Showing posts with label Roberto de Mattei. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Roberto de Mattei. Show all posts

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


Thursday, September 29, 2022

"The Way of Evil" by Roberto Mattei

"The Ways of Evil" is the name of Roberto de Mattei's new book and sheds light on actual and alleged conspiracies, plots and conspiracies of the past 500 years.

By Veronica Rasponi

A few weeks after the "Breve Trattato sulla Divina Provvidenza" ("Short Treatise on Divine Providence"), published by the Roman publisher Fiducia (158 pages, 13 euros), a new book by Roberto de Mattei has been published by the Milanese publisher Sugarco: "I sentieri del male. Congiure, complotti, cospirazioni" ("The Ways of Evil.  Plots, Intrigues, Conspiracies", 160 pages, 16 Euro).

"The Ways of Evil", the new book

The two books complement each other in a way. The "Short Treatise" attempts to prove the existence of Divine Providence, which is the manifestation of the wisdom, omnipotence and love of God in history, which faces the radical disorder that is the free creature's futile attempt to destroy the divine order of the universe. This attempt is a revolutionary process due to the social nature of man, who can join forces with his fellow human beings to do good or achieve evil, which he often does in secret. "The Ways of Evil" is a concise reconstruction of the actual or supposed conspiracies, plots and machinations of the past five centuries, carried out with the rigor of the historian. Above all, it is intended to provide a guide that is less about information and more about the criteria for orienting oneself in the dark labyrinth of evil.

The terms plots, intrigues, and conspiracies are often used as synonyms, but through their semantic and conceptual difference, they can help us better understand the occult dimension of the history of the past five centuries. While plots are collusion limited to a few people and aimed at eliminating a monarch or politician – often for reasons of power – conspiracies are broader projects of an ideological nature. The golden age of plots and political murders stretches from the poisons of the Renaissance to the 18th century. In the 18th century, with the emergence of Freemasonry, the Enlightenment, and the French Revolution, an era began in which, in addition to traditional plots, conspiracies of an ideological and political nature developed. There is a conspiratorial tradition that extends from the Bavarian Illuminati, the Alta Vendita, and communism to the present day. Many historians have proven the existence of these anti-Christian plots and brought the documents to light. The intrigue, on the other hand, is an elusive and opaque structure in which neither the identity of the actors nor the concrete modus operandi are revealed. The difference between conspiracies and intrigues is that the former belongs to the world of history, the latter to the world of fantasy. The contemporary neo-conspiracy – from the Aquarius Conspiracy to the Reptilians to the Great Reset – has nothing to do with the exploration of anti-Christian secret societies, which has always been part of Catholic historiography and apologetics, but seems to play into the hands of all those interested in the psychological, intellectual and moral destabilization of the West. Today there is a tendency to trace every event back to man according to a deterministic key, ignoring the role of Divine Providence, which allows evil but draws good from it. History, according to Roberto de Mattei, does not follow a compelling course and can change due to unpredictable events that are such for people, but not for God, because there is no coincidence and everything is regulated by Divine Providence, including the realization and failure of the plans of the anti-Christian revolution. It is God, and He alone, who supernaturally guides history for His glory and the sanctification of the elect.

"A history of humanity that ignores the heights of holiness," the author writes in the introduction to his study, "would be distorted, but equally distorted would be a story that ignores the existence of the abyss of evil. He who does not abhor evil cannot love good. And if you can't love the good you don't know, you can't hate the evil whose existence you don't suspect. That is the reason that has led me to shed some light on the 'ways of evil' after dedicating a book to Divine Providence, the supreme order of good."


Translation: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Corrispondenza Romana

Trans: Tancred


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Consistorium 2022: A Missed Opportunity

 Cardinal Walter Brandmüller laments Pope Francis' gag order for the cardinals who are supposed to advise him.

By Roberto de Mattei*

There is a relationship between grace and nature analogous to that between faith and reason. There is an imbalance when there is faith without reason or grace without nature and vice versa, but the perfect balance is not in putting these realities on an equal footing. On the contrary, it consists in bringing them into their legitimate order, subordinating nature to grace, of which the former is the premise, just as the premise of faith is the reason, but which is subordinate to faith.

This helps us understand what "spirit of faith" or "supernatural spirit" means, depending on whether we are referring to the primacy of faith over reason or grace over nature. It means not renouncing the indispensable role of reason and nature, but seeing everything through the eyes of faith and expecting even the impossible from the work of grace.

Today that spirit of faith has been lost in the Christian people, beginning with their church leaders. The spirit of faith and the supernatural has been replaced by the political spirit with which Christians claim to understand and intervene in reality through reason alone, without resorting to the decisive action of grace.

Pope Francis has repeatedly recalled that the true reformers of the Church are the saints, yet his approach to the world's great issues always appears political and therefore "worldly" rather than "supernatural" and moved by a spirit of faith. This “political” approach dominated the recent consistory, held August 29-30th in the Vatican in the presence of some 180 cardinals, which missed a great opportunity to address the serious problems afflicting the Church today. The focus of the meeting of the cardinals was officially the reform of the Curia, which is contained in the new Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium being proposed, but the Pope has prevented the cardinals from expressing themselves in joint session on this and other subjects, as it were, he muzzled them.

The consistory is a meeting of the pope with the cardinals, who according to the code of canon law (canons 349-359) are his first advisers. For at least seven years, Pope Francis has not allowed the cardinals to speak and express their opinions at this solemn gathering. Everyone had expected this to happen at the end of the August meeting, but the consistory was fragmented into language groups at the behest of the pope, paralyzing the cardinals and preventing the open and direct dialogue that last took place in February 2014.

We are reminded of this truth by an important cardinal and great historian, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, whose voice, which was not allowed to be heard in the consistory hall, echoes outside the hall. The Vaticanist Sandro Magister has allowed us to get to know them by publishing the speech that the cardinal had prepared but was not allowed to deliver.

Cardinal Brandmüller recalls in his document the function of cardinals anchored in canon law, which in ancient times found its symbolic expression in the rite of the "aperitio oris", the opening of the mouth. A rite, the cardinal explained, which “meant the duty to speak openly one's convictions, one's advice, especially in consistory. This openness – Pope Francis speaks of 'parrhesía' – was particularly important to the Apostle Paul. At the moment, unfortunately, that openness has been replaced by a strange silence. The other ceremony of closing the mouth, which followed the 'aperitio oris', referred not to truths of faith and morals, but to official secrets”.

"Today, however," Cardinal Brandmüller added, "we should emphasize the right, indeed the duty, of cardinals to speak clearly and frankly, especially when dealing with the truths of faith and morals, the 'bonum commune' of the Church. The experiences of the last few years have been very different. In the consistories - which were convened almost exclusively for the canonization processes - cards were distributed to ask for the floor and of course spontaneous interventions followed on any subject, and that was it. There was never a debate, an exchange of arguments on any particular subject. Apparently a completely useless procedure", although the primacy of the Successor of Peter in no way "precludes a fraternal dialogue with the cardinals, who are obliged to cooperate conscientiously with the pope” (can. 356). The more serious and urgent the problems of pastoral leadership, the more necessary is the involvement of the College of Cardinals”.


The cardinal, who is a Church historian, continues:

“When Celestine V wanted to renounce the papacy in 1294, recognizing the special circumstances of his election, he did so after intensive discussions and with the consent of his electors. A completely different view of the relationship between pope and cardinals was represented by Benedict XVI, who - a unique case in history - renounced the papal office for personal reasons without the knowledge of the college of cardinals that elected him. There were only 70 electors until Paul VI, who increased the number of electors to 120. This increase in the size of the electoral college, almost doubling it, was motivated by an intention to conform to the hierarchy of lands far from Rome and to honor those churches with the Roman purple. The inevitable consequence was that cardinals were installed who had no experience with the Roman Curia and thus with the problems of the pastoral leadership of the universal Church. All of this has serious consequences when these cardinals from the periphery are called to elect a new pope.”

Currently, it is like this:

“(...) many, if not the majority, of the voters do not know each other. Yet they are there to elect the Pope, one of them. It is obvious that this situation makes it easier for operations of cardinal groups or classes to favor one of their candidates. In this situation one cannot rule out the danger of simony in its various forms.”

The Cardinal's document concludes with a suggestion:

"Finally, it seems to me that the idea of restricting voting rights in the conclave, for example, to cardinals resident in Rome deserves serious consideration, while the other cardinals could share the 'status' of cardinals above octogenarian."


These are clear, unmistakable words that should make the entire College of Cardinals think.

Pope Francis' refusal to give the floor to the cardinals stems from the political and secular perspective of his pontificate. He fears that free and open discussion will weaken the exercise of his power, unaware that the truth can never harm the Church and the souls subject to Her. The spirit of faith, which is opposed to the spirit of politics, consists precisely in seeking in all things what is highest and most sublime, what is best for the glory of God and the good of souls, always looking to the commandments of the Gospel.

The alternative is between the truth of the Gospel and the power of the world. Proclaiming the truth of the Gospel does not mean talking about immigration or the climate emergency, but about the novissima- Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell - and the divine providence that governs all events of the created universe. Preaching the Gospel means using the voice of the Church to condemn sin, especially public sin, foremostly abortion and LGBT doctrines, which the world considers “civil rights achievements”. It means speaking of holiness and not of synodality, because it is from holiness and not from political mechanisms that the necessary reform (renewal) proceeds within the Church: a renewal of the people who form Her and not of Her divine ones and immutable constitution.

A cloak of silence has now fallen over the consistory. And the silence of those who should speak is the greatest punishment our Lord can inflict on His Church.

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 [Possibly English] translation:  Defense of Tradition: The Insurmountable Truth of Christ, with a foreword by Martin Mosebach, Altötting 2017 and  The Second Vatican Council. A Hitherto Unwritten Story, 2nd ext. Edition, Bobingen 2011.

Books by  Prof. Roberto de Mattei in German translation and books by  Martin Mosebach are from our partner bookshop..

Translation: Giuseppe Nardi
Image : Corrispondenza Romana

Trans: Tancred


Thursday, January 21, 2021

Antonio Gramsci and the Geneology of the Communist Party

Edit: I'm going to start copying entire essays from friendly publications to make sure they don't disappear.  The Communist Party of Italy was founded on today of all days, the day that the King of France was martyred by Illuminist revolutionaries.  Here is a very important essay by the inestimable Roberto de Mattei

 [RorateThe Italian Communist Party was founded at Livorno on January 21, 1921, as a result of a split in the Socialist Party. Its principal founders were Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937), Palmiro Togliatti (1893-1964) and Amedeo Bordiga (1889-1970) subsequently expelled and subjected to damnatio memoriae, according to the typical internal dialectic of every Communist Party.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Francis Actually Reads Blogs He Fears For His “Mental Hygiene”

 Pope Francis yesterday warned the apostolic nuncios (ambassadors) with an unusual footnote.

(Rome) "Because of the mental health", so Pope Francis assured, he does not read internet pages and blogs that criticize his administration. Yesterday, he warned the apostolic nuncios from "blogging" or "even joining groups," who are critical of him. In the same speech, however, Francis quoted just one of those websites that he says he does not read at all. Such as?

On January 16, 2018, Pope Francis met in Santiago de Chile with the Jesuits of that South American country. The main reason for the trip to Chile and Peru was the imminent Amazon Synod  as his confidant, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, explained. That was only a few days before the storm of homosexual abuse scandal in the Church began to break over Francis.

Francis also approached his confreres of the Society of Jesus SJ) about heresy allegations that had been made to him indirectly a short time before in connection with the controversial post-synodal letter Amoris laetitia. Contentwise, he did not respond to the criticism, but demanded “not to read” such websites and blogs for reasons of "mental hygiene.”

Yesterday, the Pope received in audience all the Apostolic Nuncios who are doing their diplomatic service in different countries worldwide. Their meeting, to which he called them to Rome, ends tomorrow.

In his speech  which was published only in Italian, Francis warned the ambassadors of the Holy See against criticism of his person. The head of the Church said:

"It is therefore incompatible to be a Pontifical Representative and to criticize the Pope behind his back, to have a blog or even to join groups hostile to Him, the Curia and the Church of Rome." 
The third person in which Francis spoke of himself is capitalized in the original Vatican publication. The speech was published on the official website of the Holy See and in today's edition of Osservatore Romano. It should not be forgotten that Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, a retired apostolic nuncio, criticized the current pontificate with the greatest publicity so far and called for the resignation of Francis.

When the pope quotes what he does not read out of "mental hygiene"

Remarkably, Francis quoted yesterday for the nuncios, just one of those websites, of which he - as a directive to the Jesuits (and not just them) - said not to read them. The reference can be found in footnote 14. The source quoted by Pope Francis is Corrispondenza Romana, whose founder and editor, Professor Roberto de Mattei, is one of the intellectual critics of the current pontificate.

Footnote 14: an essay by Prof. Roberto de Mattei on Corrispondenza Romana.

The Bergoglians tried to correct this  "embarrassment" immediately, first of all Il Sismografo, the digital press review hosted somewhere between the Vatican Secretariat of State and the Communications Dicastery, led by Luis Badilla, a former Chilean Minister of Popular Front Government of Salvador Allende. There, in tortuous form, an apology is sought,  cited in Santa Marta for what was considered there a scandalous "Faupax", from such an illustrious and honorable, intellectually outstanding and deeply traditional source as the historian Roberto de Mattei:
"After numerous checks and verifications, we have come to a conclusion and present it to our readers, just as this conviction has formed in our editorial staff in these hours: in all probability the Pope was not adequately informed, without complete information and not consciously aware of the very nature of the source used in footnote 14 of his speech.” 
Luis Badilla must have swept aside this formulation like the  beads of sweat on his forehead. There were "so many" references to this source that Il Sismografo felt compelled to respond in order to protect the image of the Pope. Prof. de Mattei is presented by Badilla as an "anti-Bergoglian Italian intellectual" who "in those years did not spare Pope Francis allegations, epithets, adjectives and criticisms, often morally aggressive and not very polite to the Bishop of Rome.”

Il Sismografo: semi-official press review of the Vatican.

But what did Pope Francis quote from Corrispondenza Romana? At first glance "only" the litany of humility of Cardinal Secretary of State Rafael Merry del Val (1865-1930). Francis recommends it to the apostolic nuncios, stating that it comes from a "colleague," Merry del Val, son of a Spanish diplomat, himself serving many years as a diplomat in the service of the Holy See.

However, the essay by Roberto de Mattei on the Spanish-Irish cardinal cited in the source not only includes the litany, but a tribute to the "true aristocrat" whom St. Pius X, though only 38 years old, made Vatican secretary of state.

The red cape for the close circle of Francis, however, is Roberto de Mattei, the quoted author himself: historian, university professor, like his father and grandfather, descendant of the Sicilian nobility and one of the leading figures in Catholic tradition. It was about them he wrote under the title "Defense of Tradition," a book that was published in 2017 in translation by the theologian and philosopher Wolfram Schrems and with a foreword by the writer Martin Mosebach in German and is to be regarded as a standard reference work in German. 

Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: (screenshots)
Trans: Tancred

Book is available in English.


Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Sack of Rome in 1527 is a Meditation for the Church Today

Edit: the Sack of Rome in 1527 is a terrible event, which offers both meditations if loyalty and bravery from the most noble, like the Swiss Guards:

The oath to swear in the Swiss Guards takes place every year on May 6th, in remembrance of the "Sack of Rome" in 1527.  It was then that 147 Swiss soldiers fell defending Pope Clement VII.  Today they are counted as the "smallest army in the world."  It was their valor and that of their leader, Captain Röist, who fell, even as his wife looked on, which gave the Pope time to escape to down the Borgo, a secret passageway, to the Castel Sant'Angelo and to be safe for a time from the depredations of Charles V's Lutheran and Spanish soldiery. 
They also valiantly defended the Pope on September 20th, 1870, when the Masonic armies of Italian unification breached the walls of Rome.

It also offers a meditation on the current state of the Church, as we see these events from afar this from Ludwig Pastor as cited by Roberto de Mattei:

This unlimited license to steal and kill lasted eight days and the occupation of the city nine months. We read in a Veneto account of May 10, 1527, reported by Ludwig von Pastor “Hell is nothing in comparison with the appearance Rome currently presents” (The History of Popes, Desclée, Rome 1942m, vol. IV, 2, p.261). The religious were the main victims of the Landsknechts’ fury. Cardinals’ palaces were plundered, churches profaned, priests and monks killed or made slaves, nuns raped and sold at markets. Obscene parodies of religious ceremonies were seen, chalices for Mass were used to get drunk amidst blasphemies, Sacred Hosts were roasted in a pan and fed to animals, the tombs of saints were violated, heads of the Apostles, such as St. Andrew, were used for playing football on the streets. A donkey was dressed up in ecclesiastical robes and led to the altar of a church. The priest who refused to give it Communion was hacked to pieces. The City was outraged in its religious symbols and in its most sacred memories”. (see also André Chastel, The Sack of Rome, Einaudi, Turin, 1983; Umberto Roberto, Roma capta. The Sack of the City  from the Gauls to the Landsknechts, Laterza, Bari 2012).


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Gregory the Great and Christmas in the Year 590

At the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Gregory the Great delivered his first sermon on Adventus, the coming of the Lord, speaking of the Second Coming, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as Judge.
By Roberto de Mattei *
It was in December of the year 590. One hundred years had passed since the fall of the Roman Empire in the west (476 AD). Another three centuries would pass before the Restauratio Imperii, where the re-establishment of the Christian Empire would be possible in the year 800. The Italian peninsula had been devastated by the armies of the Byzantines, the Goths and the Lombards. In the late spring, the Lombard armies, led by King Agilulf, stood at the gates of the Eternal City. Everywhere there were traces of disaster and tribulation. On the chair of Peter sat a Roman, Gregory I, the descendant of an old senatorial family. His predecessor, Pelagius, had been killed by a terrible plague raging in the city of Rome. The war, hunger, and disease plagued the country, as has happened so often in history.
On the second Sunday of Advent, at the beginning of his pontificate, the Pope delivered his first sermon on the Gospels. He described the calamity of his time and linked it with the passage in Luke 21: 25-33, where Jesus speaks to his disciple of the signs of the end times:
And there shall be signs in the sun, moon and stars, and on earth the nations will be dismayed and perplexed by the raging and thundering of the sea. 
People will die of fear in the expectation of things coming over the earth; for the powers of heaven will be shaken. 
Then the Son of Man will be seen coming on a cloud with great power and glory. 
When that begins, straighten up and raise your heads; because your salvation is near. 
And he made a similitude and said: Look at the fig tree and the other trees: as 
soon as you notice that they bring forth their fruit, you know that the summer is near. 
Similarly, you should know when you (all) see this happening, that the kingdom of God is near. 
Amen, I tell you: this generation will not pass until everything arrives. 
Heaven and earth will pass, but my words will not pass away.
The pope said:
"The Lord and our Savior, dear Brothers, announce the evils which the declining world will meet, because he will find us ready, to stop us loving them. He reveals to us the scourges that announce the coming of the End, because we fear God not in peace, so that we at least fear the approaching judgment, even under the weight of the evils that are breaking over us. The reading of the Holy Gospel, which you, brethren, have just heard was sent by the Lord just before: 'One people will rise up against the other, and one kingdom against the other. One people will rise up against the other and one kingdom against the other. There will be tremendous earthquakes and in many places plagues and famines; terrible things will happen and in the sky you will see huge signs."
Gregory the Great (590-604)
The end of the world, which the Pope called for reflection, is not only the end of history, the parousia, the second return of Jesus Christ on earth, to repay everyone according to his works, and to establish the heavenly Jerusalem. It is also the end of a certain historical epoch which is judged and punished by the Lord for their sins. In this sense, the downfall of Jerusalem is both an allusion to the end of the world and all the punishments God has always used to punish humankind: wars, epidemics, hunger and natural disasters. Any punishment is a preliminary interpretation of the Final Tribunal, and any act of faithfulness to God in times of crisis is an allusion to the testimony that the elect have given to God in the time of the Antichrist.
"We see tribulations in our day that is coming all over the country. Often we have received news from other parts of the known world of earthquakes that are destroying countless cities. We endure the plague without end. We do not yet openly see extraordinary signs of sun and moon and stars, but by changing the air we can sense that they are not far off. Before Italy was handed over to the foreign sword, we saw flaming lightning in the sky, like the living blood of the human race that was to be shed. "
Because of this terrible calamity, the Pope called for the head to be raised, the hearts lifted, and the spirit lifted to the joys of the heavenly home.
"Those who love God must rejoice and rejoice over the end of the world, for surely they will soon meet those whom they love, while the world soon passes away that they have not loved. Therefore it should not be that the believer, who urges to see God, weeps over the scourges of the world, which he knows to be destined to end among them. It is therefore written: Whoever wants to be a friend of the world, makes himself an enemy of God. So who does not rejoice over the approaching end of the world, shows to be her friend, and has proven to be an enemy of God. Those who have planted their roots of the heart in their love for her, those who seek no future life, and those who can not even imagine such a life cry for the destruction of the world. "
Gregory the Great recalled the words of the gospel:
"'Heaven and earth will pass, but my words will not pass away.' It is as if he would openly say that whatever sustains you has no endurance for eternity, while all that is seen passing by remains the same and unchanging, as my passing word pronounces truths that remain and without change. Therefore, my brothers, we experience the fulfillment of what we have heard. The world is being driven down every day by new and greater evils. You yourself can see how many there are left of an innumerable population. Every day we are plagued by new scourges, sudden suffering oppresses us, new and unforeseen catastrophes plague us. Therefore, my brothers, do not love this world, which you can see will not last long. Keep in heart the apostolic commandments with which the Lord admonishes us by saying: Do not love the world and not the things of this world! If one loves the world, the love of the Father is not with him. "
The Pope recalled how a few days earlier in Rome some ancient trees had been knocked down by a cyclone:
"We have to keep in mind that the invisible judge, in order to put these things into practice, moved the breeze of a gentle wind and from a single cloud igniting a storm that shook the earth and numerous buildings to their foundations, so that they were almost made ruins. So what will this Judge do when He Himself comes and His wrath is inflamed in the punishment of sins, when we are unable to bear it when He met us through a harmless cloud? Paul says, looking at the strictness of the judge who is about to come: it is terrible to fall into the hands of the living God. Therefore, dear brothers, keep that day in mind, and what seems grave to you now will be easy for you in comparison. What shall we say of the terrible events of which we are witnesses, if not that they are messengers of the future wrath? It is necessary to see that the present ones are distinct from that extreme tribulation in proportion as the power of the heralds differs from that of the Judge. So remember, dearest brothers, with the utmost attention to that day, change your life, change your behavior, conquer the temptations of evil with all your strength, and punish the sins committed with your tears. You will recognize the coming of the Eternal Judge at the right moment the more you prepare yourself for it today in fear of its severity."
With these words, the Holy Pope Gregory the Great prepared the citizens of Rome in December 590 for Christmas. This is how many of the greatest shepherds spoke in the darkest ages of humanity. Their voice penetrates from a distance to us like the light of a distant star illuminating the darkness of the night, proclaiming in our hearts and in society, the birth of the Divine Savior.
* Roberto de Mattei , historian, father of five, professor of modern history and history of Christianity at the European University of Rome, President of the Lepanto Foundation, author of numerous books, most recently in German translation: Defense of Tradition: The Insuperable Truth of Christ, with a foreword by Martin Mosebach, Altötting 2017. (Not available in English yet)
Translation: Giuseppe Nardi 
Image: Wikicommons / Corrispondenza Romana
Translation: Tancred

Thursday, November 16, 2017

De Mattei: Friendly Criticism of Rocco Buttiglione’s Theses

Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
November 15, 2017

[Rorate Caeli] I have known Rocco Buttiglione for more than forty years. Both of us were assistants to Professor Augusto Del Noce (1910-1989) at the Faculty of Political Science at La Sapienza University in Rome, but since then our positions have diverged, mainly regarding our judgment on modernity. Buttiglione believed that the historical process inaugurated by the French Revolution was compatible  with Christianity, but I believed it incompatible.  Despite these differences, I appreciated Buttiglione’s work as Minster of National Cultural Heritage in Berlusconi’s government (2005-2006) and expressed my solidarity with him in 2004 when he didn’t attain the nomination as European Commissioner as a result of having called homosexuality “a sin”.  I refer to all this in order to show my sincerity in my “friendly criticism” of his theses, just as Buttiglione is truly sincere when he argues with Professor Seifert, his “life-long friend” in his most recent book (Friendly Responses to the Critics of Amoris Laetitia, which included an essay introduction by Cardinal Gerard Ludwig Müller, Ares, Milan 2017, p. 41).

The volume recently published has 200 pages, divided into four chapters. There is nothing in it that Buttiglione’s readers don’t know.  The chapters are in fact made up of essays previously published in several places, between 2016 and 2017. This explains the numerous repetitions, which, nonetheless, aid in a better understanding of his basic thesis: the possibility of admitting the divorced and remarried to Communion, since  in certain cases, “even if the acts are illegitimate” , people “may not fall into mortal sin because of the absence of full knowledge and deliberate consent” (p.172).

I have already had the occasion to criticize this position (see here: Additionally, in order to justify it, Buttiglione introduces a fallacious distinction between “grave sin”, “specified by the object (by grave matter)” and “mortal sin”, “specified by the effects on the subject (it kills the soul)”. He writes “ all mortal sins are also grave sins, but not all grave sins are also mortal. It may happen in fact that in some cases grave matter has not been accompanied by full awareness and deliberate consent.” (p. 173).