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Weigel: Papal States’ fall was blessing for papacy

Catholic World News - March 18, 2011

Commenting on the 150th anniversary of Italy’s independence, George Weigel writes that “it would take a particular kind of obtuseness, combined with over-the-top romanticism, to think that the loss of the Papal States was anything other than a tremendous blessing for the Catholic Church.”

For its part, Italy, writes Weigel,

is beset by the same problems that bedevil much of the rest of Western Europe: demographic meltdown, a fiscally impossible welfare state, the loss of any work ethic, inane politics, dysfunctional public services, irresponsible unions, and unresponsive bureaucratic government. Many of those problems reflect the crisis of cultural morale that hangs over contemporary Europe like a dense fog. And that crisis of cultural morale, in its Italian form, is rooted in the arid secularism that helped shape the modern Italy born 150 years ago today.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Joehickey - Mar. 18, 2011 8:57 PM ET USA

    The worst thing for the Church was that it was so intertwined in worldly government. Secular power corrupts and no one can deny that it did for the clergy and the papacy after the split of the Roman Empire and after its fall.

  • Posted by: impossible - Mar. 18, 2011 7:02 PM ET USA

    George Weigel is writing about Western Europe and Italy in particular, but unless we are blind, we can see that the U.S. is well on the same path of self-destruction. Sometimes, even naïve Church leaders chime in to cheer us down our decline into socialism.

  • Posted by: Steve214 - Mar. 18, 2011 6:35 PM ET USA

    That certainly was not the view of the Church at the time, and I don't see how one could know how it would have turned out if the seizure had not happened...or had happened in a reduced form. We do know that (for example) Vatican radio has been hounded by neighbors of the Vatican--in Italian courts.

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