1. The first action on the part of this blogger after receiving the letter from Fogler, Rubinoff LLP was to “take it to the Church.” This means that your writer went directly to Rome — to the Vatican on Tuesday, February 17, via email to a direct contact in the Secretariat of State. The request on my part was to intervene “quickly” and this request was not fulfilled. Instead, I was met with an interrogation of my “intentions” which could have been used against me. Later the suggestion was made to humbly accept it as a Lenten sacrifice on Ash Wednesday morning and “apologise” which would have been an admission of guilt for something that did not occur and would have resulted in the silencing and censoring of the blog and a refutation of my rights and duties under Canon 212 §3.
The above is a quote from the blog post of Mr Domet, Vox Cantoris, announcing the official end of Father Rosica's threat.
This sheds a rather disquieting light about what is happening in the Vatican in the Age of Mercy. A time in which when a priest threatens a blogger in the most grievous way, Vatican officials first try to stall the blogger in question and then suggests that he apologises and retreats, instead of going to Father Rosica through the apposite channel and ask him what he smokes in the morning.
It truly looks as if the bullying mentality is spread everywhere in the Vatican, making it looks like a priestly Mafia rather than an organisation devoted to the salvation of souls.
I am extremely curious now to know who exactly sent the emails in questions, and with what authority. It might throw some light about what kind of people walks around the exquisite corridors of the Vatican.
The “Gang of Eight” is going to meet again after the disgraceful canonisations of John XXIII and John Paul II.
They want to (trendy word alarm!) “streamline” the Vatican machinery, in order to better manage the continuous decline of Christianity all over the West and to be faster in issuing press releases whenever a Church is desecrated by graffiti, or naked nymphomaniacs.
In order to do so, they want to… create a new layer of administration, in the form of a “coordinator” or “moderator” (no, let's say it in Latin: moderator curiae), whose job will clearly be to add a layer of busybodying into the machinery; thus, ahem, “streamlining” it.
I have already made the comparison between the Vatican machinery and General Motors in the Fifties: a rather monstrous administrative apparatus which felt no desire to “streamline” because it just did not need to. The Vatican is no different. The expenses caused by the couple of thousand priests and prelates there are but a very small exercise compared to the immense apparatus of the Church, an organisation employing around a million only of priests and religious people of both sexes, to which the vast number millions employed by affiliated organisations like Catholic charities worldwide must be added.
If we look at reality in a cynical way, we will see that there is no need for painful cuts, merely a wish that things be cheaper and better organised. Against this, we have the fallen nature of humans, the vanity, at times even the good intentions; creating one day o new office, one day a moderator, one day a new congregation (this might be about to happen, too…).
The necessity to reduce expenses is – rhetoric aside – just not there. The Church is brutally rich and she might not have been so well off – relatively speaking – since the Renaissance. She will not be put out of any “market” if she isn't very lean. To her, efficiency is a thing that looks good in theory, and very difficult in everyday life.
Look at how effortlessly even a circus article like Cardinal Dolan can gather the huge amount necessary to restore St Patrick Cathedral – or an utter disgrace like Mahony could gather more than needed for the edification of the “Taj Mahony” – and realise that the Church has at her disposal virtually unlimited means, that she must only tap when needed in order to satisfy her every material need. By all the rhetoric of poverty, Francis knows it perfectly well.
No, there is no need to streamline anything. The human vanity, though, is still there, and her needs are strong. Francis is, by all his talk, giving the example by promoting people belonging to his circle of friends, thus showing once again that vicinity to the power is better than competence or honesty – or basic decency – every day of the week.
Be one of Francis' buddies and he will put you at the head of a bank even if you are a scandalous sodomite. Be an orthodox religious order and he will crush you no matter how successful you are.
It doesn't look like a recipe for administrative efficiency and honesty to me.
Rather, say hello to the “moderator”.
I generally ignore what appears on the internet as a result of leaks. This time, though, it is different, because the “leak” appeared on Repubblica is not a normal leak, but a very public denunciation of the intrigues going on in the Vatican.
After reading the articles on Repubblica, my impressions are as follows:
1) The Vatican leaks like a sieve. Hundreds of documents allegedly in the hands of people who even claim to want to defend the Vatican from those who leak documents! If even a part of the “hundreds” documents are in the wrong hands, this shows what once was an extremely efficient, well-oiled diplomatic machine has now become the butt of a joke. This is bad news, but we knew already the news weren’t very good on that account.
2) Cardinal Burke complains in a pleasantly outspoken way about the approval of the neocatechumenal liturgy. He says loud and clear this “liturgy” goes against the liturgical direction followed by the Pope, even after the modifications suggested by the Vatican.
This man is my hero. Please God, he will be Pope one day and we’ll see the end of a lot of this nonsense.
3) The “governance” policies of the Vatican are questionable to say the very least. Please ponder on these words of Cardinal Burke, which I give to you in their Italian original:
“Non posso – si legge – come Cardinale e membro della Congregazione per il Culto Divino e la Disciplina dei Sacramenti, non esprimere a Vostra Eminenza la meraviglia che l’invito mi ha causato. Non ricordo di aver sentito di una consultazione a riguardo dell’approvazione di una liturgia propria di questo movimento ecclesiale. Ho ricevuto, negli ultimi giorni, da varie persone, anche da uno stimato Vescovo statunitense, espressioni di preoccupazione riguardo ad una tale approvazione papale, della quale essi avevano già saputo. Tale notizia era per me una pura diceria o speculazione. Adesso ho scoperto che essi avevano ragione”
If you do not know the language of Dante, the facts are as follows:
3.1) It is the 14 January 2012 and Cardinal Burke has just received from Cardinal Bertone an invitation to take part to a ceremony on occasion of the approval (!) of the Neocatechumenal liturgy; the ceremony is scheduled for the 20 January.
3.2) He replies to Bertone that he is utterly surprised, because he had never heard that consultations had ever taken place.
3.3) He had previously received word from some people – among them a very concerned American bishop – that something of the sort might be in the making, but
3.4) He had considered this “pure hearsay and speculation”.
3.5) Only after receiving the invitation, Burke realised that the speculation was, actually, true.
This is nothing less than astonishing. As you read here, the Holy Father had signed the decree of approval on the 30 December 2011 and had not considered it necessary to inform Cardinal Burke of this; not even after the fait accompli. Nor had the Cardinal been informed by Bertone or by anyone else, which appears hardly a coincidence.
4) It gets, I am afraid, worse than this. Cardinal Burke writes his angry letter to Bertone, and lets the Pope have the letter beforehand – clearly, a polite way to say to the Holy Father “what the heck is happening here, and why am I kept in the dark?” -. Astonishingly, the Pope writes on the letter a note inviting Bertone to take account of Burke’s “very right observations”.
Of course, a Pope is free to say whatever he pleases to whomever he likes, and might even think it somewhat clever to write a couple of words of “approval” of the man he clearly chose to keep out of the loop, as one would give a sweet to a complaining child.
But frankly, if this is the way the Holy Father deals with his closest collaborators – and by reflex, the mentality going on among his troops – no one has any right to be surprised at what is happening.
On the usual Rorate Caeli (Good Lord! Where would we all be without them!?) a very interesting excerpt from an article dealing with issues of governance (or we would say: proper administration) in the Vatican.
I note in this article the mentality present in so many commentaries concerning the Vatican: the responsibility is apportioned pretty much everywhere, but where it belongs. Which is, of course, in flagrant violation of the very principles of governance that are discussed. Put in more simple words, the expression “the buck stops here” seems to be simply unknown in the Papal chambers, and never heard of in the Vatican corridors, or among Vatican commentators.
The first example of this unfortunate thinking is the “explanation” that after V II, the Vatican machinery has become more complicated, with the numerous “committees” now dealing with pretty much everything (and being effective in pretty much nothing) and the Secretary of State reduced to be an arbiter and “team manager” rather than a decider.
These discussions all forget a very important factor: reality. If the Vatican’s human dynamics are in anything similar to every other government’s on the planet (which, make no mistake, they are), the committees are there exclusively in order to be perceived as doing something whilst doing nothing, and there is no way one can become I do not say Pope, but coach of the parish football team without understanding this very clearly.
The idea, therefore, the Pope be “prisoner” of a structure he has inherited is a typical example of bad governance: those responsible are exonerated from any responsibility, whilst the problems are considered as a given, or as caused by someone else.
This is even more evident in another rather enlightening phrase of the interviewed expert, Father Levillain, in the simple assumption that it be not possible today to do what the great Pope Pius XII once did, namely: to be at the same time Pope and Secretary of State.
This astonishing utterance completely neglects another great division in everyday life, self-evident to everyone who has worked in a halfway complex organisation: the one between the talkers and the doers. The talkers are those who create – or happily live with – the committees; the doers are those who are not afraid to take responsibility, and to let all the world know they (not a committee, that is: an alibi) are in charge, and will be answerable for what they do. Pope Pius XII, a doer as few others, was a classic example. This was a man not afraid of infallibly proclaiming a dogma, just think how much time he would have had for all the committees of the modern Curia…
Another – not very savoury – aspect of the interview is the rather questionable attempt – morally as well as practically – to apportion the guilt of the undoubtedly bad governance in the Vatican to… the dead.
Please realise John Paul II died more than seven years ago: this is a longer time than any of the two World Wars, and a time long enough to completely re-do the Vatican administration not one, but several times. Besides eluding the simple problem of…reality, the argument has a huge logical flaw: if it is not in the power of a Pope to change things, one cannot proclaim anyone guilt of the present problems. If – as it is logical – it is, then one cannot blame JP II without automatically apportion the greater blame to the one who has been in charge the last seven years. The reality is, few – and possibly: no one – men on Earth have the power of a Pope: not even a President of the United States could re-mould the entire structure of his government and state apparatus without need to get consent from every possible quarter, and not even the most ruthless Middle-Eastern dictator could do so without fear for his safety and life. The Pope is the most powerful man on earth – and I mean here from a purely secular point of view – bar none, and his responsibility when the structures don’t work should be measured accordingly or, at least, not apportioned somewhere else.
The (alas: very human) reality is that whilst some are strong leaders, some saintly men and some good theologians, very few get to achieve excellence in all three fields. Pope Pius XII was an extraordinary man – a man clearly put by the Almighty in a very delicate position at a very delicate time – in that he was great in all three fields; but his successors were certainly – at least, those who lived long enough – clearly deficient in one or more of them.
Pope Benedict runs the risk of being remembered as the Pope who revoked the excommunication for Bishop Williamson without even knowing all the controversies the latter was involved in; who managed to have his most private drawers sniffed by those he trusted most; who continued to appoint extremely bad bishops to appeased the local hierarchies; and who discovered himself totally unable to act against openly heretical Bishops and/or Cardinals, because he had some sympathy for them. By all the merits of his pontificate (Summorum Pontificum comes to mind and, bigger still, the imminent reconciliation with the SSPX, certainly the crown of this papacy) one can’t say his was an example of good governance tout court, much less of strong leadership in the style of a Pius XII.
Mind, I am not saying he is a bad Pope. He is, in fact, probably as good as a Pope who lived the Council as a “conciliar father” could be. I merely find it more than vaguely questionable when it is simply assumed whenever something goes wrong the responsibility must be looked for pretty much everywhere – even in coffins – but where it most obviously lies.