October 7, 2009

Italy’s top court rejects Prime minister’s immunity

Some weeks ago, a State legal service memorandum stated that if the Constitutional Court would throw out the so-called Lodo Alfano, namely, the law passed a few weeks after Berlusconi took power last year to block legal action against the four highest offices of State, then “there would be damage to elective functions, which could not be exercised with due dedication, and resignation from office could even ensue. […] There would in any case be damage, most of it irreparable.”

Well, a few minutes ago the 15-member panel of Italy’s top court ruled that the law was unconstitutional—because, besides having been passed by parliament as a normal law rather than a constitutional reform, it violated the constitutional guarantee of equality before the law—thus paving the way for two corruption trials to resume against Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

A spokesman for the Prime minister, Paolo Bonaiuti, called the court’s decision “politically motivated.” And perhaps he is right. At the moment, it’s difficult to foresee what the future holds in store. Let’s just recall that, while Berlusconi’s battles with the law have marked his public life since he burst onto the political scene in the mid-1990s, and although some initial judgments have gone against him, he has never been definitively convicted. What this may mean, it’s up to you, folks, to guess. Please, be nasty-minded and without blinkers, and you’ll have a chance to hit the mark..

Obama's paradox

It was Nathaniel Hawthorne who said that grand schemes have perverse effects: “We miss the good we sought, and do the good we little cared for.” And it is thanks to the current President of the United States, according to Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, that the theory proves true. In fact, even though for Obama, proving that the US is a center-right country presumably isn’t a “good” at all, “he’s done it with a finality that the late sociologist Seymour Lipset—a student of America’s cussedly right-leaning attitudes—might envy.” Thus, he has turned out to be “the Right’s best community organizer.” Here is how the ‘miracle’ (or ‘heterogenesis of the ends’, if you prefer) happened:

In nine months, he has breathed life into the Republican party, boosted pro-lifers, tarnished the reputation of regulation, bolstered traditional values, increased the public’s desire for immigration restriction, and shifted independent voters rightward.
Obama’s liberal grandiosity has reminded people why they tend to be conservative, something they wanted to forget during the last four years of the Bush administration. Gallup’s surveys in recent months are a long catalog of the Obama snap-back.

Without a doubt, it’s Rich Lowry at his best. [Thanks: Andrea]

Power and Grace

“Power and Grace – The Patron Saints of Europe” (October 8 through January 10, 2010, at Rome’s Palazzo Venezia), as Italian Foreign minister Franco Frattini pointed out at the exhibition preview, offers an opportunity to “re-advance the theme of the Old Continent’s Christian roots,” which is made all the more topical by “the persistence of the Union’s crisis of identity.”

Promoted by the Italian government and the San Floriano Committee of Illegio (a small mountain village of 350 inhabitants in north-eastern Italy which has become a national case because of its magnificent initiatives on this field), this great exhibition will be the first dedicated to the fascinating and complex interplay between the history of Europe and its peoples with the Christian vicissitudes of Western civilization, namely, to the saga of the encounter and the conflict between power and religion, civitas and ecclesia, crowns and halos.

More than one hundred and twenty works—coming from the most prestigious museums of Europe—by artists such as Van Eyck, Memling, Mantegna, Del Sarto, van Dyck, Tiziano, Veronese, El Greco, Guercino, Caravaggio, Murillo and Tiepolo will be on display.

The basic focus of the exhibition are the biographies, in their iconographic version, of the patron saints of the different European states and the six saints who are the guardians of Europe itself: Benedict, Cyril and Methodius, Catherine of Siena, Bridget of Sweden, and Teresa Benedict of the Cross (Edith Stein). Of course, all is aimed to throw light on the society, politics, religion, and cultural context of the times in which they lived and played their important role. The Christian roots of Europe being the result of this role and of the dynamic interplay of civitas and ecclesia, politics and religion, liturgical and devotional phenomena and social and ethnic phenomena.

A very interesting and unique cultural operation. As Frattini also pointed out, Europe’s Christian roots include “the values of the person and his dignity” from which to “depart in giving Europe back its soul.” Which is not an easy task given the state-of-the-art in this field and our intellectually Christophobic elites, as one leading Catholic neoconservative philosopher, George Weigel, stressed in his excellent The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God.

It is to be hoped that this initiative will be crowned by success and soon followed by others of the same kind throughout the Western countries.


First written for The Metaphysical Peregrine