Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

New breakthrough in church-state understanding

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Jun 14, 2005

Barely 25% of the eligible Italian voters took part in a nationwide referendum on laws governing in vitro fertilization. What does that tell you?

Maybe it means that Italian voters wanted the referendum to fail (which it did). Maybe they were convinced by the arguments put forward by opponents, including the Catholic bishops. Maybe they just didn't care.

But Emma Bonino of the Radical Party, which had backed the referendum, has a different theory. She thinks Italian voters are becoming religious fanatics. The referendum's failure, she says, demonstrates "a problem of the climate, of the atmosphere in this country." She explained, "It is not secular, and it's very worrisome."

Class assignment: Write a 500-word essay explaining why the failure to cast a ballot in public elections is a religious act.

For extra credit: What religion are you practicing when, instead of voting, you stay home and watch TV?

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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