Most Reverend Excellencies!
When I was a child I used frequent a lot a parish not very close to home, in Milan, and to get there I had to go through a neighbourhood, where every week there were stabbings, drug addicts who injected heroin in the street, muggings, and other dangerous happenings. Already at the age of seven, my parents made me go alone, so much so that after a mugging attempt I suffered, they had to encourage me, because I myself was afraid, although enthusiastic about the sense of freedom I was experiencing. I was coming back from shopping and other children, a little older than me, wanted to take the rest of the money from me.
One day I overheard my mum talking to some neighbours, who were amazed at this way of hers. Why wasn’t she protecting a small child from the dangerous metropolis?
I remember very well that she said: ‘This city will not improve. If he does not learn to grow in the world he lives in, he will not be able to cope with life as an adult’. It was only then, that I realised that she was actually no less afraid than I was, but had made a difficult choice for my sake.
Dear bishops, from Jesus you have received the task of administering His goods on His behalf: just yesterday, in the Novus Ordo Mass, the Gospel (Mt 25:14-30) reminded all believers, priests, and especially you, that we cannot have fear as a criterion for the administration of the goods entrusted to us.
At this tremendous moment in the life of the Church, the more you perceive the gravity of your responsibility, the more you run the risk of confusing fear with prudence. Not so much fear of dire consequences for you. Of course, unfortunately many bishops live off this fear. But I am convinced that these are not even reading these lines of mine.
The insidious risk, instead, is that of fear of creating scandal.
This fear has unfortunately not prevented the worst and most serious scandals that are driving millions of faithful away from the Holy Catholic Church.
It is necessary to look this fear in the face and grasp the lie that animates it, so as not to act like the servant who hides the talent.
The fear that allowed the bishops of the 1960s and 1970s, to fall into many traps, concocted by those who had already penetrated the ranks of the ecclesiastical hierarchy in order to destroy it, was the fear of no longer being able to transmit the Gospel. Everyone knows the famous story of the clown in the young Professor Ratzinger’s Introduction to Christianity.
The fear that afterwards prevented the bishops of the 1980s, until the early years of this century, from intervening to correct, where necessary, the members of the Catholic movements that were dragging multitudes, was the fear of alienating from the church precisely these Christians who were approaching, also because of a misunderstanding with the pope, who was evidently showing his support for these multitudes. The pope, however, was not asking to give free rein to the imagination, to throw away everything that had not been generated from scratch in those movements, but to accompany these multitudes with apostolic charity. Instead, the bishops spoke ill behind their backs, and then exploited the convenience of large numbers.
The fear that grips today’s bishops, who are beginning to realise that confusion is total, and the faithful are turning away precisely where they were under the illusion of bringing them closer, is the fear of frightening the faithful and generating division.
Of course, many other fears would need to be listed. But essentially, all the fears that animate these decades from post-conciliar to the present day, can be traced back to the fear that people will go away.
The fear of scandal.
But: is it not obvious to you, that it is precisely this fear, that has caused the faithful to lose their attraction for the church?
Can you not see that the pope, who is a friend of the world, hailed by the media, a friend of the poor, is the pope who has no one in St Peter’s Square?
Are you really like the blind man of Jericho in today’s Gospel?
Forgive my bluntness, but it is really not acceptable, not to see the facts.
In the pandemic, you were afraid that the faithful would turn away from the church, because the church was not health-conscious enough: and the result is that everywhere the masses have abandoned Mass attendance.
Open your eyes!
People today, as in the time of Jesus, as in every age of history, thirsts for the Truth!
If – in the face of a pope who surrounds himself with corrupt people, and makes them cardinals and heads of dicasteries, so that they promote sin and wink at the one religion and the plans of the powerful, – you are afraid to say that salvation is only in Jesus Christ, the true Son of God, whose Words will never pass away, then be sure that no one will follow you!
And those who use your apparent prudence to manipulate you, when they have taken a few more steps in the work of destruction, will throw you into the special refuse, as they do with the aborted children they offer to the enemy of God.
Are you afraid that the Church will split? But there is not a single parish on the face of the earth that is not already divided!
What is the use of the appearance of unity, when what for one is a sin (according to the apostolic faith) for another is a right, for another even a wealth to be exploited?
What unity can there be, when there is no such thing as true and false?
Jesus made it clear that he did not come to bring peace, but the sword. Or have you also decided to join the Queer Bible, soon to be published by the Dehoniane in Bologna?
“Do not be surprised if the world hates you,” says Jesus, “before you they hated Me” (I hope that many of you still believe that John’s gospel is authentic, and not an editorial jumble, as your seminary professors teach).
I do not know if the material means exist, to recognise the inaptitude to the papacy of Bergoglio and his magic circle, but certainly all of you are warned: if you don’t play sycophants (as unfortunately almost all of you are doing, in turning all diocesan activity into this absurd synod ballet), if you don’t propagate the 20-30 agenda, if you don’t adhere to ‘gender’ in the education of children, if you don’t support pro-LGBTQI initiatives, if you don’t persecute traditional Catholics and the Mass of all time, at the very least you will end up like Strickland.
But beware: even those who lent themselves to the game, when they said stop, were thrown out, even cardinals!
So pull the gift of fortitude out of the handkerchief you buried it with, and proclaim the truth.
The Truth that is Jesus Christ, not the Vatican II.
There is certainly no need to fall into the errors of those who through exasperation have lost control. Everyone knows that the Novus Ordo Mass, even with all its problems, is perfectly valid. So is every Mass in which the name of Francis is pronounced in the canon. We are well aware that not everything that has happened since the Second Vatican Council is necessarily bad, just as it is not necessarily good.
We know very well that the UDG (78) guarantees the validity of jurisdiction even in the case of an obviously heretical and excommunicated pope, admirably applying the principle of “supplet ecclesia” leaving no room for unresolved theological disquisitions.
The problem is not to make a revolution out of a revolution.
But be bishops!
Fulfil the mandate of Jesus!
Proclaim the Truth and do not obey orders, that are contrary to the law of God and the Tradition of the Church!
Allow priests to exercise their mission in peace!
Stop running from wolves and being afraid of backbiters!
Your fears are sadly reminiscent of today’s first reading from Maccabees. You also seem to believe that the curse has fallen on the church, because you do not follow the customs of foreigners. This is the terrible, tragic lie, that is propagated with the diabolical expression: “spirit of the Council”.
Instead: the real evil that has fallen upon the Church is unfaithfulness to the Covenant.
To the New and Eternal Covenant in the Blood of Jesus, outside of which there is no salvation.
But, as her uncle said to Esther: be sure that, even if you do not do your duty, for which the Lord has placed you where you are, salvation will come to the People of God from the Lord.
Do not let it happen to you, that you are excluded!
Lastly, I beg your pardon for the harshness of these words, but the Word of God asks us, to have nothing in our hearts against our brother, without rebuking him openly.
I am sure, I am expressing not only what is in my own heart, but what a multitude of believers try to express without often finding the proper channel.
Having received, in recent times, the undeserved gift of relative visibility, I do not want to keep this talent in my handkerchief, but spend it for the good of souls and for the Glory of God.
Yours most devoted
Don Francesco d’Erasmo,
Vice Parish Priest of the Cathedral of Tarquinia
Tarquinia, 20 November 2023, eve of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Aiutate Stilum Curiae