My son threw up his hands as he got to page 10 of the newspaper over his post-pranzo espresso, "Why does the church (Church) always have its hands in politics!"
As Veltroni gathers consensus for his new Partito Democratico he must come to terms with the Catholic church to have any chance of winning upcoming elections. He has chosen a wise position that aims to include the left-leaning Catholics into his fold and distance the PD from the radical anitclericalism of the farther left. Although the PD needs the Catholic vote, he reminds them that the lay nature of the State must be also be practiced and not only preached. "We can't enter into the 21st century with a counterposition of Catholics and lay people. It would mean that Italy is condemned to a never ending Porta Pia*." He calls for a shift in language -- for example, in the place of "in the defense of values", a move towards, "promoting values", as a first step. As he walks a fine line, he asks his lay followers to be ethically senstitive to Catholic positions and to make a conscious effort to get away from name calling.
The division runs deep and the left has historically been on the other side of the divide from the Church. Now it is up to Super Walter to build a bridge to the other side, and I have faith that his pragmatic and personable ways will pave a way.
* The conquest of Rome in 1870 that led to its integration into the newly formed Italian state (1860).