Archbishop Luigi Negri, who was a courageous voice to the end, also in defense of the traditional rite, died on New Year's Eve.
(Rome) On the last day of 2021, New Year's Eve, Archbishop Luigi Negri passed away, a staunch fighter for the Lord. A few days before him, the homophile South African Anglican bishop and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu died. Although he did not allow himself to be cremated, he let himself be "environmentally friendly" dissolved in a potassium hydroxide solution. Pope Francis expressed "sadness" about Tutu's death, but not a single word about the death of Archbishop Negri.
Archbishop Negri celebrated his 80th birthday on November 26th. In 2005 Pope John Paul II appointed him Bishop of San Marino-Montefeltro and in 2012 Benedict XVI. promoted him to Archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio. He had experienced his spiritual formation at the side of Don Luigi Giussani and in his Community Comunione e Liberazione (CL, Community and Liberation). He has suffered greatly in recent years from the direction of CL in the current pontificate.
He who speaks clear words makes enemies. Archbishop Negri had to experience this repeatedly. The diocese of San Marino-Montefeltro is one of those small dioceses that rarely attract attention. The small Republic of San Marino is well known, but the diocese to which it belongs is largely unknown. Msgr. Negri, however, attracted attention, although he did not seek it. As a bishop, he had the church doors of San Leo, a town in his diocese, locked when a Masonic meeting was taking place there. In the Castle of San Leo there is a Museum of the Lodge Brothers, dedicated to the impostor Cagliostro, who was imprisoned there for some time. Bishop Negri wanted to prevent profanation and underline the incompatibility of Church and Lodge, which other Church representatives would like to repeal. As Archbishop of Ferrara, he then had to experience how well-founded certain worries are when there was a sacrilegious Host robbery in a church there in 2017. "During these hours I lost peace," said Msgr. Negri at the time.
Construction and destruction
In the Archdiocese of Ferrara he promoted living orders and communities that are helping to rebuild the Church. These included the Franciscans of the Immaculate, whom his predecessor had already called to the city. Archbishop Negri promoted places of Mass in the traditional rite, where he himself took part in celebrations. He had the most important side chapel in his episcopal church rebuilt as such a place of measurement and in 2014 he canonically established the old ritual priestly brotherhood Familia Christi. In 2016, on the occasion of the 4th International Pilgrimage of Tradition ad Petri Sedem, he gave the sermon at the Pontifical Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.
What is from the pontificate of Benedict XVI, only a little is left, so much has already been removed from the episcopate of Monsignor Negri by his successor, including the chapel in the cathedral church for the celebration in the traditional Rite. The Society of Priests he founded was placed under temporary administration soon after his retirement from Rome and, with the consent of Pope Francis, smashed in 2020. At that time the brotherhood numbered seven priests and 13 seminarians. They met the same accusation that had already led to the provisional administration of the Franciscans of the Immaculate: the closeness to tradition and the traditional Rite. From the point of view of Santa Marta a further complicating factor was that the Familia Christi had given refuge to former members of the Franciscans of the Immaculate.
Bishop Luigi Negri with Pope Benedict XVI. during his visit to the Republic of San Marino.
Negri himself tried to bring down progressive Church districts prematurely after the election of Pope Francis. Italian media invented a kind of conspiracy that Negri had forged against Francis, or at least wished him dead. There was no early dismissal, but no sooner had Negri celebrated his 75th birthday, which according to canon law obliged him to offer his resignation to the Pope, than he was retired by Francis.
In 2018 he took stock of the situation in the Church with his book “Le sfide” (The Challenges). With the book he threw the gauntlet to many people in the Church, for he was a man of particularly fine manners, but not of soft tones. He thought it important to call things by their names where necessary. He wrote that in the Church today, by which he meant the pontificate of Francis, “a climate of confusion” and “a climate of retribution” prevails. There are bishops, especially in the German-speaking areas, who are only "hypothetically believers". He also attested the incumbent Superior General of the Jesuit Order having an "abyss of stupidity" because of his statements on the authenticity of the Gospel.
In 2014, Archbishop Negri made corrections to the perceptions about the Crusades at a lecture evening and demanded that “Christians should regain their fighting spirit”. The inclusion of the migrants by Pope Francis in the Lauretanian litany he criticized as "political correctness". In 2018 he described mass migration and its supporters as "destructive". In a 2017 interview, he expressed doubts about the official portrayal of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation. He pointed a finger at the then US President Barack Obama and spoke of "serious responsibility inside and outside the Vatican because of the resignation of Benedict XVI."
Extraordinary Episcopal figure
Archbishop Luigi Negri (1941-2021)
Since 2012 he has been one of the editors and sponsors of the Catholic online daily newspaper La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana (NBQ), which is headed by Riccardo Cascioli. Cascioli calls him "a great friend and supporter" in his New Year's obituary:
“He was an extraordinary bishop, a witness of the presence of Christ in a society that is impoverished and impoverished by his absence."
“If one sees it through the eyes of the world, it may seem paradoxical that the news of a friend's death comes just when one is about to go into church to sing the Te Deum. But from the point of view of faith, the moment is propitious to thank God more consciously for the gift of friendship from Monsignor Luigi Negri. Friend: that seems to me to be the word that best describes this extraordinary figure of a bishop who, in his friendship with Christ, which he learned in his long collaboration with Don Luigi Giussani, developed the ability to welcome everyone who met him met his path to accompany fatherly to Christ. "
“He also did the same with Bussola, a work that he has supported and accompanied from the beginning and for as long as his health allowed it. His reflections on the Church and society have shaped the path of our newspaper; he has guided us all to recognize providence in history, to read the news from the perspective of eternal life, the task of the Church in a time of great confusion among Shepherds and refocusing on the disorientation among believers. It is no coincidence that his episcopal role model was the 'Lion of Munster', the German bishop Clemens August Graf von Galen, who vigorously denounced the brutalization of morals by National Socialism and at the risk of his life and called for God's law. "
Suffice it to look at the articles Archbishop Negri wrote in the last years of his life to see the clarity of his judgment. Cascioli calls this judgment “a beacon in this fog that has settled over Church and society”. They are an instrument that helps "hold fast to the truth at a time when lies seem to triumph everywhere".
"His only concern was to lead us to Christ so that we might recognize him in the sometimes complicated events of our personal lives."
The "rotten fruits" and a discussion that was prevented
One of his last sensational acts was the defense of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò against criticism from unexpected quarters. In June 2020, the former nuncio in the USA called for an open and honest discussion to begin about the “rotten fruits” of the Second Vatican Council. Such, according to Viganò, has been prevented, delayed and postponed at great expense for over half a century. When he was attacked by Sandro Magister, the unofficial doyen of the Vaticanists, Archbishop Negri unequivocally stood behind Msgr. Viganò: "We are rallying around you".
In May 2020 he had already signed the sensational appeal against the Corona measures by a group of cardinals and Archbishop Viganò. In it, Catholics and all people of goodwill were warned that the coronavirus was serving as an excuse for certain circles to seek world domination. Since then there has been an avalanche of orchestrated attacks against the archbishop. Their orientation can be read in the Wikipedia entry on Archbishop Luigi Negri. Anyone who takes a different opinion on Corona inevitably ends up in the barrage of paid media mercenaries. Archbishop Negri had to experience this too. He would also want to make a report personally to Benedict XVI.
At the beginning of 2020 he had Benedict XVI. write a final letter asking him "for one last gesture of charity" so that I can see you and confide in you my confusion about the sad times in which we live ". On January 24th the receipt of the registered mail was confirmed in the Vatican. A reaction from Benedict XVI. is not known. The Archbishop's wish for a “last meeting” did not come true.
The traditional blog Messa in Latino wrote on the day of the Archbishop's death:
“The year ends with the just published news of the death of S. E. Msgr. Luigi Negri, Archbishop Emeritus of Ferrara and friend of tradition. The Catholic Church in Italy and elsewhere is losing one of its clearest heads, one of the few who are still able to think and speak against the current. "
Requiescat in pace.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: NBQ / MiL
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org