Giorgia Meloni

Address to the World Congress of Families XIII

delivered 30 March 2019, Verona, Italy

 

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I just arrived. I was ironing. Then I found 10 minutes to come and talk a little bit about politics with you. I think the numerous people in attendance here, despite the many controversies over this congress, is the best response that could have been given [to your critics]. Thank you to everyone who worked on it.

Thank you to Brian Brown. Thank you to Jacopo Coghe. Thank you to Tony Brandi; to Massimo Gandolfini. I thank them because they made this event happen.

And thank you for not giving up. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your determination, not just today but for many years now. With your work, and that of many other associations, you have helped to keep certain issues alive that would otherwise have been destined for elimination [from the political sphere]. Instead, you have kept them alive, active and present.

Regarding this congress, they said all sorts of things. They said we are backward, that we are losers, that we are embarrassing, that we are obscurantists [unenlightened]. They said it is a scandal for someone who wants to defend the natural family based on marriage, who wants to boost natality [birth rate], who wants to value human life, who wants to support educational freedom, who wants to say "No!" to gender ideology.

I return each of these accusations to the sender.

I think the backward are those who try to bring censorship back to Italy by preventing the celebration of an event like this.

I think it is obscurantist [unenlightened] when a State, willing to sponsoring anything over the years, including exhibitions depicting a crucifix dipped in a glass of pee, is now ashamed to sponsor an initiative like this.

I say -- I say it is the losers who have nothing else to do but come here and insult us while we look for what can be done for the Italian family.

But above all, I say that we are not the embarrassing ones. Embarrassing are those who support practices such as "womb for rent" [surrogacy], abortion in the ninth month, and the attempt to stunt the development of 11-year-old children with pharmaceutical drugs. That is embarrassing!

They said all sorts of things about this congress: that we want to restrict women's freedom; that we want them at home ironing. In your opinion, do I seem like the type to stay at home and iron? Does it seem to you that I, the only female Secretary of a political party in Italy, who ran for mayor of Rome while pregnant -- I was much admonished for this -- that I would think that women should be cast aside to wherever?

It is the exact opposite!

We want to guarantee the rights that do not exist today:

The right for a woman is to be a mother without having to give up a job.

A woman's right to be a mother, to be able to choose not to work and not starve to death as a result.

The right of a woman forced to have an abortion because she sees no viable alternative -- to have that alternative! Because it is not true that women's self-determination is guaranteed today. If a woman only has the option of abortion, that is not self-determination. Self-determination exists only if that woman can also make a different choice -- a choice that we want to guarantee.

We are here to defend women, to defend families, to demand many things that we have brought to the parliamentary chambers. Fratelli d'Italia is the party that proposed the “Reddito d'Infanzia"1 which we believe in more than the “Reddito di cittadinanza."2 I say it sincerely!

Funding resources for those who bring a child into the world because those who bring a child into the world do something useful for all of society.

We have asked for and proposed free daycare centers that are open until the close of business and also open on Saturdays to allow many working mothers to have an alternative.

We called for the full implementation of Law 194 for the reasons I mentioned to provide the possibility of financial support for those women who are committed to and prefer carrying their pregnancy to term, even if they want to give that child up for adoption. We have called for a moratorium at the UN, to declare "womb for rent" [surrogacy] a universal crime, because, yes, that is mortifying, and a violence against women.

We want to take this issue to Europe because it is scandalous that Europe does not have among its priority funding lines the issue of natality [birthrate].

Denatality3 is the largest problem facing Europe. If we don't address this, everything else we do is useless. So why, if the European Union has an "Erasmus Programme" for [student] mobility, if it has a "Horizon Programme" for scientific research, can't it have a "Families Programme" to foster the natality? To be able to invest resources in [increasing] natality?

Are these proposals we make so crazy?
Do these sound like obscurantist [unenlightened] proposals?
Does it look like we want to take away rights?

The Middle Ages.4 If so, the Middle Ages was also the time of cathedrals and abbeys; the time when the communes, universities, and parliament were born; and the time of Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, St. Francis, and St. Benedict. But from people who don't even know where Matera is, we don't expect them to know history. Let's say so!

They have attacked us on a personal level. I was also attacked on a personal level: “Shame on you! You talk about a natural family based on marriage and you made a child out of marriage!” For that matter, I am also talking about large families, and I have only had one child.

Look, paradoxically when they tell you this, they reinforce the rightness of your position. It simply shows that what I am calling for, I do not do so for myself. I bring forward what I consider useful for Italian society. I believe that it is right for the State to incentivize the natural family based on marriage, and that...if I have not married, I do not expect the State to give me the same privileges that married [couples] are entitled to. That's the point -- pay attention!

The point is that I believe in a society where every choice you make has consequences -- and you take responsibility for them. I reject a society where every desire becomes a right, where every whim becomes a right -- a society in which I have no responsibilities but only rights: I reject it! It is wrong!

I do not have a confessional [religious] approach to this matter. I believe in God, but I don't have a confessional [religious] approach to this matter. I am reasonable about it. I fight these battles for secular common sense.

I am a person used to asking questions, even uncomfortable, even deep questions. When I ask myself those questions, I want credible answers. And all too often, many questions I have asked over the years -- the priests of "singular thought" have been unable to provide meaningful answers.

I have dozens of these questions. Is it right for a society to spend a lot more energy and resources on finding immediate, easy, quick ways to get rid of human life rather than on fostering it? Is that normal? Can you call that "civilization?"

Is it fair that a puppy dog, rightly, cannot be snatched from it's mother's womb at birth, but the baby son of a desperate mother who sells it to two rich men can be?

Why do Italian judges take away the parental rights of two married parents who are natural parents of a baby girl, claiming that this couple is too old, at 52 and 54, to raise their natural daughter and thereby take her away from them against their will? But if it's two men, over 50, going to buy a child abroad, that's fine! Why? Why? Why?

Why, if they told us -- Why, if they told us that Eluana Englaro's father should be free to pull the plug that kept his daughter alive because no one knows better than a parent what is good for their child -- why didn't the same right apply to Charlie Gard's parents and Alfie Evans' parents? Why do those who want to pull the plug always win? Why does death always win? Why?

If the life of a sick child, like Alfie Evans is called futile, how long before the life of a disabled person is called worthless? Or of an elderly person? Or of anyone who does not fit the standards of the perfect consumer? How much time must pass?

And why do we concerned ourselves with all manner of discrimination, but pretend not to see the greatest ongoing persecution of all -- the genocide of Christians around the world? Why? Give me answers to these questions, please!

I could ask many more of these sorts of question questions, but of these, the most important is the one we are asking ourselves today, which is "Why is the family an enemy?" Why is the family so scary?

There is a unique answer to all these questions: because it defines who we are, and because it is our identity. Why is everything that defines us at this time an enemy to those who would like us to no longer have an identity and simply be slaves, perfect consumers?

So they attack national identity.
They attack religious identity.
They attack gender identity.
They attack family identity.

I must not be able to call myself Italian, Christian, woman, mother. No! I must be citizen X, gender X, parent 1, parent 2. I must be a number, because when I am just a number, when I have no identity, when I have no roots, then I will be the perfect slave at the mercy of big financial speculators. The perfect consumer!

And this is the reason why we are so scary today.

This is the reason why this event today is so scary.

Because we don't want to be numbers. We are here to say that we are not numbers, and we will defend the value of being human, of every single human being. Each of us has a unique and unrepeatable genetic code. And that, like it or not, is sacred.

This we will defend! We will defend God, Country, and Family -- that which is so disgusting for some people. We will do this to defend our freedom because we will never be slaves and mere consumers at the mercy of financial speculation. That's our mission and that's why I came here today.

Chesterton wrote, now more than a century ago -- let's see if I can find it: "Fires will be kindled to testify that two and two make four. Swords will be drawn to prove that leaves are green in summer."5

That time has come. We are ready.

Thank you!


1 Literally, “Childhood income.” Stated position: “This is a concrete initiative to address the greatest emergency of our time, which is linked to dramatic demographics. People in Italy are no longer having children because they have become a luxury good, they are no longer a free choice. We do not want to see Italian civilization disappear. That is why we have presented a very articulate package of initiatives to put the family back at the center. Shift taxation from the person to the family unit.” [Source: https://www.tag24.it/184052-giorgia-meloni-reddito-dinfanzia/]

2 Literally, “Citizenship Income.” The Reddito di Cittadinanza (RdC), introduced by Decree-Law No. 4 of January 28, 2019, as a poverty alleviation measure, is an economic support aimed at reintegration into employment and social inclusion. [Source: https://www.inps.it/prestazioni-servizi/reddito-di-cittadinanza-e-pensione-di-cittadinanza]

3 Decline in birthrates at scale

4 Reference to the accusations that these ideas are from and thus belong to a medieval era.

5 Broader quotation: "We who are Christians never knew the great philosophic common sense which inheres in that mystery until the anti-Christian writers pointed it out to us. The great march of mental destruction will go on. Everything will be denied. Everything will become a creed. It is a reasonable position to deny the stones in the street; it will be a religious dogma to assert them. It is a rational thesis that we are all in a dream; it will be a mystical sanity to say that we are all awake. Fires will be kindled to testify that two and two make four. Swords will be drawn to prove that leaves are green in summer. We shall be left defending, not only the incredible virtues and sanities of human life, but something more incredible still, this huge impossible universe which stares us in the face. We shall fight for visible prodigies as if they were invisible. We shall look on the impossible grass and the skies with a strange courage. We shall be of those who have seen and yet have believed." [Chesterton, G.K. Heretics. Source: https://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/470/pg470.txt]

Transcript Note: Outsourced professional translation with modest editorial revisions by Michael E. Eidenmuller

Image Source: YouTube screenshot (digitally enhanced)

Page Updated: 12/13/22

U.S. Copyright Status: Text = Uncertain. Image = Fair Use.

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