Is Italy a Catholic country?
Is the Pope Catholic?
Although the latter is used among English speakers/in the English-speaking world as the ultimate example of a rhetorical question – a question the answer to which is already well known – we are now in the historically unprecedented situation in which the answer to that question is not so straightforward.
The same applies to the question with which this article opens, the one about Italy.
The very fact that Italy is now among the countries with the lowest birth rates in the globe/world in itself shows that the majority, or at least a large number, of Italians don’t put at the first place Catholic faith and doctrine when making choices of behaviour, not even in the most important spheres of life.
Formal, exterior respect for Church – for example, Viareggio Carnival administrators who are careful about not extending the Carnival festivities too long into Lent so as not/in order not to offend the (local) Bishop, but then may or may not follow natural law (when in bed) with their wives or even other women.
My mother voted in favour of divorce in the Italian referendum.
Then there the many (self-professed) Catholics who are communists, socialists (, liberals). This in itself shows how confused are people’s ideas on religious matters and how diluted the concept(s)(doctrine(s)) of Catholicism has/have become in many (people’s) minds.
Claiming to be something (Cath) and being it are two distinct things. Hence that stupid comment to my TOO article on Christianity about Poland being Cath but having low birth rates.
Luca – Cath – has only one child.
Beginning. When I came to England in 1984 etc (see my Italia Oggi article). You could find that even on supposedly “progressive” products like those of Monty Python.
In addition, I’ve always found here a strong anti-Catholic (feeling and) bias.
The point is: despite the fact that Catholic faith in Italy holds better than elsewhere, Italians are still/nevertheless subjected to the same kind of barrage of propaganda – (mainly) through controlled education and media – as other Western countries.
And this has been going on for decades, or even a century or more. Tell about Risorgimento, Garibaldi etc. But at school and university I was taught that Risorgimento was the best thing after cut bread (check). Quote from my Italian history books and especially school and university textbooks.
Enlightenment well talked of, in opposition to Obscurantism and Middle Ages.
Absolute monarchy(ism) was/is the scourge of these books and Risorgimento, in opposition to constitutional monarchy and republic. The new (unified) Italy, this Italy, was born, much like France after the Revolution, out of these ideas. Even the flag is similar, and Italians talk about the French as “our cousins”.
“Modern” is a term with positive connotation in Italy too. Many Italians consider secularism a value to protect.
When I was a child I remember watching a long-running TV drama set during the French Revolution, that was romanticising it and depicted the revolutionaries as heroes.
There is a widespread feeling among Italians that their country is culturally and religiously “backward” (check), and a tendency to follow the “progressive” trends of other countries. But progress towards what? Damnation/Perdition. Quote my first article for CWR. Or: they don’t seem to realise that this kind of progress is on/along/down the road to damn/perd.
Italian “Catholics” accept as normal that their sons and daughters have children with their cohabiting, not married, partners.