Jesuit Spadaro at Civiltà- Cattolica Says Catholics Aren't Being Persecuted
Edit: pay no mind to the man behind the curtain.
(Rome) Fr. Antonio Spadaro SJ, one of Pope Francis' closest confidants and the head of the Roman Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica, provides an official reading of the radical measures taken because of the Coronavirus, which has strangled the sacramental life of the faithful on an unprecedented scale. In the editorial "Pandemic and Freedom of Worship" of the new issue of the magazine (issue 4078), which will be published on Saturday, Spadaro emphasizes that the months-long suspension of the Mass is "not a religious persecution" because the Church was "never closed".
It is the intention of the article, which appears shortly before the re-admission of public services in Italy, which will apply from 18 May, to defend the alliance between the state and the Church, which was almost self-imposed at the end of the day in the Corona crisis, with the Church having the unsuitable role of a state servant.
The ban on religious celebrations is "usually" understood as "discrimination or even persecution," Spadaro says. In the current case, however, this is not the case, Spadaro said. The Roman Jesuit magazine always appears with explicit permission from the Vatican Secretariat of State, with Pope Francis personally taking over the role of censor in contrast to his predecessors on articles that are important to him.
The printing permit confirms that Spadaros's reading is that of the Holy See. Spadaro becomes even clearer: "This does not seem to be the time to invoke a misunderstood 'civil disobedience'."
The Pope's confidant wants to say:
"The current restrictions are legal and acceptable from a human rights point of view. We believe that the protection of the weak and vulnerable is also very important from a religious point of view and must therefore be reconciled with the need for community and assembly. The measures are aimed at protecting human life for both believers and other members of society. it is therefore important to recognize that the prohibition of meetings, including religious celebrations, should not normally be understood as religious discrimination or even persecution."
The official, if only official, reading of the Holy See on the radical measures of secular and ecclesiastical authorities differs in essential points from the sensational appeal of Veritas liberabit vosof a group of well-known cardinals, bishops and intellectuals, including the former Prefect of the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Gerhard Cardinal Müller. In it, they expressed concern about the radical restrictions, rebuked the uncritical, even propagandistic behavior of many mass media, and expressed fears that the Coronavirus could be used as a pretext for certain forces to reach for world domination through the establishment of a world government.
Spadaro does not mention the appeal. The positions are too far apart, and the Vatican does not want to be associated with such criticism. In recent years, a great deal of time and energy has been spent to get closer to these very forces that are meant in the call. Therefore, official Rome does not even want to promote this by mentioning the concerns and concerns mentioned in Veritas liberabit vos. Their effect on the people is feared. Spadaro therefore prefers silence.
However, he also mentions criteria for the restrictions imposed because of the Coronavirus:
'However, all restrictions on fundamental rights must have a legal basis, necessary, proportionate and generally proportionate to the purpose they serve and the law they restrict. The threat of Covid-19, however serious it may be, does not free governments and parliaments from these requirements."
However, a closer examination of whether these criteria have been and will be met, the secretary of the Civiltà Cattolica only applies the state measures to a limited extent, and where he does so, this is done in agreement. Given the large number of steps taken by individual governments, it would also be difficult to discuss the situation in broad terms. However, a number of measures are similar, just as the slogans issued are largely identical, even identical. Which suggests a common handwriting. A summary assessment would therefore be quite conceivable. If Spadaro does not attempt to do so, it confirms the basic intention of the editorial.
The head of the Roman Jesuit editorial board instead refers to the measures to restrict religious freedom, which recently caused considerable unrest in Italy. Initially, in the course of the so-called "Phase 2" from 4 May, the government had also promised to re-open public services, but then categorically ruled them out. Pope Francis had to intervene to soothe the displeasure of the bishops. The government then announced that it would be re-approved by the end of May, and then it agreed on 18 May.
Spadaro also responds to this:
Voices of the "various religious communities" had wondered "whether all measures of the lockdown were proportionate. On the other hand, because of the urgency and danger, governments had to make very serious and far-reaching decisions in the short term, which put a huge burden on them in terms of responsibility." An allusion to the fact that, for example, in Italy, the Corona measures were adopted by the government by mere decree of the Prime Minister, but without law. From a formal point of view, an entire country was paralysed by a mere administrative act and a 60 million people were taken hostage by state. Spadaro does not say that, but the reference to the "administrative act" at least makes it sound ominous.
Defence of government measures
In his editorial, however, he defends the radical measures taken:
Society must be "aware that the present restrictions are mainly for the moral imperative of protecting human life and are not used for other political purposes." They are to be understood in this way and exceptions are exceptions:'except in some regrettable cases'.
The fundamental approval and moral legitimacy of the state coercive measures is the common thread of the editorial:
"While in democratic states it is always necessary to scrutinise and monitor government measures, especially when they restrict fundamental rights, this does not seem to be the right time to invoke what would be a misunderstood 'civil disobedience'."
Finally, the ecclesiastical clean bill of health follows:
"Underestimating the health authority's claims would be irresponsible," he said.
This does not include a critical questioning of the significance, risk and extent of the Corona threat. Spadaro also expresses no concern about misleading scaremongering by government officials, experts and the media, for example, by repeatedly calling corona-positive people "sick," although all previous surveys show that no more than 10 percent of those infected fall ill with Covid-19. The virus is one thing, the disease (Covid-19) is something else.
It is only after his defence of the state restrictions that Spadaro says that it is "important":
"(...) governments provide ad hoc measures to enable believers to participate in the culture, in compliance with safety conditions based on the course of the epidemiological curve. The spiritual needs of religious communities, which contribute with their values to ensuring social stability and cohesion, must not be neglected."
The creation of a precedent
Implicitly, with the editorial of Pope Francis's close confidant, the Civiltà Cattolica calls the government's drastic interventions a precedent, which means that governments will in future be allowed to ban public services in the event of "health necessity." Since fewer people have died with and from the coronavirus in many countries, including the entire German-speaking area, than in a seasonal flu wave, this could also justify a permanent lockdown in the winter half-year, which paralyzes the world in every flu season. Moreover, no severe-mortality has been detected so far, not even in Italy, which plays a central role in general perception and media coverage, although in Belgium far more people are counted as "Corona deaths", as well as in Spain, and the United Kingdom is in the process of equating with Italy.
Spadaro does not ask questions about what is so different about the that it justifies such a radically different approach. Above all, it does not ask whether the assumptions used have been true. Nor about selective information policy, including the retention of important figures by the governments of different countries, the omission of important verifications, for example through antibody testing, and the conspicuously aggressive attitude towards critics.
The editorial, which is used to support the radical state and Church measures, ends with a statement that seems to be fundamentally correct, but in the overall context free in the air:
"The Church, if it really is the same, is never 'closed'"
Text: Giuseppe Nardi Picture: La Civiltà Cattolica/Twitter/Antonio Spadaro (Screenshots)