THIS IS HOW THE AUTOCRAT POPE TAKES FREEDOM FROM THE BISHOPS.
6 Novembre 2020
Dear friends of Stilum Curiae, the news was passed over in silence by the big press, but it was caught by those who have a pronounced ecclesial sensitivity. We had a long conversation with an old friend within the curial world and we have drawn out several points, which confirm to us that this Pontificate, born under the sign of autocracy and arbitrariness, continues undaunted on that path. It’s a real suffeing for those who believe in the Catholic Church as a place of freedom and justice. Enjoy your reading.
THE POPE CHANGES THE CODE AGAIN – Alternative Readings
By now we are used to an embarrassing level of legal “flexibility” … not only with the DPCM [the Italian government’s national COVID restrictions] but also with Motu Proprios. And in the Vatican world we are taught by the legalisms of “As A Loving Mother” [Motu Proprio of June 4, 2016] or “You Are the Light of the World” [Motu Proprio of May 7, 2019], which blow up centuries and centuries of guarantees of law and shatter those sacrosanct principles of justice that the Church had taught the world in the past. All it takes is a stroke of the pen, and the law is reshaped based on the needs of the Prince, with all due respect to the principle of legality, as historian Roberto de Mattei recalled in his July 2019 article “Il principio di legalità si estingue nella Chiesa?”.
Today, November 4, the Pope of Mercy – because the others, you know, were all ugly and bad – gives us another pearl of his extremely personal vision of the law of the Church, which seems almost to model itself on those anti-juridical tendencies which infected the years immediately following the council, which were then partly curbed by Paul VI and above all by John Paul II who in 1983 promulgated the new Code of Canon Law. We say “seems” because we doubt that the Supreme Lawgiver is fully aware of those theories, since his own vision is a purely instrumental one based on classic South American opinionated myopia.
And so, as of today, he has now published yet another Motu Proprio, Authenticum charismatis, by which the text of canon 579 of the Code of Canon Law is reformed, which up until now read as follows: “Diocesan bishops, each in his own territory, can erect institutes of consecrated life by formal decree, provided that the Apostolic See has been consulted.” (Episcopi dioecesani, in suo quisque territorio, instituta vitae consecrate formali decreto erigere possunt, dummodo Sedes Apostolica consulta fuerit.); whereas now it will say the following: “Diocesan bishops, each in his own territory, can erect institutes of consecrated life by formal decree, with the prior written permission of the Apostolic See.” (Episcopi dioecesani, in suo quisque territorio, instituta vitae consecratae formali decreto valide erigere possunt, praevia licentia Sedis Apostolicae scripto data.).
The reasoning for the change is a supposed principle of “greater ecclesiality” in line with a Rescript ex audientia with the Cardinal Secretary of State which Bergoglio himself signed in May 2016, directing that the “consultation” foreseen by canon 579 “is to be understood as necessary ad validitatem…otherwise risking the nullity of the decree of erection.”
In other words, up until yesterday, bishops had the obligation (dummodo normally indicates a necessary condition) of consulting the Holy See prior to definitively erecting an institute of consecrated life in their dioceses. But now in order to do this they not only have the obligation of asking but they have to actually obtain in writing the permission (“license”) of the Holy See, otherwise their act is null.
This may seem like a mere nuance, and indeed it could almost seem that previously a bishop had to have the approval of the Holy See before erecting a religious institute…but technically, according to canon law, this is not so. And this is not even true in theology (which is the soul of canon law), which intends the bishop, as a Successor of the Apostles, to be free to evaluate the charism of the particular instititute and inform the Holy See of its erection, but without the necessity of having a formal placet, or even worse, a written “license.”
It is curious that such a provision comes from a Pope who does nothing other than throw around words like “collegiality” “synodality” “subsidiarity” “communion” “friendship” and “brotherhood.” The same pope who gave bishops the right to judge the validity of the sacrament of matrimony – “just between us!” And yet, effectively, he is the pope who considers bishops as “his officials” (something not even Pope Boniface tried to do), so much so that he considers them liable to “loss of office” (as if being a Bishop was equivalent to being the Vicar for Youth Ministry!) if they are accused (not declared guilty, mind you) of presumed culpae in vigilando [failures in supervision]. From which naturally the Merciful One is exempt, as the Becciu affair teaches us.
But beyond this purely ecclesiological data – which confirms once again the centralizing, despotic, autocratic, self-referential vision of the enigmatic Argentine Pope – we believe there is another aspect that should not be underestimated. The new directive is actually an old one, as we have recalled, and it goes back to the Rescript ex audientia that went into effect on June 1, 2016, by which Parolin hastened to communicate that: “The Holy Father Pope Francis…has set forth that prior consultation with the Holy See is to be understood as necessary ad validitatem before establishing of a diocesan Institute of consecrated life, otherwise risking nullity of the decree of establishment of this said Institute…” because “every new Institute of consecrated life even when it comes into being and develops within a Particular Church is a gift for the whole Church, and acknowledging the need to prevent new Institutes from being established on the diocesan level that lack the proper discernment and to ascertain the true origin of each charism that would define the specific features that would receive consecration by the profession of the evangelical counsels and that would identify its scope for development, has indicated the desirability of determining its future role better, as established in canon 579 of the CIC, by consulting the opinion of this Congregation before proceeding with the establishment of a new diocesan Institute.”
Therefore, the Pope is questioning the judgment of bishops who will no longer really be autonomous using their own “native” faculty to erect an institute of consecrated life of diocesan right, but instead in order to do this they will need to wait for the Holy See to respond to them in writing saying that they may proceed. It is a form of almost police control that squelches charisms, but above all, we believe, it activates another mechanism, even more subtle, in full South American style: it prevents bishops who are perhaps not completely in line (not in “communion” – pay attention!) with the thought of Francis from being able to erect religious institutes that have charisms that are “different” from the style of this celestial Directory – oops, I mean, pontificate.
If we look, in fact, at the record, we see that the Rescript of 2016 was a response to the naive attempt by Msgr. Raymond Argüelles, Bishop of Lipa in the Phillippines, who had made himself the protagonist of the erection of a public association of the faithful called “The Brothers of Saint Francis and of the Immaculate” by means of which he was convinced of his goodness to give a home to several members of the suppressed Franciscans of the Immaculate, on whom the Blade of Mercy had already fallen. The same document also intended to block the erection of a women’s convent founded in Great Britain by the ex-claustrated sisters of the Franciscans of the Immaculate.
In our opinion, it is evident that today’s action is a further attempt to keep in check everything that is beyond control and that could constitute a danger for Catholic Church 2.0, also because it is hard to understand why, while everything is in ruin and the question that the religious superiors of the world daily ask themselves is what to do with the earthly possessions of their orders since there is an ever dwindling number of vocations and members, the Pope would decide to tighten the strings on the constitutional rules for new hypothetical realities…What’s more, it is also objectively true that only those “crazy” traditionalists could found religious institutes in this Church and this world, and certainly not progressives who, we know, support the absolute dismantling of the entire hierarchical pyramid.
And while it is feared that another sword may soon fall limiting the right to say the ancient Mass that was widely permitted by Benedict XVI with Summorum Pontificum, nothing removes from our minds the awareness that the real meaning of Authenticum Charismatis has been written with lemon juice, and that in reality it contains a deadly poison that is being injected into the relationship, which has now been de factocompromised, between papal and episcopal authority, and that adds another stone to the tomb of the Church of silence, the Church that resists by remaining in the faith of all time, the Church that is reduced to a catacombic life in order to save itself from the Praetorian guards of practical Bergoglianism, the Church that has to “play possum” as it waits for a humanly improbable, but spiritually always possible, resurrection.
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