The disastrous episcopal appointments of a Church that despises and destroys talent to make ideology prevail


Nhe 1960, while in the United States there was racial segregation between blacks and whites, abolished only 4 years later from Civil Rights Act, in Rome, the Tanzanian Laurean Rugambwa, newly elected cardinal, dressed in purple with ermine and cappa magna, he received a kiss on the knee from members of the most ancient pontifical nobility. Does the Holy Father Francis know these edifying pearls of history linked to a Roman curia kissing the hand of a black cardinal while in the United States blacks were not even allowed to ride public transport?



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Take parish priests with consolidated experience and promoting them to the episcopate would not in itself be wrong, because what they vitally need the many small, but also in medium-sized Italian dioceses there is the figure of a bishop with pastoral experience, who knows how to deal with his priests and welcome and guide the portion of the flock of the People of God entrusted to him. But being a parish priest, or have been, It's not a guarantee at all, because the bishop is required to have a particular thoroughness that few parish priests have, especially those who, in order to reach the episcopate, managed to sew on themselves the “fortunato” curriculum of "frontier priest" or "periphery", essential and decisive under this pontificate. The Bishop must first of all know how to govern his priests with authority and authority, confirming them day after day in faith (cf.. LC 22, 31-34) then drive in a decisive and credible God's People.

Cardinal Laurean Rugambwa, archive photo, Vatican CITY,1960

Bishops must avoid the attitudes of the spineless who, in order to please everyone and not displease anyone, create situations of self-destructive paralysis, because in fact they do not govern their particular Church and let arrogance govern it, quarrels and priests arbitrarities divided among themselves, where light is only the arrogance of the strongest in the time that you are placed in the right places after collecting the worst weapons of blackmail. Priests in some dioceses, although representing a small number of three or four elements, they put three or four bishops in check and silenced one after the other, after making them understand that they had in hand instruments of blackmail both on the moral side both on the economic side to blow up an entire diocese, with all the implications of a criminal nature in the event that certain information reached the competent civil and criminal judicial authorities. And not a few Italian bishops, in such situations, They remained with their beautiful pastoral in his hand used solely as Liturgical trinket to do done anything, or rather yes, to only be extras on the theater scene.

The bishop must be a master of doctrine. And here note that I did not say an excellent theologian, but a master of doctrine, able to teach and if necessary enforce compliance with the Magisterium of the Church which the supreme guardian in his particular Church deposit of credit. However, considering the recorded homilies that were pronounced both for their installation in the chair and during the first acts of episcopal ministry by several of these bishops coming from parishes-existential-devices, the doctrine of several of them is not all that exciting; and when you don't know well and thoroughly the deposit of credit, safeguard it is not easy, although of course no limits to the grace of the Holy Spirit, which however is best not to challenge to the levels of certain unfortunate appointments.

The bishop must also be a connoisseur of law and have a strong natural sense of justice. And here you notice: I did not say that it should be a supremely doctor in canon law, but a person with the sense of entitlement, because if it is not, easily slip in free agency, factory all the worst injustices. Even in this case, many of the new recruits, They also leave a lot to be desired in this sense, despite having been parish priests Peripheral-existential for many years and presented themselves as champions of the poor Church for the poor which looks out for refugees and Roma.

The bishop is the supreme liturgist and celebrating the Eucharist depends on the validity of all the Masses celebrated in his own particular Church. And even in this case it is good to gloss over the sloppy manner and approximate with which certain bishops from parishes-existential-devices, true or presumed, They have been taken for years and years by many cameramen while celebrating liturgies that you may want to draw a veil.

Run the mode, both conformism, lead by different routes but both parallel to the same disaster. Indeed, before the conformist fashion of peripheral-existential bishops-parish priests, we experienced both the fashion of curial bishops with John Paul II and the fashion of professor bishops with Benedict XVI. these seconds, mostly linked to the last part of the pontificate of John Paul II and the subsequent pontificate of Benedict XVI, that realizing how inside the Church of the ferment of heresy or doctrinal errors had pushed up huge panettone, to remedy, instead of closing the factories of panettone, instead of stripping certain pontifical universities and pontifical universities of the title "pontifical", we begin to have more or less illustrious professors of theology appointed as bishops, often coming from these same factories of heresy, inside which were themselves the first and most pernicious speakers. Unfortunately these professors, some of them true theologians, others pure puffballs, over time they have sown so much damage around the dioceses that in many cases it will take decades before it can be remedied, especially when such serious damage are related to the priestly ordinations of many wrong subjects as such should never have become priests.

Problems are not solved by moving from one fashion to another, He has already done politics. Or perhaps the Church wants to repeat the mistakes of politicians? Does anyone remember the times when before the political fall to historic lows of credibility, Italian political parties attempted to entice voters by nominating actors, singers and players on the electoral roll? To tell the truth, a famous person was also nominated and elected pornstars. We want to repeat these same mistakes in the Church, pornstars included?

The problem is only to become bishops it is necessary to have been a parish priest, or professors of theology, or who work in the Curia duties. It is not in fact the role that makes holy man, but the man who sanctifies the role that has been appointed to. A good bishop can emerge from a suburban parish priest as from a luminary of theology, by an employee of the diplomatic service or by a priest who has served the Church in a hospital specialized in the care of terminally ill patients, from a missionary who spent many years of his life in the poorest villages of the Congo as well as from a researcher who spent much of his life inside historical archives and libraries, because it is the man who makes the good bishop, not the specific position he held. Otherwise we risk reasoning and assigning episcopates on the basis of ideological stereotypes, with the bleak results that end up shining in the sunlight today.

Talking about the drama of the self-candidates and the clerical mafia that promotes them, in a book of mine published at the beginning of 2011[1], speaking of the episcopate and of our natural vocation to holiness, written in the water of our baptism, It said that it is up to the Church to establish how consecrated in the sacrament of Holy Order should play and pay their grateful and valuable services; the assumption that what is at the basis of the nature of the sacrament of Holy Orders. It is unacceptable that the priests are proposed as candidates for the episcopate, or bishops propose to major metropolitan locations, office of the Roman Curia or the honorary title of Cardinals. Anyone, in direct or indirect way it did, the penalty should be excluded from any possibility of promotion. No one is in fact promoted and consecrated bishop for his personal prestige but to be a faithful servant and devoted to the particular Church entrusted to him, always bearing in mind that God became incarnate in Jesus not to be served but to serve (cf.. Mt 20,28). Therefore we should work towards a day to an important result: a Catholic clergy formed by secular and religious priests are well aware that being bishop of a large and important diocese or be pastor of a small country parish is equally dignified and important for the Church, within which the Bishop of the largest diocese and the parish priest of the small country church offer both an essential service, united by their very nature of servants.

In the Church there is precious inspiring figure and the high example of the Holy Bishop Carlo Borromeo, but there is just as valuable inspirational figure of no less high and example: John Mary Vianney, elected patron saint of priests not by chance. No wise mind would have ever sent Carlo Borromeo as parish priest to Ars e John Mary Vianney as bishop in Milan; but it is precisely the Church that is the only one, the only one to establish who should become bishop of Milan and who should become curate of Ars, to better develop its natural vocation to holiness and to preserve and save the faith of the People of God.

However, when common sense takes over from fashions or market strategies played on real advertising slogans, the risk we run is to put Giovanni Maria Vianney as the Bishop of Milan and Carlo Borromeo as the curate of Ars, with a sad consequent results: neither will become saints. The first, will not become holy because be an inappropriate subject as not up to the Bishop of Milan; The second one, will not become holy because it is an inappropriate subject as not up to the priest at Ars, and both sow damage to no end.

In the state in which we find ourselves, it is useless to look small, futile and clerical strategies, today targeted the baked professors and curial, tomorrow in the parish priests who have taken upon themselves in some way - or really clever joke - the smell of the poor and of those existential suburbs that seem to go out of fashion today. Each of these choices are only palliatives that lead to total failure. What in fact does not seem to enter into the ever smaller heads of certain ecclesiastical, is that to arrive at being truly perfect in unity (cf.. GV 17, 23) We must proceed if necessary with dramatic divisions, mindful that Christ the Lord also came to bring a sword and war, not just peace understood in the manner of dreamlike ideological pacifists (cf.. Mt 10,34), Mindful that sooner or later, at the right moment, wheat will be separated from the chaff, when it is certain that not even an ear of wheat will be sacrificed to tear out the weeds. That doesn't mean that: ups weeds that choke the good grain permanently, as we are doing these days (cf.. Mt 13, 24-30).

Today's fashions prevent golden eagles to access ecclesiastical offices where they could render excellent services to the Church. Because trends are always harmful, of whatever kind they are, including the current research of parish priests with past real or imagined between Caritas, the slums and Roma camps, because that means that in the present, a man of God of extraordinary human completeness, morale, theological, juridical and pastoral as Rafael Merry del Val, not only it would never became cardinal, but not even bishop and perhaps not even priest, because just the sound of his surname would turn up many noses who pretend to only want to smell the smell of sheep to take on themselves, without having at all understood what the Holy Father Francis wanted to say and convey to shepherds caring for souls by claiming to be shepherds with the smell of sheep on them (cf.. WHO). Nor ever he would have done any road a man like Giovanni Battista Montini, guilty of coming from a family of the old and rich Lombard bourgeoisie[2]. Let us not dwell on the unfortunate fates of the Church trendy today they would have fallen to someone like Eugenio Pacelli, which is better to ignore and move directly to Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, but to the real, not to Santino from popular iconography. Today as today, the future St John XXIII, at the peak of the diplomatic career as apostolic nuncio in Paris, It would never become Patriarch of Venice - most ultra seventy -, after spending his entire life in the diplomatic service of the Holy See? Of course not, because if the logic had been applied fashionistas Today would have been tried definitely a pastor of some Veneto province that between 1945 and the 1950 he had enriched his CV after having dedicated himself to refugees and war orphans or for having served meals to the homeless left homeless after the Allied bombings of Italy.

If at certain bishoprics Bishops who have already gained pastoral experience in other dioceses where they have given good evidence of governance are usually sent., there is a reason, or not? If some Italian archbishop's offices have for centuries also cardinals locations, it is because there are ancient traditions linked to history and the past kingdoms and principalities of the Italian peninsula; this has established a tradition that is said to be maintained. Rules and habits can be changed and in fact, to do it, Peter does not have to ask anyone's permission. Limit it, if he wants, or if it has the necessary humility to do it, can ask people who are certain historical and ecclesial mechanisms may know them even better than him; but he alone, remains equipped with a full tank power to act as considers most appropriate. So that the current Patriarch of Venice was not created cardinal, perhaps to the person concerned does not affect anything, but the Venetians who have been accustomed to having a patriarch also awarded the honorary title of cardinal for centuries are very interested, so much so that they experienced this lack of a red hat as a humiliation, some even as a personal affront.

I understand that the Holy Father declared himself to be from "the other side of the world", However, this does not mean attempting other-worldly extravagances, because it is common ground that the Italian Church, its bishops and clergy, soprattutto alla sua storia bimillenaria, at least the same respect is due that the Holy Father shows he has for real or presumed refugees who disembark for an average of sometimes 700/800 per day in a country - ours - unable to contain and assist such a flood of people, because we are talking about 400.000/ 500.000 people per year who arrive in a territory - the Italian one - which is certainly not as large as Argentina.

To the Italian Church and its history at least the same respect that the Holy Father has for the inhabitants of the Roma camps is due, whose workers in the begging industry blaspheme Christ and all the saints along Via della Conciliazione, in front of the Papal Archbasilica of St. Peter, behind those who dare not give him money. It is not beautiful nor good, even for a Roman Pontiff, albeit surrounded by a "liberal" aura that only those who don't enter churches even for Christmas and Easter believe in, let it be understood: "I am and I do what I want". For us there is no doubt that you are Pietro, for your Lutheran or Pentecostal friends I don't know, but for us yes, you are Peter. Therefore, first establish precise rules, you have full authority to do so. Before Abolish customs and practices, then you should appoint a cardinal who you want and when you want, preventing a slice of your faithful, who for centuries they have been at the head of their diocese a bishop always created cardinal practices, they must ask themselves what they have done wrong to the Church and to the Holy Father to receive such a slap from him.

The Church needs its own strength and its own stability, which they contribute to some extent the traditions and customs of all accidental and quotas as such are changing and may be abolished at any time by the Supreme Shepherd. But I think that the least likely candidate to make the dangerous game to destabilization without first having established rules, is the Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, also because sooner or later, the People of God, that has never been a fool in the whole course of the history of salvation, You might begin to wonder: in which pro 'all this, but especially, at what price must we pay for the eccentric deeds of this subject who seems to be suffering from a great thirst for originality? And at least according to our increasingly empty churches, more than in front of faithful who ask themselves certain questions, we are faced with an increasingly numerous army of faithful who are so disaffected that they do not consider it useful to even ask questions, they prefer to desert or abandon the churches directly.

The Church cannot give up being mother and teacher beyond the time, of fashions and ideologies, because the greatness of the Church has always been that of being a mother and teacher. And a good teacher, which it is also mother, primarily educates. This is the reason why this extraordinary mother who is a body whose head is Christ (cf.. With the 1, 18) He never made the class distinction, race and nation. We know all the flaws of our Church, holy and sinful according to the old definition ambrosiana. Historical defects that the undersigned know enough to have stigmatized several times in compliance with the wise warning of the Supreme Pontiff Leo XIII who stated:

"The Church historian will more strongly emphasize its divine origin as has been loyal in no way conceal the evidence that the sins of her children and sometimes of his own ministers did suffer this bride of Christ" (Speech to the academics of France, 8 September 1899).

This mother and teacher, at the same time saint and sinner, even in its most controversial eras and you contrasted saw up to their so-called leaders many men from very simple and modest families. Even in his most controversial and conflicted eras he managed to spot talent, rather: I was looking right. Who today says, with a spirit that is both Romanophobic and anti-historical, which until not so long ago, to become bishops and cardinals had to be called Borghese, Orsini, Column, Odescalchi, Chigi, Doctors, Sforza ... wrong and mind, or rather he doesn't know the history of the Church at all. The chronologies of the bishops who have succeeded one another in our numerous Italian dioceses, They include many names of men from poor families, they entered the seminaries with the outfits given to them by a poor country parish priest who had collected donations from equally poor faithful.

Do not forget that to succeed Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val, who had a blood concentration of the oldest noble families of Europe, it was the Cardinal Peter Gasparri, who was secretary of state under Pope Benedict XV and Pius XI, as well as a signatory of the Lateran Pacts which put an end to the long Roman Question that began with the capture of Rome 20 September 1870 lasted 59 long years until 1929. Peter Gasparri, born in the Marche in a village of the province, He came from a family of farmers pastoralists. In the Roman curia, where not even the Supreme Pontiffs have ever been exempt from the attribution of a nickname, he was nicknamed, not by chance, he shepherd. Pietro Gasparri was a canonist of rare refinement and his contribution to the drafting of the Code of Canon Law of 1917. From modest family came the Holy Pontiff Pius X, who also he wanted beside him in the role of Secretary of State, Cardinal Merry del Val. The Cardinal was born into a poor family Alfredo Ottaviani, in the Trastevere, where his father worked as a laborer at a baker. The Cardinal Giuseppe Siri he was the son of a janitor and a concierge. We stop at these few examples because the list of men whose names are today included in the history of the Church would be long, not at all marked by the surnames of the most powerful European princely families.

What can we say then that nohe 1960, while in the United States of America there was racial segregation between whites and blacks, abolished only 4 years later from Civil Rights Act, in Rome, the Tanzanian Laurean Rugambwa, newly elected cardinal, dressed in purple with ermine and cappa magna, he received a kiss on the knee from members of the most ancient pontifical nobility. Does the Holy Father Francis know these edifying pearls of history linked to a Roman curia kissing the hand of a black cardinal while in the United States blacks were not even allowed to ride public transport? He is informed, the Holy Father Francis, that his Supreme Predecessor Benedict XIV, nee Prospero Lambertini, In the 1741 he did not hesitate to challenge - despite all the risks involved - the major European powers, condemning without appeal slavery and declaring illegal, under penalty of immediate excommunication, the sale and the reduction of the Indians to slavery? Condemns, however, already delivered earlier by his predecessors Supreme Eugene IV (1435), Paul III (1537), urban VIII (1639), none of whom came from the "existential periphery" nor had they ever carried out any apostolate in the villas miseries.

I fear that for some decades delicate and ancient balances have been shattered and that today we have reached the apotheosis. man ever, in the past, a Rafael Merry del Val prevented a priest of recognized talent with him to sit in the pews of the College of Cardinals, as guilty of coming from humble beginnings. However, what should be feared today is that numerous Pietro Gasparri and Alfredo Ottaviani are totally devoid of the great talent and great piety that characterized these men of God, but filled with ambitions in return for which they never could aspire in the civilized world, can prevent a Merry del Val to become bishop and cardinal, because it "does not correspond to what are the criteria and pastoral styles today" - from villas miseries - "The Holy Father Francesco", with all the immense damage that would result and that has already occurred to the Church which has been deprived of this faith for years now, talent and rare intelligence.

Today the Church is no longer capable of educating and valorizing precious talents given by God to certain of his children. I don't know if anyone will reflect on all this, in a Church no longer capable of grasping talent, to educate and as a logical consequence to grasp the talent and transform the Gasparri and Ottaviani into authentic principles, making them the principles for nothing less principles of a prince of birth as Merry del Val. I fear that in these sad times, where many men of the Church seem addicted to the immediate and to living day after day without thinking about the future and building for the future, few will make similar reflections. When in fact the one hand they make a coup and the other one gives in to fashions, first of all, the freedom of the children of God is lost and we try with the worst coercions and the worst arbitrariness to force others to also lose this precious gift of grace. A church that no longer free teetering between bankruptcy and fashions equally unsuccessful experiments is bound to collapse, from his heart: the College of the Apostles, in which to recruit a mediocre after another into effect the coup of mediocrity in power. Never as today is in fact echoed the false and misleading warning which Judas:

«[…] then Mary, took a pound of ointment of true nard, very precious, He anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair, and the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. Then Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, who would betray, he said: “Because this perfumed oil was not sold for three hundred denarii and then given to the poor?”. He said this not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief and, He had the bag, to take what was put therein. Then Jesus said: “Let her do it, let her keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you have always with you, but you don't always have me"" (GV 12, 3-8).

Together with the excuse of the poor we risk also having an army of Judah, thieves and traitors, as well as pimps, ready to use the poor as false and measure as a new pretext for their personal gain, always moved by those irrepressible ambitions originating from the queen mother of all deadly sins: the Superbia, which always blinds, preventing to correctly perceive the present and the future to build a holy manner to the praise and glory of God.

the Island of Patmos, 5 May 2024



[1] See. Ariel S. Levi di Gualdo, And Satan became triune, Iª ed. Rome 2011, reprint, Rome 2019, Editions The island of Patmos.

[2] See. Ariel S. Levi di Gualdo, Digressions of a liberal priest, about the true curriculum of Giovanni Battista Montini, pag 61 e ss.. Rome 2023, Editions The island of Patmos.



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