Catholic cardinal says Steve Bannon using monastery for political purposes

Catholic cardinal says Steve Bannon using monastery for political purposes
© Greg Nash

A Catholic cardinal blasted ex-White House strategist Steve BannonStephen (Steve) Kevin BannonJuan Williams: Swamp creature at the White House Engineers say privately funded border wall is poorly constructed and set to fail: report Bannon and Maxwell cases display DOJ press strategy chutzpah MORE’s plans to use a former Italian monastery as a training academy for far-right politics, according to Politico.

In a January letter to Benjamin Harnwell, a Bannon associate leading the effort, Cardinal Renato Maria Martino said the space was intended to be used for an apolitical theological training center. Martino vowed to resign as honorary president of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute (DHI), the group overseeing Bannon’s plans for the monastery, if there are "distortions or modifications" to the original plan.


"I recommend you to make sure the abbey is really turned into a place for worship and meeting open to everybody," Martino wrote, according to an English translation of the letter. "I really hope you and DHI succeed in carrying out the project without any distortions or modifications, including in its implementation phase, that will degenerate the purposes you have worked for so hard."

Residents of Collepardo, a nearby town, demonstrated against the planned training center in March, and the governor of the Lazio region, where it is located, has also raised objections. Italy’s culture ministry has ordered an investigation into whether DHI improperly obtained authorization for the project, according to Politico.

Bannon, who previously served as the chief executive of Breitbart and a chief strategist to the Trump administration, announced his plans for the Trisulti Charterhouse, an 800-year-old former Carthusian monastery, in 2018. Harnwell told Politico in March that the project was intended to train the "next generation of nationalist and populist leaders."

DHI did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.