While the Lega party, led by Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, is the subject of repeated warnings from the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI), Italian practicing Catholics have overwhelmingly voted for it during the European elections held on May 26, 2019.
The poll published less than a month after the European elections by the Ipsos Institute in Avvenire, has had the effect throwing cold water on the headquarters of the Italian Bishops’ Conference.
During the election campaign, while the Italian media and bishops were castigating the vote in favor of Matteo Salvini’s party, the latter went from fourth to first place in the order of electoral preferences of practicing Catholics from Italy, who voted 33% in its favor.
“If Catholics are voting for Lega today, it serves to draw attention to a political crisis,” commented Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, President of the CEI, preferring to see the Salvini vote as a rejection rather than as support. Refusing thus to admit to a religious crisis, the bishops have long lost their authority over the faithful.
A few days before the election of May 26, Matteo Salvini had angered several Catholic leaders by brandishing his rosary and invoking the Virgin. “I entrust my life and yours to the Immaculate Heart of Mary who, I am sure, will bring us to victory,” so began the Italian Deputy Prime Minister.
The results of May 26 showed that the Italians prefer the invocation of their venerated Madonna over the imprecations of the Monsignori.