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President Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon won a legal battle to form a Catholic, populist political academy in an 800-year-old monastery south of Rome.
An Italian regional court ruled in favor of Bannon’s Dignitatis Humanae Institute, reversing a previous decision in favor of the Culture Ministry that would have prevented the political and religious school from opening its doors at the Carthusian monastery.
“We stood by the monastery, the community, and Italy during this pandemic when it would have been easy to walk away. We now launch the program of learning and training that will make the world more prosperous, more secure, more healthy for everyone,” Bannon said in a Wednesday statement, according to the Tablet.
The Culture Ministry owns the property and revoked a 19-year lease last year, claiming it violated contractual guidelines. Some nearby residents also expressed opposition to the concept of the academy. Benjamin Harnwell, who runs the institute, said the ministry’s decision to withdraw the lease was “politically motivated.”
Bannon and his ambitions for the school have seen support from some right-wing political figures in Italy, including former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. The academy has lost some support within the Roman Catholic Church, including from U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who was once its honorary president. Bannon upset Burke and others for his condemnations of the current state of the church under Pope Francis.
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