Italy’s culture ministry has expressed its determination to revoke the lease on a state-owned monastery where a right-wing Roman Catholic institute affiliated with Stephen Bannon had planned to train political activists. The former Trump campaign adviser is the co-founder of Breitbart News.
Explaining the move in its statement, a ministry official, Gianluca Vacca, cited the violation of a variety of contractual obligations including a failure to pay concession fees and fulfil planned maintenance work.
“Proceeding with the revocation is thus a duty,” Vacca, a member of the anti-establishment 5-Star party, a part of the ruling coalition along with the League, said, adding there were no political motives behind the decision to revoke the institute's permission.
He pointed out that the concession had been awarded to Benjamin Harnwell’s association, whose board of advisers is chaired by Cardinal Raymond Burke, a leading Vatican conservative, under the previous centre-left government.
Earlier, the institute's director Benjamin Harnwell explained to Reuters that Bannon was assisting in working out a curriculum for a leadership course meant for right-wing Catholic activists to take place in the Trisulti monastery. Harnwell also remarked at the time that Bannon had also been raising the necessary funds for the institute.