Steve Bannon’s right-wing Catholic DHI institute in breach of contract

Dignitatis Humanae Institute (DHI), a right-wing Catholic institute affiliated with Steve Bannon, is out of favour with Italy’s Culture Ministry. The DHI is considered the “cultural arm” of Bannon’s populist push in Italy and in Europe.

The Ministry says it will revoke the lease on the 800 year-old state-owned Trisulti monastery it leased to the Institute.

The Ministry says it can revoke the lease as the DHI has violated various contractual obligations including a failure to pay concession fees and do maintenance work on the monastery.

The DHI’s original stated aim was to create an apolitical Catholic study and training centre at the monastery.

Bannon, who is a former Breitbart executive and chief strategist to Donald Trump, had been planning to train political activists at the monastery.

Benjamin Harnwell, Bannon’s close associate in Italy who is spearheading the project, is the director of the monastery-based academy.

He says Bannon has been raising funds for the Institute and has also launched a campaign to build a populist movement across Europe.

His project drew criticism from the left and was also denounced by a top Catholic cardinal last month.

Local media had raised doubts over whether Harnwell’s institute fulfilled the requirements of its agreement with the government.

Vacca, a member of the anti-establishment 5-Star party which has been ruling Italy in a coalition with the far-right League since last year, says there are no political motives behind the decision to revoke permission for the Institute.

He says the procedure to award the concession to Harnwell’s association – whose board of advisers is chaired by Cardinal Raymond Burke, a leading Vatican conservative – had been completed under the previous, center-left government.


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