Vatican Newspaper: Sovereignty ‘Diametrically Opposed’ to Europe

Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini gives a "thumbs up" during a press conference in the Lega headquarters in northern Milan following the results of the European parliamentary elections, on May 27, 2019. - Matteo Salvini's anti-migrant League party won the most votes on May 26 in …
MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty
THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, PH.D.

The pro-sovereignty movement that made such extraordinary gains in Sunday’s European elections is the enemy of Europe, the Vatican’s L’Osservatore Romano newspaper said in a front-page editorial Monday.

Andrea Monda, personally appointed as the newspaper’s editor-in chief by Pope Francis last December, said that the Lega’s substantial victory in Italy was particularly worrisome.

“Sovereign, as the word itself indicates, is the one who does not want anyone above himself, who wants to be free from any other presence that is seen as a suffocating limit to his own freedom,” Mr. Monda said. “It is from this misunderstood sense of freedom that Europe’s problems arise, as highlighted by the election results.”

“Sovereignism and Europe are actually two diametrically opposed ideas. Europe is the union of states, it is a being-with,” he said.

“But this must not lead to demonizing, but rather to trying to understand the reasons how we arrived at this apparent contradiction of a Europe with strong sovereigntist tendencies,” he wrote.

The pro-sovereignty vote Sunday was “reactive,” Monda said. It was not a vote for something, but “against” something, driven by fear.

“Yet politics, especially if experienced in the light of the Gospel, is always ‘for,’ always proactive, never reactive or destructive,” he said. “If it is reactive it means that fear has taken over. And fear makes people crazy and breaks ties.”

“Public policy cannot be reduced to guaranteeing security,” Monda said in apparent reference to Sunday’s big winner, interior minister Matteo Salvini and the Lega party.

“Alongside the civil authority that guarantees security, there should be another spiritual authority, which offers citizens the meaning of existence. This is the role and responsibility to which the Catholic Church is called today,” he said.

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