Saturday, July 4, 2020

Two Blows For Pope Benedict: The Death of His Brother and His Household Staff Will Be Placed Under a Commissar

The four Memores Domini, who manage Benedict XVI's  household in a 2014 photograph.
(Rome) Pope Francis places the next community under provisional administration. He appointed a Jesuit as Commisar. In Rome, some speak of a "sneaky" move because it concerns Benedict XVIWhat happened?

On the same day, however, his nine-year-old predecessor surprisingly traveled to Bavaria. Benedict XVI left his chosen retreat in the Vatican Gardens for the first time in seven years to visit his older brother Georg, whose health had deteriorated. The eighth German Pope returned to the Vatican after four days. Msgr. Georg Ratzinger died on July 1 at the age of 96.On June 18, the incumbent head of the Church announced that he would continue to insulate himself from Corona. Francis doesn't want to engage in any foreign travel. All pastoral visits that were already planned or in preparation were canceled without replacement. It is currently unknown whether and when they will take place.

The Commissar for the Memores Domini

Hardly had he returned to the monastery Mater Ecclesiae, that Benedict XVI. received a surprise that is as unusual as it is unpleasant. The Memores Domini Community, whose sisters live with him in the monastery, manage the household and look after him, was placed under the Provisional Administration by Pope Francis.

The origin of this community goes back to 1964 by Don Luigi Giussani (1922-2005) who founded the Student Youth Movement as one of the various communities which developed at the end of the 60s from Communion and Liberation (CL). The community is aimed primarily at academic youth.
1981 were Memores Domini, a name that is difficult to translate into English, because it means those who are mindful of God.  They are canonically recognized by the Bishop of Piacenza as an association of faithful. 1988 was followed by recognition of their pontifical right by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
As the successor to Don Giussani, the Spaniard Don Julián Carrón has led the community since 2005. CL's German website states:

“The Memores Domini Association (…) includes members of CL who follow a vocation of total devotion to God and at the same time want to live in the middle of the world. They see their work as a place of Christ's memory and mission. They follow the evangelical counsels - poverty, virginity and obedience - and thus follow the tradition of the Church and what Don Giussani taught. The Memores Domini live together in 'houses', the aim of which is to educate each other to the memory of Christ. ”

The relatives commit themselves to a communal life according to the Evangelical CouncilsThey are constituted in separate houses for men and women. Admission takes place after a novitiate of at least five years by the professorship. The rules include “silence, personal and shared prayer, poverty, obedience and charity”.

The Memores Domini today has around 1,600 members and 400 candidates. They are represented in 32 countries, including 13 in Europe.

The first Memores Domini came in 1986 at the suggestion of Prince Nikolaus Lobkowicz in the German-speaking world, the then rector of the Catholic University was. Today there are community houses in Eichstätt, Munich and Cologne.

Benedict XVI's "family"

Benedict XVI leads a small community of four Memores Domini, Loredana, Carmela, Cristina and Rossella. already part of the papal household during his pontificate, and later formed the Papal Family  together with the two secretaries of Pope Benedict XVI. As Benedict withdrew to the Vatican Garden, he brought the four consecrated women with him. Pope Francis completely foregoes a papal household through his life in the Vatican guest house Santa Marta.

Of the consecrated women who serve Benedict XVI. hardly anything is ever heard. They do their work in silence. The only exception was in 2010 when one of them, Manuela Camagni, was hit by a car in the streets of Rome and killed. Pope Benedict XVI spoke to Angelus about the service of the hardworking hands that surrounded him and for which he was grateful. Manuela was 56 years old. At the age of 26 years she entered the Community of Memores Domini. She had served in the Episcopal Ordinariate in Tunis before the 2005, several years before she was sent to the papal household.

The same day that Benedict XVI. received the news of the death reached his brother, with whom he had been ordained a priest on the same day in 1951, the Vatican expert Aldo Maria Valli revealed that Francis had placed the community of Memores Domini under provisional administration. The corresponding decree comes from the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, which had been established by Francis in 2016, in which the Pontifical Council for the Laity is, and to which the Community reports as a lay Association.

Francis has appointed Jesuit Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda, who until his retirement, was a professor of canon law at the Roman Jesuit University GregorianaHe is to perrform the "revision process" for the statutes of the Memores Domini.

The decree and the subpoena

The leadership of the community, elected for a five-year term in 2018, was summoned to read the papal decree on June 26 in the presence of Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Roman Dicastery. Present were Antonella Frongillo, the President of Memores Domini and board members and managers of some houses of the same. Father Ghirlanda was also present, outlining the line of his action.

As is customary in such cases, the reason for the papal intervention can only be guessed at. Cardinal Farrell said in the summons that some of the statutes had to be changed, but despite a corresponding announcement by the chair in May 2018, the Vatican had no concrete proposal. For this reason, the dicastery decided "in agreement with the Pope" to appoint P. Ghirlanda as papal delegate, so that he would "lead the revision process of the directorate and the statutes". The cardinal let something through: Part of the duties of the de facto Commissar was also to "fix some problems that were reported to the dicastery".The decree criticizes the dual function of Don Carrón as superior of CL, who is also the spiritual assistant of Memores DominiThere is a lack of the necessary separation between the leadership function and spiritual guidance, which affects the conscience and freedom of the individual.
On June 2, Pope Francis wrote a letter to the chairwoman, according to Cardinal Farrell, to "keep watch over the good practice of the charisms." Almost identical words had taken the Pope on March 7, 2015 when he received the whole of the community leadership Communion and Liberation (CL) and tens of thousands of its members on the occasion of its 60th founding anniversary on St. Peter's Square. At that time, the choice of words was a reproachful reference to the “danger of self-centeredness”. It was previously known that the conservative community was not among the Argentine Pope's preferred groups. "Francis did not approve of the founding charism of CL, but put it on the index," said Vaticanist Sandro Magister at the time.

Only as the Archbishop of Buenos Aires did he maintain close contacts with the so-called Roman Community. Andrea Tornielli, the house and court Vaticanista and now editor-in-chief with coordination and guidelines for all Vatican media, comes from this circle of just six people. Nevertheless, the harshness with which Francis admonished the community in March 2015 was surprising. He literally accused CL of stifling the fire and extinguishing the embers:

"Don Giussani would never forgive you if you lost your freedom and turned into a museum guide or admirer of the ashes."

Obviously, the problems “were not resolved from the Holy See's perspective,” said Aldo Maria Valli.

The identity crisis

The papal delegate P. Ghirlanda has been given all powers to take charge of the community. He himself said in his speech that the Holy Spirit is the Church and "not only given to members of an association", which is why the revision of the statutes is "fully responsible to the Church". He named Christ, the Church and the founder as points of reference for the revision, but "just as fundamental" were also "the spiritual experience" that the members lived and live as a point of reference.

“It is what makes the charism alive and able to respond to the different situations in society and the Church. And only through the members does the charism live on in time. ”

In what in detail Pope Francis and the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life may be objecting, the fact is that Communion and Liberation (CL) is in a difficult situation, with the death of its founder, Don Luigi Giussani,  who died in the same year as Pope John Paul II,  they were at a conclusion, but this became unmistakable under Francis. Giussani's successor, Don Julián Carrón, could not really fill the gap. With the choice of Francis and the resulting shift in coordinates, the compass got a little confused. The disorientation was most evident at the Rimini meeting, a major event organized annually by the community. Dilution and political correctness were objected to. This was seen as an unmistakable signal for identity problems.

It is doubtful, however, that the brusque intervention of the Holy See should serve the original, controversial charisma that characterized and distinguished CL especially in the late 70s and 80s. Don Giussani said in the tough years of the student protest after 1968 that led to the loneliness of Paul VI. that CL would have to get to the point where it would be possible to fill St. Peter's Square on its own and to rally around the Pope if everyone else let the representative of Christ down. This has been working without problems for some time, as was last demonstrated on March 7, 2015. Pope Francis was not impressed by what was thought of by Don Giussani as allegiance to the Church's external enemies,as his harsh criticism of the assembled community showed.

The signs have changed under Francis: As a conservative community, CL is in an almost insoluble dilemma, a kind of identity trap, when it tries to pander. There are quite a few who no longer recognize CL as what Don Giussani wanted. The mental tension that once gave rise to numerous initiatives seems to have waned. This fact takes into account the current Church leadership, but hardly with the intention to use the justified criticism for a renewal in the spirit of Don Giussani, as former leading CL representatives fear. "Can the fox give the chickens tutoring in self-defense?" As it is said in Rome.

P. Ghirlanda made one thing clear to the Community Superiors of Memores Domini: It needs "docility" which requires "a lot of humility" for the upcoming process. It is about "distinguishing what comes from the good spirit and what comes from the evil spirit", which "often disguises himself as an angel of light".
In Rome it is speculated that the four Memores Domini who work for Benedict XVI could also be affected by the dispatch of a Commissar, run the household and live with him in the monastery Mater EcclesiaeThere is concern that, on the pretext of provisional administration, they could be withdrawn and replaced by others whose obedience is to an alien entity.

Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: MiL
Trans: Tancred



Jimmie said...

I’m waiting for more info on this before I form an opinion. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Anonymous said...

What's the name of the Priest who offered his Brother's Requiem Mass?

Anonymous said...

Can we say that just on the face of it, especially atop Rome’s cruelty around his brother’s death, and absolutely cognizant of the immense internecine war re who is/is not the Pope, who is/is not in continuity/discontinuity, etc etc etc..... this comes across as a highly manipulative salt-in-the-wounds act of Bergolio’s. Smarmy “for your own good” language being cruelly used to twist the knife in the heart of an old man, in a bid to crush and assert ultimate power over him and all he loves.

Anonymous said...

Pope Francis will get his reward very soon. Don't be surprised if he's suddenly struck with something, and Benedict XVI winds up surviving him. Malicious acts like this, done with bad intent, always backfire on the one who perpetrates it.

Damian M. Malliapalli

Anonymous said...

As much as I think this was done to Benedict XVI with bad intent by Francis and his people, these 4 women just look like the usual aging,progressive layclothes nuns that unfortunatly have become more the norm than the exception in the Church. If I'm not mistaken, this group represents a very small "order" of women who are not really nuns at all, even though they are always labeled as such.
I think I read it when Benedict XVI first moved into the Mater Ecclesiae monastery at the Vatican. I think they are maybe women who take "simple vows", but are not real nuns. Maybe that it why they are being investigated. Regardless, they have all the markings of the usual progressive Order of nuns.....aged members, no habit, etc.

Damian M. Malliapalli

Anonymous said...

"The Memores Domini Association is for people belonging to the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, who follow a vocation of total devotion to God by living in the world and practising the Evangelical counsels with personal and private commitment as their purpose".

Copied from their own website......Iknew I was correct. These are not nuns, they are just lay people affiliated to Communiion and Liberation (which I think is a progressive group founded in the wake of VAtican II). That alone makes them suspect. I think maybe the Vatican doesn't like these people passing themselves off as nuns....or being called nuns by the press, etc. when they are just lay women. Communion and Liberation movement, either for men and women, is not our accepted model of orthodox,traditional Catholicism anyway.

Damian M. Malliapalli

Anonymous said...

All that about The M.D.A. could be true. And I'm not in favor of it. Nor their birthplace C&L. But the truth is these women have been with Ratzinger a very long time, are rather like consecrated virgins, live very plain lives, and one was killed not too long ago crossing a street in Rome, circumstances not sure. M.D.A. is considered 'conservative' (whatever that means these days), and have weakened with the death of the founder. Two things can be true, that is, yes, not a religious order per se but not exactly a coven either, and on a human level at least it is very cruel to take from an old man those who have cared for him for so long. I work with the elderly. Nothing means more to them than those who they can be truly vulnerable with. I look at this much more as a sign of Bergolio's mad power trip and putting it to B16, the machinations of desperation around a failed 'papacy' and really not at all about concern for anything else. If he REALLY had concern about these women, hell, what has he been doing for the last 7 years about it? Ugh. Cannot read hearts, but you'd treat an old dog better. MEAN in the meanest way.

Anonymous said...

"MEAN in the meanest way." That's our Pope Francis!!!!

He has such a reputation for that, that the NY Post Newspaper ran an article of Francis bad-mouthing traditional priests who wanted to keep up Mass and the Churches open during the COVID-19 in Italy and elsewhere, and this newspaper, not know at all as conservative, labeled Francis "The Prince of Dis" other words , the Prince of Insults. They meant it as an insult to Francis (they were sticking up for the Trad priests). For the NY Post to trash Francis and stick up for traditionals shows just how bad this Bergoglio really is. May his "reign" be over soon......any which way God wants.

Damian M. Malliapalli

Tancred said...

CL has some problems, but I have a hard time finding fault in Giussiani’s intent and general ideas about life and religion. Perhaps I need to find more out about them, but as lay associations go, it’s not too bad. I certainly like it a whole lot better than the Paulists.

Anonymous said...


DonnaLiane said...

We can always hope!

DonnaLiane said...

I cant see anything bad in want they are doing, either, Tancred. The issue is more the pontifical interference which seems to have run very high lately to destroy groups of people who only wish to live their faith well! But he can’t touch those not formally associated with an approved group. Makes me v glad I never joined one!!

Tancred said...

Saint Johns Abbey at Collegeville needs a visitor, but it’s too high in the esteem of Institutional Leftism.

Anonymous said...

The Paulists! Anyone who wants to cheer the decline of once standard flagbearers for liberal Catholicism of the 1960's that destroyed our Faith, do a little research of these guys like I did. They were, before Vatican II, a small, but flourishing Ordere with a robust intake of seminarians each year. They were very involved in the early media of the late 1950's and very early 1960's, producing several excellent Sunday morning TV shows that were carried by major USA TV networks (CBS I believe). This is when national TV (the big three, ABC, NBC, and CBS actually had Christian TV programs broadcast on Sunday mornings. My Mom's parents remembered shows like "The CHristophers" (Paulist productions), and other Christian shows on national TV such as "Look up and Live" and "Lamp unto my Feet" (basiclaly Protestant shows), as well as the great Archbishop Fulton Sheens' "Life is worth Living" sho which was the most popular of them all.
Do you think the "Big Three" would broadcast shows like that today? No way!
But the Paulists were a very fine Order,almost a tiny version of the Jesuits, until the disaster of Vatican II. Never a large Order (350 tops in the mid 1960's), the bought big time into the radical dissident rot of Vatican II, and declined to what they are today, barely 100 members, still flagbearers of Vatican II and the garbage of Pope Francis.
The one good thing out of all this, is that across the board, all the once great religious Orders which threw out their traditions, habit, and lifestyle to buy into Vatican II are all without exception, dead Orders with a supremely aged membership. I did research just yesterday for a priest friend on an Order of nuns which once was great, but for the last fifty years became increasingly radical and femminist....the standard model fornuns today. They had a page highlighting their elected leadership......six sisters who all entered their Order either in the very early 1960's, and two in 1956....which means that given their age at entrance (anywhere between 18-21), they are now each either over, or close to 80. THat's as "young" as most of these radical Orders get. Which is a good thing. Within 5-10 years, they will be gone. So will Francis and his vision for the Church.
The sad thing is that is was all so unnecessary. Just think how many members, and how successful, all these dead Orders would be today, if Vatican II had never happened. Given their rate of intake from before Vatican II , the Paulists would probably have now 1,100+ members now......and Orders like the giant Jesuits (36,100 before Vatican II), could concievably have over 60,000 today.
It's great that these rad Orders like the Paulists are disappearing rapidly, (and the Orders of nuns who are likewise), but immeasurably sad, when you think how they might have expanded and grown, had Vatican II and all that came from it never happened.

Damian M. Malliapalli

Tancred said...

The Paulists were Americanist heretics from day 1 and their chapter house in DC was once described to me by a friend who went to school with a Paulist, as a gay frat house where they lived in semi-luxury with Latin American maids and a fridge full of coke products.

You don’t think they just suddenly went to Hell after 1963 do you?