The Pope’s journey to Africa – Two reflections on his pontificate

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POPE in Africa (Madacascar) Photo ANSA

 

In these days the Pope is traveling to Africa.
The program includes visits to three countries: Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius. In addition, the Pope will meet young people, authorities and clergy but also AIDS patients and survivors of epidemics. Only another pope had been in Africa: Pope John Paul II in May 1989.

Pope Francis’ journey will last 7 days: from 4 to 10 September!

 

Pontificate

The pontificate of Pope Francis lives all in all with conflicting opinions, although mainly favorable, probably due to his warmer charisma than his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.

The problem of immigration, which is at the center of politics due to the serious problems of hospitality that Italy has to face every day, puts the pontificate of Pope Francis in serious difficulty, which since the beginning has always supported maximum acceptance without if and without but. A philosophy that many people certainly don’t like.

Beyond the issue of immigration, there is always the problem of pedophilia, which in spite of everything in recent years has spoken little about it, even if the subject is always alive among the people.
I must say that despite the many problems that exist in Italy, Pope Francis has been able to capture the sympathy of the people, confirming the greatness (and at the same time the humility) of his name more in words than in deeds.

The image of the Pope in Italy is completely different from the one he has abroad. It is obvious that in the Latin American countries the popularity of the Pope is out of the question and when there is a journey the Pope gathers millions of faithful.
In Anglo-Saxon countries instead. the Pope’s popularity is minor. Moreover, most of the scandals or investigations into pedophilia come from the Anglo-Saxon countries.

Although the Pope has brought considerable innovation and openness to the church, some reforms have been harshly criticized. For example, changing – albeit slightly – the prayer of the Our Father, was for many disconcerting.

Surely the opening to the Gay or some sex taboos has benefited the church, but probably not enough. The pontificate of Pope John Paul II seems very far away.

Surely the opening to the Gay or some sex taboos has benefited the church, but probably not enough. The pontificate of Pope John Paul II seems very far away. As a tradition, the church always places itself as a stronghold before social and world evolution, to take the distance from possible drifts.

The humanity of Pope Francis is certainly that of having often come into contact with people. Many will always remember the phone calls he made at the homes of the people, who answered almost incredulously.
Judging a pontificate is very difficult. Each era has its socio-political-economic context.

In addition to the problems mentioned above, there are the perennial problems of the thousands of property units owned by the Vatican, which are largely exempt from taxes, and the remaining Vatican has outstanding debts.

 

The new Italian government formed after the crisis

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The President Mattarella and The Premier Conte

 

After the government crisis in which Italian Prime Minister Conte resigned, a new government was formed. The M5S, that in the elections of March 4 2019 was the most voted party (35%) but did not reach an absolute majority in order to govern alone, made an alliance with the Democratic party.

For many it was a political betrayal because until a few days before the M5S ruled with the right (Lega). Also for years the M5S and the PD have been insulted, especially after the Bibbiano scandals, which revealed the Democratic Party politicians in criminal cases concerning children.

The truth is that both the M5S and the PD wanted to avoid the elections because the polls gave both parties a sharp decline in favor of the Lega that have double the consensus: from 18% to 36%.

It is difficult to think that this government can last for all legislation because the parties that have joined together have very few things in common. Among the political issues of confrontation, there will almost certainly be immigration, which has been gripping the whole country for decades.

Matteo Salvini, leader of the League, was one of the few in fact to fight against illegal immigration that happens with the boats that land in the ports of the Italian coasts. This policy has led Salvini to have more enemies than friends in Italy and in Europe, where strangely a solidarity policy applies. Italy is objectively the country most penalized in illegal immigration and every year it suffers tens of thousands of landings of irregular migrants.

Despite the fact that Germany is the most hospitable to migrants, Italy is the country that hosts the most irregular immigrants.
In Germany there are precise rules and crossing German borders without documents there are very severe penalties.

Giuseppe Conte was again chosen for the new government, despite the disagreement of some members of the Left (Democratic Party). In fact, Giuseppe Conte held a diplomatic relationship with the rest of Europe during the first year of government (with the League), earning the respect of the EU and also of US PresidentΒ Donald Trump,Β who recently has expressed sympathy for him in a tweet, wishing him to lead the country.

The Italian markets and exchanges reacted quite well, except for a few days when it was thought that the agreement between the PD and M5S was not successful. Particularly when in a day of consultations among the various parties, Luigi Di Maio, leader of the M5S, raised the tone dictating the conditions of the agreement and making to fear a lacked agreement.

Regarding the government agreement, all members of the five-star movement through the Rousseau platform also expressed their opinion. Voting was definitely in favor of the agreement with 79%. The vote was however criticized by the right-wing parties, including the Lega, because they believe it is unfair that 70000 members of the M5S can decide for millions of Italians.

Although the agreement made with the PD remained the M5S as a traitor to the values ​​of coherence and position, uniting both with the right and then with the left in the same legislature reinforces that it was a workhorse of the movement: not to be right and left but go only against the system. Many dislike the agreement because the movement was born as a party for the protest vote against the corruption of caste and politics.

Early voting was very difficult to do because a government’s 1-year duration is very short, and indeed even the President of the Republic wanted the agreement between the left and the M5S, provided, however, that the parties presented political guidelines to be implemented together.