Fratelli d'Italia (Brothers of Italy - FdI).
Giorgia Meloni has been in politics for 30+ years now and has received a reputation of being a neo-fascist and Mussolini-sympathizer. She has also been a part of far right political parties in the past, and has praised Mussolini and Nazi collaborators from Italy's past.
The FdI, likewise, has a fascist origin story. The FdI came from a split in the center-right wing Popolo della Libertà (The People of Freedom - PdL) in 2012. The PdL had taken in many of the leaders of the Alleanza Nazionale (National Alliance - AN), a right wing to far right wing party which was the successor of the Movimento Sociale Italiano (Italian Social Movement - MSI), the neo-fascist political party that took over for the fascist parties of the Mussolini and post-Mussolini era. Thus, many of the founding leaders of the FdI have been neo-fascists or rumored neo-fascists, and their party emblem has kept fascist imagery such as the tricolor flame. Giorgia Meloni maintains this symbol is not for fascism, rather it is for the Italian right wing, yet this is not believed by most people. Since FdI is one of the successor parties to the fascist parties and are now part of the national conservative movement and the Steve Bannon led right wing populist European organization, The Movement, many are concerned the FdI and Giorgia Meloni are crypto-fascists who hide behind technicalities and semantics.
Furthermore, both the FdI and Giorgia Meloni are very anti-immigration including for refugees. They want Italy for Italians first, and Giorgia Meloni promotes the Great Replacement theory that many in the further right fringes do, especially racists and European supremacists in lign with fascism.
Lastly, Giorgia Meloni has also made irredentist claims to Croatian lands in Dalmatia, Rijeka, and Istria which has caused a spat with Croatia, so much so that she had voted to veto Croatia's entry into the European Union.
These key points lay out the fierce opposition many Catholics have against Giorgia Meloni.
While these previous key points display much of the dissatisfaction of Catholics in Italy with their projected new prime minister, these next points outline many of the key positives for most in the Catholic Church with Giorgia Meloni.
One, she is strictly against abortion.
Two, she is strictly against euthanasia.
On both of these key points, Giorgia Meloni has led campaigns and votes in the Italian Congress and the EU Parliament to fight against abortion and euthanasia. Lately, she has been a little less adamantly against abortion, but that only appears to be a campaign tactic. She is likely to keep her regular anti-abortion views if she becomes Prime Minister as she is expected to.
Three, she is pro-family. Giorgia Meloni wants there to be more nuclear families across the country.
Four, she promotes more babies. Giorgia Meloni wants Italian birth rates to go up.
Five, she fights against homosexual adoption and the homosexual agenda. She supports traditional marriage and is against the legalization of Gay marriage. However, she has stated support for Gay civil unions.
Six, she fights against the modern day gender movements and has called for them to be banned from school such as gender studies.
Seven, she is Catholic and strongly identifies with our Church and its irreplaceable identity in the Italian ethos. However, there are many shortfalls in her own person for being a Catholic, such as how she has a child and is not married because the father is not traditional.
Eight, she supports more subsidiarity by decreasing the overreaching powers of the European Union. She wants it to be a confederation of independent states thus supporting more localism and weakening one of the most atheistic apparatuses of Italian and wider Western and Central European life. Furthermore, her FdI and The Movement hope to decrease the powers of the European Union as well, eventually hoping to end the various "unnecessary" structures the European Union has created.
As far as the economy goes, Giorgia Meloni and PdI both are seen within the Catholic social teaching. They promote spending on their citizens. They fail however in promoting spending on refugees as alluded to before. But, with regards to families, the PdI and Giorgia Meloni are very Catholic. She wants to make school more affordable and give more money to mothers to have their children, even hinting at a maternity wage and longer maternity paid leave: "Women don’t want to have children, because they live in a society that makes them pay if they do. But they will, if instead they find themselves in a society that rewards them as mothers.’" Furthermore, Giorgia Meloni promotes less taxation instead of more state intervention into the economy distancing herself from the national-style socialism of Mussolini. While this is not necessarily Catholic, it does further display how her promoted policies are more distant from fascism than she gets credit for.
These features make Giorgia Meloni admired by many conservatives as she consistently stands by many of our Christian values.
And recently, she and her party FdI have stated how they wish to stay in NATO and to fight against Russia by supplying Ukrainians with aid. In addition, she has come out to publicly denounce fascism and Nazism. She considers herself center-right and has alleged that the largely left wing media are running smear campaigns against her by calling her fascist. And to her defense, her praise of those aligned with fascism has not usually come with praise for actual fascist actions, but usually for other policies or actions which were good that they did.
These key points have warmed Giorgia Meloni to people alarmed with her past and the FdI's past.
Another key factor that has warmed Giorgia Meloni to the Italian people is in foreign policy. Her insistence on questioning the foreign relations between Italy and Qatar and Italy and Saudi Arabia has increased her popularity. She has stated that both countries export extremist ideology out of their nations, contributing to Islamic extremism globally.
Given the contemptuous relationship between those on the Western left wing to these two Middle Eastern and Arabian monarchies, Giorgia Meloni has earned some style points with the Italian Catholic left. These views are also widely held in the Italian Catholic right.
In addition and in line with our Catholic Church, she promotes warmer relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan) and has criticized the People's Republic of China (Communist Party controlled China) and its policies across the world. She has even been pro-Tibet. These views have also endeared her to the Italian Catholic left and the Italian Catholic right, most of whom are concerned with the increasing power of the Chinese Communist Party.
But, Perhaps her most popular view as of late has been her denouncement of French "neo-colonialism" in Africa with regards to how the French handle much of the West African Franc currency, as well as many of the industries and natural resources across the Francophone world in Africa. She has also called out the NATO actions in the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. These views are widely held by many in the left wing, but also increasingly in the right wing as well, and have made her appear more universal for Italians and Catholics.
But, despite these more centered and left wing points that have made her more easy to support for left wing Catholics, Giorgia Meloni is still widely and rightfully seen as a right wing to a far right wing politician who is comfortable with Italy's fascist past. These worries have permeated the wider Catholic world and have created a rift within the Church.
For example, she has been a fierce opponent of COVID vaccine mandates and has stated that the Italian policies that forced people out of jobs denied Italians their freedom to work.
Regardless of these points, Catholics should be both happy and alert with this new incumbent.
Catholics should be happy because Girogia Meloni is expected to fight the prevailing atheistic views that are ravaging European society and schools. Catholic independence via the separation of Church and State have been greatly under attack as well as the freedom to worship in places from France to the Republic of Ireland. Countries such as Malta and Poland have been singled out for their anti-abortion laws by the European Union, and places like Hungary have been singled out for their pro-traditional family policies. If you do believe that abortion is murder, her efforts to stop abortion should be the most important detail of her politics.
With Giorgia Meloni in power, now, two of the five biggest European Union states will be under Conservative Catholics, at least in name: Poland and Italy. And, despite Spain not being under a Conservative Catholic for their Prime Minister, they are still largely represented by a strong Catholic Head of State: King Felipe VI. Furthermore, Spain like Italy is a country that can turn left wing or right wing at any moment as it goes back and forth.
However, Catholics must be alert too. For one, Giorgia Meloni does not share the Church's views toward immigration and refugees. She also may be implementing fascist policies which could go against Church teachings, such as elevating the state above the Church and the individual. And while her views are in lign with the Church on homosexuality and gender theory, she might go too far which could lead to discrimination and terrible treatment of the LGBTQ+ Community which too is against Church teachings.
Therefore, Catholics need to use their influence to make sure she rules in a Catholic way, and does not corrupt Church teachings to implement fascist policies.
Because if we do not, and Italy gets labeled as what a Catholic run state would look like, then the EU and the rest of the developed world will become even more convinced that religion is a problem for democratic societies.
The future of Italy needs to be Catholic and it is nice to see Giorgia Meloni push for this future. We just must make sure her brand of Catholicism is not clouded in heresy to benefit the Italian Republic above all else. Instead, we must make sure her brand of Catholicism is Catholicism itself.