Those words Pope Luciani pronounced about Lefebvre – ANDREA TORNIELLI


Those words Pope Luciani pronounced about Lefebvre

Reconciliation with traditionalist archbishop Marcel Lefebvre was also close to Pope Luciani’s heart. This was revealed to the director of the Italian Episcopal Conference’s television channel TV2000, Dino Boffo, by John Paul I’s secretary, Diego Lorenzi, during an interview on the occasion of the centenary of the “smiling Pope’s” birth. The interview will be aired tomorrow at 18:30 on TV2000. “The problem Lefebvre had – Lorenzi stated – which still exists today, was also on John Paul I’s mind.” Referring to the Lefebvre affair, the Pope’s secretary explained how John Paul I used to say to him: “The uncut tunic of the Roman Catholic Church has a tear in it.” “And he longed for it to be mended as soon as possible,” Lorenzi concluded. “The compactness of the flock, the unity of the Church is something he held very close to his heart, more than many other things which the press seemed interested in.”

Pope Luciani’s recent biography (San Paolo editions) written by Marco Roncalli, a number of excerpts of which were published in this afternoon’s issue of the Holy See’s daily broadsheet L’Osservatore Romano reconstructs the future Pope’s thinking and concerns about the Lefebvrians. These concerns arose before the election and were a response to a situation which he already saw as an emergency during the Venice period. Starting for example with the homily pronounced on 16 August 1976, when Patriarch Luciani began talking about the ancient discord within the Church and ended up discussing the modern disagreements which saw Paul VI hit by the Lefebvre and Franzoni cases. Just a few days before, on 22 July, Paul VI has in fact suspended the traditionalist bishop a divinis.

In his homily, Pope Luciani linked the two cases saying: “My brothers, I was a fraternal friend of Franzoni’s and we were on familiar terms; I have heard Lefebvre speak in the Council on many occasions. I am certain that years ago both of them fully accepted the Council’s following words: “by virtue of office and as vicar of Christ, has full, supreme and universal authority, which can be exercised always and everywhere.” How come both Franzoni and Lefebvre now expressly reject these words? To me this is an unexplainable tragedy… Or perhaps “the explanation lies in the conclusion itself, which Paul Bourget gave in his novel Le demon du midi: “We must live according to what we think, otherwise we end up thinking according to how we live”… We may also face this risk…The Lord, however, wants us to obey the hierarchy.” These words are as true today as they were yesterday.

Get AQ Email Updates

8 comments on “Those words Pope Luciani pronounced about Lefebvre – ANDREA TORNIELLI

  1. Well, chalk up one more urban myth. I’d heard that Luciani was intent on restoring law and order, including returning the Latin Mass to its rightful pride of place.

    Of course, since this ariticle is out of Italy ( which , on any 9 days out of 8 is out of its mind, anyway ), we may be looking at just more Modernista/conciliaristo agitprop. ( Oops! I just checked and its-a from-a Andrea Tornielli. Mi scusi! That means it’s PURE agitprop! )

    I’m at the point where I think the Vatican should be moved, lock, stock and barrel to just north of the Arctic Circle, preferably in the former Soviet sector and not too far from all those guys with the long beards and even longer memories. Might prove salutary.

    The pope could stay in Rome. Nice hotel. Decent lease on a late model Benz. If he needs anybody – send a dogsled.

    Considering the record of the instituion for the past 50 years, who’d even notice?

  2. You may disagree with his views and you may have a legitimate cause for complaint but I think refusing to give a Pope his correct title is both disrespectful and exactly what the enemies of the Church do.

    There is no Pope Luciani. There is a Pope John Paul I.

  3. Look it up. Many a scholar of the Church does EXACTLY as I did.

    And many a solid Catholic writer editorially refers to popes, cardinals, bishops and priests by their last name. It is not intended to be, nor is it in fact, a slur when used in either an academic or editorial sense.

    A writer may safely presume that the majority of his readers are already aware of the fact that the pope is a pope, this or that bishop is a bishop, etc. And, as long as their article deals with factual or editorial issues pertaining to public matters affecting the general public ( at least the Catholic portion of that public ) then, using simply the surname of a public figure in a very public Church is objectively no less respectful than using the surname of a politiciann, celebrity, etc. in common journalism.

    To refer to a pope or a bishop or a priest as a meathead of scallywag, yes, sure!

    However, to refer to same by his surname, while perhaps offensive to certain overly sensitive ears or eyes, is hardly the same thing, is it?

  4. It is not the way the Church herself refers to Her Popes.

    It is disrespectful no matter what spin you put on it.

    It is adopting the same tactics that the enemies of the Church use. By refusing to give the Pope the name he has chosen when he became Pope, is the same as saying that he is still just the man was before, that there is nothing special about the Papacy or the position of Pope.

    If a Religious took a Saint’s name as they entered a monastic order and I continued to address them by their pre monastic name I would be guilty of causing offense and showing contempt for their call.
    So not addressing a Pope by his chosen Papal name is showing contempt for his office.

  5. Fidei writes: “So not addressing a Pope by his chosen Papal name is showing contempt for his office.”

    As someone who thinks well of “Papa Luciani” as to his pre-papal reputation and his pontifical prospects, about which – sadly – one may only speculate, I respectfully and vehemently disagree with the accusation of disrespect concerning the office he held for less than 800 hours.

    I have defended the papcy and individual popes for quite some time.

    Using a device used in scholarly, theological and journalistic articles, indeed by Signore Tornielli himself ( and by any number of well respected TRADITIONALIST authors, as well ) is merely that, a device of convenience to provide variation in defining, referring to or identifying a particular subject.

    It is an aesthetic consideration and not a declaration of judgment.

    Besides, since prots and other nogoodniks use “Catholic Church”, “Marian devotion” and “Transubstantiation” as terms of non-endearment in attacks on Catholic doctrine, should Catholics cease using those terms, as well?

  6. One more thought, fidei.

    Did St. Paul ever call St. Peter, “Pope Peter” or “His Holiness”.

    Did not all the evangelists refer to the first pope as “Peter”? In the Scriptures?

    Yes, we know the honorifics “Pope” and “His Holiness” accrued later on in Church history, but the FIRST references to the first papal figure was by his actual name.

  7. Having mulled it over – AWAY from the danger zone of my keyboard – I can see and concede fidei’s concern.

    Taken at a decent remove I would still offer same arguments, althought the last post put up was just lame.

    Nevertheless, if it causes concern, as it did our friend fidei, then it simply isn’t worth it.

    FWIW, I do pray for the repose of J23, P6 and JPs I & II each day. ; – )

    ( Did you think, fidei, I’d utterly concede without at least one last tweak? )

    • tradical on said:


      gpmtrad thanks for making my day at home with a cold enjoyable.

      Wrt to fidei’s concerns. The title of the article is directly from the original article.

      When I first encountered this usage, I was confused (gpmtrad will probably claim that I am still confused), and had a similar reaction as fidei.

      I looked further and found it was not a denigration of the Pope or his office.

      Here’s an article ( ) ,that I post with trepidation, that has some insights into the matter.

      If fidei is unfamiliar with this manner of addressing the person of the Pope, it does not necessarily follow that it is bad.

Leave a Reply