King by Divine Right – Roberto de Mattei

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King by Divine Right

The waiver of Benedict and the election of Francis. Question: who is the Pope? The charisma of a Bishop who has a primacy on the confreres. For Christ (by Roberto de Mattei on “Il Foglio” of 3/28/2013) The question “who is the Pope?” arises whenever a new Pope is elected, especially when his name or his personal story are unknown to the general public. This was not the case of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Roman by adoption, after so many years as Prefect of the Congregation for the faith, but such was the case of Karol Wojtyla, who came from Krakow, and it is today by Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who came from an even more distant diocese, at world’s end, as he himself said the day of his election.
It is understandable that in the early days and weeks after the election they try to fathom the present perfect or the remote new Pontiff, to know the ideas, trends, habits, to infer from the words and gestures of the past the program of the new pontificate. The volume El unique Jesuit missions. Conversaciones con el cardenal Jorge Bergoglio (Vergara, Buenos Aires 2010, edited by Sergio Rubin and Francesca Ambrogetti), outlines already the face of a papabile, and deserves to be known. Less well known is the indignant reaction to that volume has dedicated a scholar orientation traditional Argentine Antonio Caponnetto (La Iglesia traicionada, Editorial Santiago Apostol, Buenos Aires 2010). Or you can figure out who is the new Pontiff, without knowing the judgment that he gives his father Juan Carlos Scannone, a Jesuit, a disciple of Karl Rahner, who had it as a student and who ascribes the Archbishop of Buenos Aires to the Argentine school “of liberation theology (la Croix, March 18, 2013).

The “preferential option for the poor” of the card. Bergoglio is rooted especially in the teaching of Gera and Rafael Lucio Tello, the exponents of a “Theology of the people”, characterized by the replacement of the poverty practice the ideology of armed revolution. Carlos Pagni, analyzing, on 21 March of the Nación “Método Bergoglio para governed”, explains the theological reason why the “periphery” occupies the central place in the ideological landscape of Bergoglio. The poor for him not a sociological reality to help, but a theological subject from which to learn: “This pedagogical aptitude has religious roots: the people’s relationship with God would be more genuine because it lacks material contamination”. Even Maurizio Crippa on 23 March sheet (poverty is a sign, not theological sociology) emphasizes this aspect, recalling the remote ancestry: “the stakes up for grabs is always transform poor people into the Church on the way, preferably self-summoned: from the poor of Lyon, then called Waldenses, all Orthodox currents or the Medieval heretical, humiliated and FRA ‘ Dolcino with deviations up to Tolstoy, and on to a path of looting and regeneration which returns identical from ‘ five wounds of the Holy Church of blessed Antonio Rosmini – the fifth is just ‘ The bondage of ecclesiastical property ‘ – the Conciliar Church theologies poor “.

These are issues that would benefit from deepening. But that’s not the point. The life of a man, even a Pope, not measured with the gestures of the past, changes every day and every day can be reset by turning points, aging, directions of new and unexpected.

Every turn of my pontificate, rather than ask those questions to only the future can respond, should offer an opportunity to meditate on what the new elected represents; to reflect on the Papacy as an institution, rather than on the Pope as a character. And this especially at a time when, between 11 February and 13 March 2013, seems to have been deeply wound the same Constitution of the papacy.

The first shot of this scourging was the waiving of the pontificate of Benedict XVI, a canonically legitimate, but from historical devastating impact. “A Pope who resigns – commented Massimo Franco – is already an epochal event in modern history. But a Pontiff who is in the midst of their mental faculties, indicating as motivation is simply the fragility that comes from age, breaks a centuries-old tradition “(” the crisis of the Vatican “, Mondadori 2013, p. 9).

A second blow to the establishment was the selection of Pope Benedict XVI, to style himself “Pope Emeritus”, retaining the name and Pontifical garments and continuing to live in the Vatican. Canonists authoritative, as Carlo Fantappiè, noted the novelty of the Act, pointing out that “renunciation of Benedict XVI has posed serious problems on the Constitution of the Church, on the nature of the primacy of the Pope as well as the scope and extent of his powers after the termination of the Office” (the Papacy, sede vacante and Papal “Emeritus”. Misunderstandings by avoid, in

The coexistence of a Pope who presents himself as Bishop of Rome and a Bishop (because this is Joseph Ratzinger) calling itself Pope offers the image of a church “headed” and inevitably evokes the ages of the great schisms. Don’t you understand, in this regard, the media attention that the Vatican authorities wanted to give the meeting of two popes, 23 March at Castel Gandolfo. The image that has been around the world and that the same Osservatore Romano published on the front page on March 24 is that of two men that the language of symbols placed on an absolute equality, preventing to discern money instantly, who among them is the true Pope. The event also contrasts with the assurance given by the Press Office of the Holy See, according to which, after the 28 February, Benedict XVI would have waived the media stage, retiring into silence and in prayer. Wouldn’t it have been wiser if the meeting was held away from the spotlight? Or is there, behind the media choice, a lucid strategy, and what?

A scholar of the history of Christianity, Roberto Rusconi, has for its part described the scenario of the unfinished of Joseph Ratzinger’s encyclical on faith, after those already promulgated on charity and hope. “The Encyclical is not terminated, – notes Rusconi – could be published later like any other text by Joseph Ratzinger, which during the pontificate has repeatedly argued that their recent volumes in no way should be considered a direct expression of his papal Magisterium “(Roberto Rusconi, the Grand refusal. Because a Pope resigns, Morcelliana, Brescia, pp. 2012. 143-144). If this were to happen, the result would be to undermine the basis of the authority not only of the previous documents promulgated by Benedict XVI, as well as those issued by the next Pope, because they dissolve away the perception of what is magisterial Act and what isn’t, shattering the concept of infallibility, so much is often inappropriately speaks.

There are proponents declared a resizing of the Papacy, which generally refer to a passage from John Paul II, encyclical letter Ut Unum sint of May 25, 1995, where Pope John Paul II says he is willing to “find a way of exercising the Primacy which, while not renouncing in any way the essential of his mission, opens a new situation” (No. 88). Hence the distinction, made by Giuseppe Alberigo and the Bologna school, among the unchanging essence of the papacy and “the forms of exercise” in which it expressed itself in history (historical Forms of Church Government, “the Kingdom”, 1 December 2001, pp. 719-723). The enemy is the idea of “papal sovereignty”, born in The middle ages, which was at the origin of the papacy’s deviation from its original spirit. From the mid-15th century, according to another historian bolognese, Paolo Prodi, has initiated a metamorphosis of the papacy that touched on the institution as a whole, leading not only to a change of the institutional characteristics of the Papal States, transformed into Principality, but also a reformulation of the concept of ecclesiastical sovereignty, molded on that policy. Victorious over conciliarism, the papacy is however defeated by the modern State, because, while the Church is secolarizza, the State sacralizza (the sovereign pontiff, Il Mulino, Bologna 1983, p. 306). Starting from Revolution French. However, the Church, in fruitful dialectic relationship with the modern world, he would have started to break free from the shackles of the past. Despite some regressive phases, represented above all by the pontificates of Pius IX, Pius X and Pope Pius XII, Vatican Council II marks Finally, according to Alberigo and his disciples, the moment of “turning point”, liquidating the legal-institutional dimension of the Church and opening up a new vision of it based on the concept of “communion” and “people of God”.

These arguments have been repeated, theological standpoint, in a recent book that the Dean of Italian Severino Dianich ecclesiologi dedicated to the Ministry of the Pope (For a theology of the Papacy, Cinisello Balsamo, Sao Paulo 2010). The center of the speech is the transition from one legal vision of the Church, based on the criterion of jurisdiction, a sacramental conception, based on the idea of communion. The crux of the problem goes back to the discussion that took place at the Council on interpretation of n. 22 of Lumen Gentium and Note that this document praevia followed during what progressives called the “Black week” of Vatican II. The relationship between the Pope and the bishops, after Vatican II, according to Dianich, can no longer be characterised by the delegation and to the subordination. The Pope does not govern “from above” the Church, but the leadership in the order of the communion. His power of jurisdiction would be from the sacrament and sacramental aspect, the Pope is not superior to the bishops. He, before he was pastor of the universal Church, is the Bishop of Rome, and the primacy that the universal Church is not of Government but of love, precisely because, ontologically, as Bishop, the Pope is on the same level as the other bishops. This would give greater power Dianich to Episcopal college by attributing to it the possibility to legislate authoritatively. The Pope should exercise its primacy in a new, binding to its deliberative or consultative bodies power, which can be conferences, synods, or permanent bodies, which assist in the governance of the Church. It is a distinction of “honour” or “love”, but not of Government and jurisdiction of the Church.

However, these arguments are, firstly, historically false. The history of the papacy is not the history of different historical forms and conflicting with each other, but the homogeneous evolution of a Supreme jurisdiction this principle in the words of Jesus Christ to St. Peter and he just said, “you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church” (Mt 16, 14-18). When san Clemente (92-98 or 100), third successor of Peter as Bishop of Rome at the beginning of the reign of Nerva (about 97), intervened to restore unity in the Corinthian Church, upset by a violent discord, it recalled the principle of succession established by Christ and the Apostles, demanding obedience and threatening sanctions even if its provisions were not performed (letter Propter subitas Corinthians, in Denz-H, Nos. 101-102). The authoritative tone of the letter and the veneration with which it was met are clear evidence of the primacy of the Bishop of Rome at the end of the first century.

About ten years later, Saint Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, while traveling from Antioch to Rome, where he was martyred, wrote a letter to the Romans that recognizes the Church of Rome a primacy over the universal Church, saying: “you have taught others and I I wish to remain without those things you prescriveste with your teaching “(Epistula ad Romanos, 3, 1). His statement, so often cited inappropriately, according to which the Church of Rome presides at agape “, must be understood in her rectum. The “agape” is not generic “charity”, but is, for Ignatius, the universal Church (which he calls Catholic), United by the bond of love.

Over the centuries the Papal Primacy, conceived as active ingredient and Central Government of the universal Church, remained the hallmark of Papacy, as well as the monarchist and hierarchical Constitution continued to characterize the Church over the centuries. In the Church times crossed, each What time the papacy was weak, absent or ineffective, they produced schisms, heresies, religious and social upheavals. In contrast, major reforms and the rebirth of the Church have occurred with the popes who have exercised their Government in the fullness of their powers, from san Gregorio VII at St. Pius X.

The specific of the Supreme Pontiff munus is not in his power to order, which he has in common with all other bishops of the world, but in his power of jurisdiction, which distinguishes it from every other Bishop, because only in this case, this power is full and absolute and is the source of power of the other bishops. The power of education is part of the primacy of jurisdiction and infallibility is the highest and most perfect expression of Papal Primacy, a sovereignty all the more necessary than that of temporal society.

The power of jurisdiction is eminently Government power. The Pope is such because it governs the Church exercising a doctrinal and disciplinary jurisdiction that cannot delegate: there is a difference between the power of Government and its exercise, almost imagining the possibility of a Government whose hallmark is not to govern. The essence of the Papacy has in this sense immutable characteristics: it is a absolute Government, which cannot be delegated to others, neither in whole nor in part. The papacy is an absolute monarchy where the Supreme Pontiff reigns and rule and cannot be turned into a constitutional monarchy in which the monarch reigns but does not govern. A change in the Government would not touch the historical form, but the divine essence of the papacy.

This is not an abstract diatribe, but a theological problem from concrete historical impact. The era of globalisation of markets and the information revolution has seen the collapse of nation States, replaced with new powers, media and financial. But the chaos and fragmentation and conflict of new scenarios derive from this loss of sovereignty, whose eloquent example is the European Union created by the Maastricht Traits, which looks like a “super-State” in Europe, but as a non-State, characterized by the multiplication of decision-making centres, and the confusion of powers

The authority and the power of nation States and representative democracies crumbles and emptiness is occupied by ideological and financial lobby, visible and hidden charges. The Catholic Church should model itself on this process of atomization, autodemolendosi? In front of the relativism, the Church will have to shelve the infallibility, as Waldensian Pastor asks Paolo Ricca (il Foglio, March 19, 2013), to present to the world weak and defeatist or rather not use this charism, that she alone possesses, to contrast his religious and moral sovereignty to rubble of modernity? The alternative is dramatic, but unavoidable.

What is certain is that the question “who is now the Pope?”, before it goes to the media devoted to theology, history and Canon law of the Church. They respond that, behind the people of Benedict XVI and Francesco, a papal throne established by Christ himself. Pope St. Leo the great, who may be considered the most complete theologian of the papacy in the first Millennium, clearly explained the meaning of succession petrina, riassumendola in the formula: “Unworthy heir of Saint Peter”. The Pope became the successor of St. Peter as regards its legal status and its objective powers but not as concerned his personal status and its subjective merits. The distinction between the Office and the holder of the Office, including the Pope’s public persona and his private persona is crucial in the history of the papacy.

The Pope is the Vicar of Christ, who in his name and for his mandate governs the Church. Before being a private person, he is a public person; before being a man is an institution: prior to the Pope’s papacy, which summarizes and concentrates the Church is the mystical body of Christ.


by Roberto de Mattei

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