Text. Giuseppe Nardi
Aldo Maria Valli, Chief Vaticanist of RAI: “Pastoral Course of Pope Francis is Muddled”
(Rome) The chief Vatican expert of the Italian public broadcaster RAI distances himself from the pastoral line of Pope Francis, which he describes as “muddled”.
“Surprise: The almost unanimous chorus of Italian Vaticanists who were entranced by the pontificate of Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been losing more of its members,” says the newspaper Italia Oggi . “Last May 28 Aldo Maria Valli, a respected expert on sacred palatial architecture on RAI, has written quite a strong article on his blog about Amoris laetitia, written by Pope Francis with the conclusion of the Family Synod between autumn 2014 and autumn 2015.”
Valli included a number of critical comments on the papal document in his article.
“Take, for example the point 308”, said the Vatican expert and cited Amoris laetitia : “Those pastors, to encourage their faithful in the full ideal of the Gospel and the teaching of the Church, must also help them to accept the logic of compassion for the weak and persecuted, or avoid overly harsh and impatient judgments.” On this Valli wrote: “Shall we conclude that it is not the most efficient way to have compassion, to suggest the whole ideal of the Gospel “?
Also Valli stumbles over the “vexata quaestio” of communion for remarried divorcees and wonders: To what conclusion has the Pope come?
“After I read the text and read over and over again, the answer is: Communion yes, but no. Or. Communion no, but yes.” “The text legitimizes both conclusions. This occurs with the case-by-case logic, which in turn is a subsidiary of situation ethics. Do I consider myself as a sinner? Yes, but also no. No, but also yes. It depends.”
Shocked by the ambiguity of Amoris laetitia
Being shocked over this ambiguity of the papal document, Valli believes the first place to look for the fault is in himself. He had missed something or did not properly understand. But even after repeated rereading, he always stumbled over the same places, which made him come to the inescapable conclusion that it must nevertheless be the text.
This realization led the Vaticanist to pass various earlier episodes of this pontificate again in review, and critical review. In most cases, he was rapporteur in person and thus an ear and eye witness.
“When Francis visited the Lutheran Church of Rome and was asked whether a Catholic and a Lutheran can go together to communion, Bergoglio explained by a long, spontaneous response ultimately: No, but even so, one has to look case by case basis. It is a problem that everyone must answer.”
Or the video, Valli continued, about interreligious dialogue, in which the Pope himself was involved (a video in which a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew and a Catholic priest appeared). “He said that people ‘meet God in different ways’ and, ‘in this multiplicity there is only one certainty for us: We are all children of God.’ ” That was it?
“Serious Hazard, straight to fall into the lion’s den”
Valli draws clear conclusions, citing a large converts, Blessed John Henry Newman, who became Catholic from Anglican. In his famous “Letter to the Duke of Norfolk” Newman wrote: he had a toast to religion after dinner, he would surely toast the Pope, but primarily to conscience, then only to the Pope. In other words, primarily because of the search for truth, only then to the due authority.
Valli concludes with a theological bombshell:
“That’s what: Conscience is capable of truth. If the conscience of Christians leaving the narrow and rough path of the search for truth and ‘but also’ entering the wide boulevards (who are enlightened and celebrated by the mass media, but dead ends), then I have the impression that he is in great danger of getting lost and falling straight into the lion’s den.”
“Harsh words for a Vaticanist” said Italia Oggi, “who was so far, like the majority of his colleagues, full of praise for Francis, and since his first appearance on the loggia of St. Peter’s with his famous ‘Buonasera.'”
“Honest and painful expression of a doubt”
Harsh words from a faithful man who has made no secret of his affiliation with the Opus Dei. As irritated reactions to his article followed, Valli did not back down, but came back on the next day again. Above all, he defended himself against allegations. “From my side there is no ‘maneuver’, no project whatsoever to leave any party (which, anyway?) to switch over to another (what then?). There is only the honest and painful expression of a doubt.”
The number of leading Italian Vaticanists who criticize Pope Francis, have been so enriched by yet another pointed pen. The first was Sandro Magister, Vatican expert of Espresso. He takes the role of an anti-Tornielli and constitutes “the counterpoint against the papal department of communication and the popish choir,” said Italia Oggi . He was then followed by Antonio Socci (Libero), who presented two books critical of the current pontificate. In the first book he even doubted the validity of the papal election. A doubt he withdrew in the second book, but has not disavowed his critical distance towards the administration of the Argentine Pope.
The critics also include Marco Tosatti (La Stampa), who recites his restrained critical remarks but no less pungently. In Vatican Insider by Andrea Tornielli, the House and Palace Vaticanist of the Pope, Tosatti is the only critical voice in a polyphonic choir rejoicing. Anyway Vatican Insider has allowed a dissenting voice. This circumstance is due to the cooperation with the daily newspaper La Stampa. Tornielli and Tosatti are both employees of the newspaper, and so Tosatti must also be tolerated in Vatican Insider.
Among the critics is also Vittorio Messori, who wrote the 1985 book “State of Faith” presented by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Messori is considered a kind doyen of Catholic journalists. Already in December 2014, he uttered doubts to Corriere della Sera “about the orientation of Francis”.
This renowned team now is reinforced by Aldo Maria Valli.
Gianni Gennari, a columnist of Avvenire , the daily newspaper of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, gets new work. In his column, which he writes with the pseudonym “lupus” (Wolf), he blames inexorably any form of criticism of the Argentine Pope. His work seems to be now not less, but more.