Thursday, July 4, 2024

The Latest Developments in the Viganò Case -- What to Make of them?

Edit: amazing! Roberto de Mattei disavows Rorate. They usually translate his pieces, and I was wondering why they didn’t translate this. Veddy iiiiinteresting!

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò is on trial in Rome, not for his criticism of Pope Francis, but for his refusal to recognize him as Pope, warns historian Roberto de Mattei.

By Roberto de Mattei

In recent weeks, certain facts and "non-facts" have been the focus of attention on Catholic social media. The facts actually happened, the "non-facts" are hypothetical and exist more in the imagination of blogs than in reality.

A first non-fact is the existence of a document that would prohibit or restrict the traditional Mass. This document, first mentioned by Rorate Caeli and then thoroughly investigated by Messainlatino, seems to have been lying in a drawer of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, perhaps for over a year, without Pope Francis ever having expressed any intention of signing it. It would perhaps be better at this point to discuss it only when the document is taken out of the drawer.

Another non-fact is the possibility of episcopal ordinations without papal mandate by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X. This hypothesis was expressed by the superior of the French district of the Fraternity, but the Superior General of the Institute, Father Davide Pagliarani, explained at the meeting of the Mouvement de la Jeunesse Catholique de France held in Chateauroux on 29 and 30 June that this initiative, although it cannot be ruled out a priori, is not currently on the agenda. So here too it is better to speak about it in due course.

The fact that deserves the most attention, however, is the initiation of an extrajudicial procedure against Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. The main accusation is that he has broken communion with the Church of Rome and has committed the crime of schism. The news was announced by the Archbishop himself on June 20 on his X‑account and the following day in a statement in which the former Nuncio to the United States declared that he would not take part in the trial against him. On June 28, in a harsh document against Pope Francis entitled "J'accuse", Monsignor Viganò declared , among other things: "Before my brothers in the episcopate and the entire body of the Church, I accuse Jorge Mario Bergoglio of heresy and schism, and as a heretic and schismatic, I request that he be condemned and removed from the throne which he has unworthily occupied for over eleven years. This in no way contradicts the saying Prima Sedes a nemine iudicatur, for it is clear that a heretic, unless he is in a position to assume the office of Pope, is not above the prelates who judge him."

Since last year, Monsignor Viganò had publicly stated that, in his opinion, the See of Peter was occupied by a usurper, but with his J'accuse his position becomes clear and official. For this reason, he declares: "I do not recognize the authority of the Tribunal that claims to judge me, nor that of its Prefect or those who appointed him." His decision not to appear in court confirms the accusations made against him, of which he is proud, declaring: "I consider the accusations made against me an honor" (statement of 20 June).

Some people point out that the severe measures announced against Bishop Viganò do not represent the same severity as those who are notorious spreaders of heresy, such as some German bishops. But the German bishops, who are adopting the strategy of modernism, which requires fighting against Rome by remaining within Rome's walls, are careful not to deny the Pope's authority publicly. They certainly deserve to be condemned, but how can one demand their condemnation if Rome fails to condemn those who reject its authority not only in fact but in principle?

Some compare the case of Msgr. Viganò with that of the French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. The difference between the two cases is, however, obvious. Msgr. Lefebvre never denied the authority of Rome. After the first condemnation of Ecône's work by the Bishop of Fribourg in May 1975, it was Msgr. Lefebvre himself who, faced with this abuse of power, asked that his case be judged by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. On January 28, 1978, Cardinal Šeper, Prefect of the Holy Office at the time, sent Ecône a large document and asked Msgr. Lefebvre to respond. The French Archbishop maintained a voluminous correspondence with the Holy See and the results of the investigation were published in May 1979 by the journal Itinéraires and then appeared in German translation under the title "Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and the Holy Office" ( Mediatrix Verlag, Vienna 1981). Reading these documents is extremely revealing, not least in order to understand the position of the French Archbishop who, in his last letter to Cardinal Šeper on 29 January 1979 , entrusted, to who by then was already John Paul II. Archbishop Lefebvre then accepted the visit of Cardinal Gagnon, whom the Pope sent as the seminary of Ecône in 1987.  A friend and confidant of Cardinal Gagnon, the priest Charles Theodore Murr, testifies that the Canadian cardinal's report praises the SSPX and in particular the curricula of Ecône (Preface to Kennedy Hall: The Defence , Augustinus Press, 2023). On the eve of the episcopal ordinations in Ecône on June 30, 1988, there were intense negotiations between Msgr. Lefebvre and the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.

Many of Msgr. Viganò's admirers, who reacted to the news of the trial by approving of the Archbishop because he "speaks as clearly as Msgr. Lefebvre,"  unlike other shepherds who today remain silent in the face of the deep crisis in the Church, are missing the point. The issue is not Monsignor Viganò's criticism of Pope Francis, which is justified in some points, but his declared desire to break off any form of communion with him and the Roman See.

Furthermore, one cannot limit oneself to such a serious and radical act by simply announcing it in a communiqué, without giving it a valid doctrinal basis. The reference to the Bull Cum ex apostolatus officio of 15 February 1559, in which Paul IV states that a heretic, even if elected, is not entitled to authority, is extremely weak. That Bull only teaches that a Pope can be admonished unless it is proven that he was already a heretic at the time of his election. Was Cardinal Bergoglio one? That must be proven. Does the "vitium consensus" of which Msgr Viganò speaks correspond to the "Cassiciacum thesis" of Msgr Guérard de Lauriers, who belongs to the Institute Mater Boni Consilii ? Whether or not this is the position of Msgr. Viganò, it would have to be supported by thorough theological, canonical and ecclesiastical historical studies, which are not available to date.

But there is another aspect, even more decisive. In the current turmoil of the religious crisis, it is not possible to survive spiritually without the special help of grace that comes through the sacraments, especially the most common in daily life, such as Communion and Confession. Who are the priests to whom one should turn, according to Monsignor Viganò, to receive the necessary spiritual nourishment? It seems that not only the institutes related to the former Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei are excluded from his horizon, but also the Society of St. Pius X, which usually prays Pro Pontifice nostro Francisco.

And here we come to the final question: where is the Catholic Church for Monsignor Viganò? Not the virtual Church to which many zealous readers of traditionalist blogs adhere, but the real Church, visible in its unchanging doctrine, in its uninterrupted apostolic succession and in the life imparted by its sacraments. Without this visible Church, which is the mystical body of Christ, the soul suffocates.

Shakespeare said, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players" ( As You Like It, Act II, 7). There is a profound truth in these words, but the world's stage is not a blog, for the fate of the people who play on it is a drama. At stake is their eternal life.

* Roberto de Mattei, historian, father of five children, professor of modern history and history of Christianity at the European University of Rome, chairman of the Lepanto Foundation, author of numerous books, most recently in German translation: Defense of Tradition: The Invincible Truth of Christ, with a foreword by Martin Mosebach, Altötting 2017, and The Second Vatican Council. A History Unwritten Until Now, 2nd expanded edition, Bobingen 2011.

You can purchase books by Prof. Roberto de Mattei on

Translation/Footnote: Giuseppe Nardi 
Image : Corrispondenza Romana/Wikicommons
Trans: Tancred vekron99@hotmail.clom



Dan said...

Vigano has been excommunicated by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Anonymous said...

Who could have seen that conning?

Anonymous said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: "Sede don't pay-pay".

Many more people and publications will drop him.
Even his buddy Tay-Tay will start mentioning him less and less.

Anonymous said...

Maybe because Sedes don’t make good content?

Anonymous said...

Many of them do.

Anonymous said...

Another in the growing corpus of kosher supremacy literature by deMattei. Fans of Rorate and the Ukraine war can expect a new essay about the dangers of anti-semitism from deMattei soon.

Tancred said...

Lots of TFP guys are good, but I was shocked to find out how many are Kosher. It’s very sad!

Tancred said...

The Dimonds must do OK.

Anonymous said...

What is a "TFP guy"?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Prof. Roberto de Mattei is lives in a back yard echo chamber.

Anonymous said...

"The Dimonds must do OK".

If you consider living in a double-wide, stuck in the sticks of upstate New York for the last 25 years is doing "OK".

Tancred said...

@2:01 I’ve known people who are worth millions “stuck” in double-wides and utility sheds. The location of Holy Family Monastery is absolutely beautiful and they live in what looks like a farm with several buildings, so it’s hard to tell if they own all of the buildings there or not.

I’ve heard from a reliable that they had Mater Ecclesia in New Jersey hoarded out pretty good from when they were there. That’s not a good sign, but who knows!

Tancred said...

12:46 am, assuming you’re not Gaybrielle, Prof Mattei is a prolific writer, teacher and can put a hundred thousand on city streets in Italy for Pro-Life marches.

That’s a pretty big echo chamber.

Anonymous said...

I see that Thug Gordon has ditched Vigano.

Anonymous said...

Lest one forgets, he along with Rorate Caeli pushed the deathvaxx. Mea culpas? Don´t hold your breath.