by Marco Tosatti
An English Translation of the Original, entitled: Intervista a Viganò. Conte, delierio di onnipotenza indecoroso. E illegale.
Dear Stilumcuriali, today we offer you an interview with Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. Which touches on all the main themes of the moment we are living in Italy and in the Church. We think we should thank the Archbishop for the frankness and courage with which he expressed opinions that many people share, and fears that many live.
The interview comes out on 29 April, in memory of Saint Catherine of Siena. Enjoy reading.
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Your Excellency, the last Decree of President Giuseppe Conte dashed the hopes of the Italian Bishops’ Conference (CEI) and prolonged the lock-down of Masses throughout Italy. Some canonists and experts in concordat law have expressed many reservations about the behavior of the Government. What are your thoughts on the matter?
The Concordat between the Holy See and the Italian State recognizes, as Her native right, the Church’s full freedom and autonomy in carrying out Her own Ministry, which sees the celebration of Holy Mass and the administration of the Sacraments as Her social and public expression, in which no authority can interfere, not even with the consent of the ecclesiastical authority itself, which is not the mistress but the administrator of the Grace conveyed by the Sacraments.
Jurisdiction over places of worship therefore belongs in its entirety and exclusively to the Ordinary of the place, who decides in full autonomy — for the good of the souls entrusted to his care as Shepherd — the functions that are celebrated there and by whom they are to be celebrated. It is not for the Prime Minister to authorize access to the churches, nor to legislate on what the faithful or the Minister of worship can or cannot do.
In addition to this, the pronouncements of eminent jurists and magistrates – including those of the Supreme Court – are very authoritative and they question the legitimacy of legislating through Prime-Ministerial Decrees, which violate the superior and prevailing rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the Italian Republic. Even if we are not talking about the Catholic Religion, particularly protected by its special status, the suspension of the right to freedom of worship implied by the Prime Minister’s Decrees is clearly illegitimate, and I trust that there will be those who wish to declare it officially, putting an end to this indecorous delusion of omnipotence of civil authority not only before God and His Church, but also before the faithful and citizens.
Many faithful and priests have felt abandoned and little protected by the Episcopal Conference and the Bishops.
It must be made clear, for the avoidance of misunderstandings, that the Episcopal Conference has no authority over the Bishops, who have full jurisdiction in their own Diocese, in union with the Apostolic See. And this is even more important at a time when we have understood how much the CEI is all too condescending, indeed succumbing, towards the Italian government.
Bishops do not have to wait for a body without any jurisdiction to tell them what to do: it is up to them to decide how to behave, with prudence and wisdom, to guarantee the Sacraments and the celebration of Mass to the faithful. And they can do so without having to ask either the CEI or the State, whose authority ends in front of the churchyard of our churches, and there it must stop.
It is unheard of that the Italian Episcopal Conference continues to tolerate such an abuse, which violates the divine right of the Church, violates a law of the State and creates a very serious precedent. And I believe that the communiqué issued on Sunday evening is also proof of the consent of the leaders of the Episcopate not only to the means, but also to the ends that this government proposes.
The supine silence of the CEI, and of almost all the Ordinaries, makes clear a situation of subordination to the State that has no precedent, and that was rightly perceived by the faithful and priests as a sort of abandonment of themselves: the scandalous raids of the public force in the church, even during the celebration of Mass, with sacrilegious arrogance that should have provoked an immediate and very firm protest by the Secretariat of State, are emblematic of this. The Ambassador of Italy to the Holy See should have been summoned, been presented a harsh Note of Protest for the very serious violation of the Concordat by the Government, and reserving the right to recall the Apostolic Nuncio to Italy if the illegitimate measure had not been withdrawn.
Cardinal Parolin, as sponsor of the President Conte, is in great embarrassment and in conflict of interest. It is clear that, instead of protecting the sovereignty and freedom of the Church in fidelity to its high institutional function as Secretary of State, Cardinal Parolin has shamefully chosen to side with his lawyer friend. Not even the economic interests of so-called Catholic volunteerism could justify such an option.
What interests are you referring to?
I am referring to the scandalous distribution of public funds intended for the hospitality of illegal immigrants, of which Pope Bergoglio and the CEI are largely beneficiaries and, at the same time, strenuous promoters. Another conflict of interest, this one, which places the Church in a position of gratitude towards the State, making it not entirely illegitimate the suspicion that the multiple silences of the CEI, including the one we have witnessed in recent months on the occasion of the alleged pandemic, are motivated by the fear of seeing the lucrative proceeds from the reception fade away. Let us not forget that the funds deriving from the 8×1000 are decreasing more and more, confirming the estrangement of the Italian faithful from a Church that seems to have no other purpose than that of favoring the ethnic substitution strongly desired by the globalist elite. I fear that this trend will be confirmed in the coming months, in response to the silence of the Bishops.
In all this, the position of Pope Francis seems contradictory: at first he ordered the Cardinal Vicar to close the churches of Rome before Conte issued the Decree; then he embarrassed him, publicly denying it and having them reopened. He encouraged the Masses in streaming and then spoke of a Gnostic attitude, encouraging the CEI to take a stand against the Government; but just yesterday he recommended to the faithful obedience to the provisions of the Decrees…
Bergoglio is no stranger to this kind of sudden change. As everyone well remembers, before the scandal broke out within the Order of Malta concerning the distribution of condoms in its hospitals, Francis had written a letter to the Cardinal Protector, Burke, in which he gave him very clear instructions about his duty to watch over the Order so that Catholic morals would be scrupulously followed. But when the news became public he did not hesitate to disavow His Eminence, commissioning the Order, demanding the Grand Master’s resignation and reinstating the Councillor who had been expelled precisely because he was responsible for that deplorable violation of morals.
In the case you mentioned, the Cardinal Vicar tried to defend his correctness, explaining that the order to close the churches had been given to him by His Holiness. In the most recent case of the CEI, the Communiqué issued on Sunday evening clearly had the approval of President Cardinal Bassetti, who in turn must have consulted with Francis. He disconcerted that, in the space of a few hours, St. Martha’s pulpit contradited the CEI and invited the faithful and priests to obey the government’s instructions, which is not only undue, but also a violation of conscience, harmful to the health of souls.
No one intends to expose the faithful to possible contagion, admitted and not granted that it is such a formidable eventuality; but the size of our churches and unfortunately the very small number of the faithful who normally attend them, allow safe distances to be respected both for individual prayer and for the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice or other ceremonies. Evidently the diligent legislators have not been going to church for a long time…
Let us not forget that the faithful have the right, as well as the duty, to attend Mass, to confess, to receive the Sacraments: this is a right that comes to them from being living members of the Mystical Body by virtue of Baptism. Pastors, therefore, have the sacred duty – even at the risk of their health and life itself, when required – to comply with this right of the faithful, and for this they must answer to God, not to the President of the Italian Episcopal Conference nor to the President of the Council.
In recent days, H.E. Mons. Giovanni d’Ercole has launched a stern warning to Count and the “scientific committee” in which he intimated: “You must give us the right to worship, or else we will take it back”. Strong and courageous words that seem to suggest a certain awakening in the consciences of the Pastors.
Monsignor D’Ercole spoke as a true Bishop does, with the authority that comes from Christ. Like him, I am sure, there are many other Pastors and priests who feel the responsibility towards the souls entrusted to them. But many remain silent, more so as not to uplift souls than out of fear. Precisely at this Easter time the Gospel parable of the Good Shepherd resounds in the liturgy; Jesus also mentions the mercenaries who do not care about the salvation of the sheep: let us not render in vain the divine warning and the example of the Savior, who gives his life for the sheep!
I take the liberty of addressing my confreres in the Episcopate: do you believe that, when in Mexico or Spain they closed the churches, banned processions, prohibited the use of the religious habit in public, things began differently? Do not allow the freedom of the Church to be restricted under the pretext of an alleged epidemic! Do not allow it either by the State or by the CEI! The Lord will ask you for an account of the souls who died without the Sacraments, of sinners who could not be reconciled with Him, of having allowed the faithful, for the first time in history since Constantine’s Edict, to celebrate Holy Easter with dignity. Your priests are not fearful, but heroic witnesses, and they suffer for the arbitrary orders you give them. Your faithful implore you: do not remain deaf to their cry!
These words seem to invite disobedience to ecclesiastical authority even before civil authority.
Obedience is ordered to Truth and Good, otherwise it is servility. We have arrived at such a dulling of consciences that we no longer realize what it means to “bear witness to the Truth”: do you believe that Our Lord will judge us for having been obedient to Caesar, when that means disobeying God? Is not the Christian bound to conscientious objection, even at work, when what is required of him violates divine law? If our Faith were based only on obedience, the Martyrs would not even have to face the torments to which civil law condemned them: it would have been enough to obey and burn a grain of incense to the statue of the Emperor.
We are not yet, at least in Italy, faced with the crucial choice between life and death; but we are asked to choose between the duty to honor God and worship Him, and obedience to the diktats of self-styled experts, a thousand times contradicted by the evidence of the facts.
I find it paradoxical that in this deception, which is now being revealed even to the most moderate observers of what is happening around us, the thankless task of having to bear witness to one’s own Faith before the wolves is imposed on the People of God, without being able to have their Shepherds at their side. That is why I exhort my Brothers to proudly resume their role as leaders, without camping as a pretext the observance of illegitimate and unreasonable norms. I make mine the words of Monsignor D’Ercole: “We do not need favors from you: we have a right to claim and this right must be recognized”!
Some might think that his words are “divisive” at a time when it is easy to exasperate the already proven souls of the citizens.
Unity in Faith and Charity is based on the salvation of souls, not to their detriment: neither the “interventions” of the CEI nor the smiling papal meetings with the Prime Minister, who has been granted an indulgent collaboration, which reveals connivance and collaboration. Proclaiming the truth is necessarily “divisive”, because truth is opposed to error, just as light is opposed to darkness. So said the Lord: “Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but division.” Luke 12:51
Admitted and not allowed that the coronavirus is so virulent and so deadly that it justifies the segregation of an entire people, indeed the whole world, well: at this very moment the sacraments and Mass are denied when they are most needed for eternal salvation?
From what you have said, Your Excellency, I seem to understand some of your perplexities about the nature of the Coronavirus: is it my impression or do you believe – as many doctors say – that someone wanted to take advantage of the pandemic for other purposes?
This is not the place to express my reservations about the so-called “pandemic”: I believe that authoritative scientists have been able to demonstrate what really happens, and what the masses believe, through a air-tight control of information that does not hesitate to resort to censorship to silence voices of dissent. It seems clear to me, however, that Covid-19 has provided an excellent opportunity, whether desired or not — we shall soon know — to impose on the population a restriction of freedom that is neither democratic nor good.
These are technical proofs of dictatorship, in which people are even being programmed to track people under the pretext of health and a hypothetical future resurgence of the virus. They think they can impose a tyrannical regime in which people who are not elected by anyone claim to determine what is lawful and what is not, what treatment to impose and what punishment to inflict on those who want to evade it. What is even more serious, all this happens with the support of part of the Hierarchy: if they had told us about it a few years ago, we would not have believed them.
A word of hope in conclusion?
There’s always a reason for hope, if you have a supernatural look. First of all, this epidemic has brought down many masks: those of the real powers, of the international lobbies that patent a virus and are also preparing to patent the vaccine, and at the same time push for it to be imposed on everyone, in a clamorous conflict of interest. At least now we know who they are and what they look like.
The masks of those who lend themselves to this farce have also fallen, sounding unjustified alarms and spreading panic among the people, creating a crisis not only in terms of health, but also in terms of economics and world politics. Here, too, we know who they are and what their plan is.
Finally, the mask of the anonymity of so many good people has fallen. We realized how much generosity, how much self-sacrifice, how much goodness is still around, despite everything. Doctors, nurses, priests and volunteers, certainly; but also many faceless and nameless people who help their neighbors, who bring comfort to those who suffer, who wake up from the torpor and begin to understand what is happening around them. An awakening of the good, of which the Lord is undoubtedly the author. He governs the destiny of the Church and the world, and He will not allow Evil to prevail.
Let us not forget that – as I recalled recently – Our Lady of Fatima promised Sister Lucy that before the end of time a Pope would consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart, and that this gesture of obedience would be followed by a period of peace. Let us therefore entrust ourselves, our families and our dear Italy under the mantle of the Most Blessed Virgin, trusting in Her words.
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An English Translation of the Original, entitled: Intervista a Viganò. Conte, delierio di onnipotenza indecoroso. E illegale.