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Friday, September 27, 2019

THE MAN WHO BROKE the STORY: Viganò Journalist Interviewed

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Exclusive Remnant Interview...

vigano and valliArchbishop Viganò and journalist Aldo Valli

"They have called me a traitor, a hypocrite, and false. Obviously, given that these accusations come from the enemies of the Church, I consider all of these accusations like medals of honor in the defense of the Truth." – Aldo Maria Valli

National state TV RAI journalist Aldo Maria Valli and church musician Aurelio Porfiri are two leading Italian Catholic figures who decided to join forces and publicly voice their uneasiness, to say the least, with the present state of affairs in the Catholic Church from their traditional vision of the faith.


“Uprooted: Dialogues on the Liquid Church” (Chorabooks, Hong Kong 2019) was the result of their effort, a passionate book written in the form of a series of dialogues between the two authors on the most pressing and burning issues facing the Church today.

Whereas Aurelio Porfiri is a composer, choirmaster, writer and teacher living between Rome and Hong Kong. Aldo Maria Valli is a well-known veteran “Vaticanista” (journalist expert of Vatican affairs) and was the first journalist to receive Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò statement on the scandal of homosexuality within the clergy.

Aldo Maria Valli was so kind as to answer a few questions for Remnant readers on some of the most pressing issues which are dealt with in his book.

Q. Don’t you think that the Viganò case and the abuses of the clergy may have further contributed to this sense of uprootedness reported in your book?"

A. As far as I am concerned, the Viganò case has certainly contributed to making me feel even more uprooted from this Church. As I have told so many times, my process of "conversion" with respect to Bergoglio's pontificate began after reading Amoris laetitia, and at that point I became fully aware of the penetration of a neo-modernism in the Catholic Church, at all levels. Until 2016 I was among those who preferred not to see, but Amoris laetitia definitely opened my eyes. Even before the four cardinals expressed their doubts, in my book “266. Jorge Mario Bergoglio Franciscus P.P.” (first edition in 2016, Liberilibri publisher) I openly expressed my perplexities and denounced the infiltration of relativism into moral teaching, an infiltration that, among other things, took place surreptitiously, through the use of ambiguity as a weapon to undermine the previous teaching. From then on I felt more and more uprooted and more and more alone. I lost so many friendships and even on a professional level I started living a situation of marginalization. But the Lord intervened, giving me many new friends who helped me to face such a difficult phase. It was in this context that Monsignor Viganò looked for me, to talk to me about his memorial and to propose to publish it in my blog Duc in altum. For those who are interested, I told the whole story in the book Il caso Viganò (published by Fede & Cultura, 2018).

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Q. How would you explain what is perceived as a sort of “explosion” of homosexuality among the clergy?

A. The problem of the presence and, I would say, the invasion, of what has been called the homosexual culture, is not recent but has deep roots. However today, through the use of social media (think of the high visibility of a pro-gay advocate like Jesuit James Martin) it has exploded in such a way that even the less experienced can get an idea. I do not have anything against people with a homosexual orientation, but as a Catholic I agree with the Catechism which says that these persons, who ought to be received with particular attention, respect, and delicacy, are called to chastity because homosexual acts are contrary to the natural law.

It seems to me that there is not much more to add, and yet we are witnessing the spread of a subversive mentality that claims to overturn reality and pass off homosexual practice not only as a right but as a behavior blessed by God. And often this claim comes from within the Church. Now it is clear that responsibility for this must be identified at different levels, from seminaries up to the highest levels of the Roman Curia. But identifying responsibility is not enough. It is necessary to fight for the respect of the natural order, the fruit of creation, which today many people want to overturn for the age-old reason: to put man in the place of God. This leads to general insanity, also reflected by the profound crisis of identity of the priest which is at the center of the crisis of faith, and as a result, of the crisis of the Church.

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We have lived through decades in which the process of humanization of the priest has coincided with his progressive unhooking from God and from the life of prayer. From being a bridge-builder between God and men, he has become merely a builder of human relations (and this is when things are good), and at the same time, mainly due to the liturgy, he has acquired the role of being the leader. From being a mediator, he has now become an actor. The image of the priest armed with a microphone who speaks to the assembly of the faithful, is very similar, if you think about it, to that of a politician or a journalist. God has passed to a secondary level. And then if we add all of the administrative tasks, contemplation and prayer vanish. I don’t know how many priests have said to me: “I really want to pray more, to spend more time in adoration, but I can never find the time!

Q. Can you say something about your personal meetings with the former nuncio?

A. In my meetings with Viganò I saw a man who was profoundly sad because of the moral degradation within the Church and the systematic denial of the truth. What he wanted to pierce through was the shroud of lies that covers a devastating situation. And once you have decided to take that road, it’s clear that you have to do it in the most dramatic way possible. Whoever says that he should have done it reservedly doesn’t understand or pretends not to understand: Viganò chose to make noise, and he did so in the conviction that this was the last resort. He told me that he had prayed much and that he had turned it over in his conscience for a long time, and basically this is also what we, in our own small way, are doing. Every day we ask ourselves: is it appropriate to continue in the battle? A friend asked me: What makes you do it? From a strictly human point of view, it’s folly. We have everything to lose and nothing to gain. But the judgment which interests me is that of the good God, not that of men. This is why, despite those who accuse me of having betrayed the Church, I feel myself more Catholic than ever before. And in that I know I am in good company!

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Q. How did you react emotionally to such a heavy burden in those days?

A. I can only say that, after having published the report of the former nuncio, I felt a great inner peace. I knew very well that, especially from a professional point of view, I would pay a high price (as was the case on time), but I realized that I would never forgive myself if I avoided intervening, in my small way, in defense of the Truth. As a baptized person, called to be a priest, prophet and king, I could do nothing else. I adhere in full to the words of Cardinal Newman in his work “An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine” (1845, chapter VIII, § 1): «That there is a truth then; that there is one truth; that religious error is in itself of an immoral nature; that its maintainers, unless involuntarily such, are guilty in maintaining it; that it is to be dreaded…that the mind is below truth, not above it, and is bound, not to descant upon it, but to venerate it».

So too, like Newman, in the event of a religious toast after a meal, I would certainly toast the Pope, but first to conscience and then to the Pope.

Q. Talking about the Pope, here we are at the crucial issue of obedience…

A. You are quite right: the question of obedience is decisive. We Catholics ought to respect the Pope, wish him well and take him seriously. This implies, when necessary, the possibility of making certain criticisms. We have the right but also the duty to do so. And we have this duty because we are baptized. The insane papolatry we are witnessing in our days is the child of ignorance and manipulation. Many think that the Pope is always infallible, while in reality he is so only when he speaks ex cathedra, which happens only rarely, almost never. However, when the Pope speaks ex cathedra he must do so openly so that the faithful may be aware of it. To maintain that the Pope is always right simply because he is the Pope is to fall into an extreme clericalism, and it is noteworthy that those who are said to be anti-clerical often fall into this sort of papism. When we go to Holy Mass we Catholics certainly pray for the Pope, but in the Creed we say: I believe in One God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in One Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages etc.… We never say I believe in the Pope. And there is a reason for this: The Pope is nothing other than servus servorum Dei. His function is one of service. He is to be at the service of the faith, and he has the duty of confirming his brothers in the faith. Only someone who is very ignorant, or who has a specific interest in doing so, would raise the Pope to a level of untouchability which in reality he does not have.

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Q. Don’t you think the perhaps also the media have some responsibility in this regard?

A. Certainly. We who are in the mass media have a grave responsibility, including in this case: we have made the Pope into something he is not, a species of superman. Instead, it must be repeated, he is a servant. It is only to God that we must render total and unconditional obedience, not the Pope. The Pope may in fact be mistaken, he could even become a heretic, he could also go mad. Even in a Pope who has been proclaimed as a saint (such as in the case of John Paul II), we Catholics are well able to see areas of shadow. Because we are truly free. As you will have noted, among the accusations made against the ex-nuncio to the United States, Carlo Maria Viganò, after the publication of his memorial, there was the accusation of perjury. The Monsignor would have committed perjury, according to his detractors, because he had sworn fidelity to the Pope and then revolted against him, even to the point of accusing him. But even here there is an equivocation raised to the level of art. It is true: every cleric, and even more so those who work for the diplomatic service of the Holy See, swears fidelity to the Pope, but this oath certainly can no longer apply from the moment that the cleric becomes aware that the Pope is working not to confirm the brethren in the faith but rather to confound them, not to transmit correct doctrine but rather to transmit his own personal ideas, not to entrust the Church to the care of holy pastors but rather to place her in the hands of morally corrupt men. If we did not have this liberty of decision, we Catholics would not be children of the Church but members of a sect. And yet to say these things today exposes you to accusations of every sort.

The Pope may in fact be mistaken, he could even become a heretic, he could also go mad.

Q. For example?

A. They have called me a traitor, a hypocrite, and false. Obviously, given that these accusations come from the enemies of the Church, I consider all of these accusations like medals of honor in the defense of the Truth. But when these accusations are made by Catholics it makes you aware of the level of degradation to which we have fallen. Let alone the hackneyed, more usual accusations of being rigid and a traditionalist. But I ask myself: Is a Catholic able to not be rigid and traditionalist? No, it is not possible. Divine law is one, and we cannot bend it according to convenience using the principles of relativism. The commandments were written in stone. And the Tradition is the instrument through which Holy Mother Church, like every good mother, guards and transmits what is good for her children, in order to protect them from evil and to save their souls. Here we are not reasoning as theologians, since neither of us is one, but simply as people of common sense.

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Q. A common sense that in today’s world seems to be increasingly rare, almost anathema…

A. The fact is that we are living in a world turned upside down, where they want to make you think that what is evil is really good or else they say that good and evil in themselves do not exist; they exist only in the subjective condition in which each individual lives his own given reality. In this way the notion of sin itself is liquidated and the person is abandoned to moral disarray. Once the reference points have disappeared, one enters into the realm of subjectivism, within which the only recognized law is that of following one’s own impulses, and also spontaneism, which says that if an act is performed on the basis of a personal and free choice it is therefore good. But in this way everything becomes justifiable. In this regard, the magisterium of Benedict XVI was very clear, but the world rejected it, and what’s more it condemned the pope as fanatic who had no heart. All that I observe leads me to say that the Church has unfortunately taken, for quite some time now, the path of relativism that Benedict XVI has always forcefully condemned, for example in his homily during the Mass for the Election of the Roman Pontiff opening the conclave on April 18, 2005.

In this world turned upside down, I sometimes stop and look around and wonder, am I perhaps the one who is crazy? I’m serious: in the present religious and cultural context in which affirming that objective good and evil exist makes people look at you as a leper and causes you to be excluded from the civil forum, I am often led to doubt myself. Thank goodness there are some other people who have also come out of their catacomb, who are asking the same questions and have the same perplexity. And thus, we recognize each other, we support each other, and we also find the strength to react and to fight. I am thinking of the words of Chesterton: Fires will be kindled to testify that two and two make four. Swords will be unsheathed to prove that leaves are green in summer.

It would seem that we have now reached that point. Certainly, there is a crisis of faith, but before that there is a profound crisis of reason. And that makes even more important the need for solidarity among us, we who obstinately say that two and two make four and not that two and two generally make four but at times it also makes five.

Q. What do you think of the problem of traditionalists vs. progressives confrontation?

A. This is by no means a key problem. These are only labels, widely used by those who, either not knowing how to or not wanting to debate, take refuge in prefabricated slogans. After all, today the mere fact of having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often more than enough for one to labeled as fundamentalist.

This bombshell interview ran in the September 30th Remnant Newspaper. Only 20% of the newspaper ever appears online -- Subscribe today!new subscription ad

The problem is very simple: who and what do we want to take as the decisive point of reference for our lives? God or man? The eternal divine law or the caprices of the creature? The objectivity of good and evil or the subjectivism which justifies everything? I know so many good and faithful Catholics who, when I ask these questions, look at me in a daze. They are not accustomed to framing the question in these terms. The so-called Church paradigm which has been rolled out in the course of just a few years is imposed as an ideology which focuses on giving social assistance and avoids the big questions.

It is no coincidence that in our churches nobody speaks any longer about the End Times, the Last Things. They are interested only in the penultimate things, the things having to do with here and now, not eternal life. And thus, one arrives at the paradox of seeing lay people recalling priests and bishops to their duty of lifting up their gaze towards the Absolute, advising them not to speak as if they were experts on the economy or trade unions or ecology.

Therefore, enough with lectures about respect for the environment, the duties of finance, social injustices, on welcoming migrants etc. I ask the Church and her pastors to return speaking to me about the salvation of my soul. I want them to confirm me in the faith, because that is their duty. And I, as a faithful, have the right and duty to make this request.

Q. It would seem then that the Church, or to be more precise, a portion of Her clergy, is radically changing Her position…

A. In this regard an interesting coincidence comes to my mind. Pius XII, encyclical Meminisse Iuvat (1958) recommends that, in the midst of the waves of this world, the boat of the Church should remain immobile, firm in the faith and without yielding. I noted the year of the encyclical because it is also the year I was born. But today, asking Her to remain immobile, as Pius XII did, sounds like a blasphemy or provokes a laugh of derision. Today, they say, the Church ought to be … going out … dynamic … listening … not self-referential etc. But where are these formulations taking us? They are taking us towards the sad reality that the Church is losing old believers without finding any new ones. This is why, and in what sense, I feel that I have become traditionalist, that is, anchored strongly to a Church which cannot and should not offer discounts, because if she begins to offer discounts she loses herself and her mission, which is not to change society but rather to save souls. It seems obvious that the Church must rediscover herself and, faced with clerics who have lost their identity, it falls to us as laity to take over the helm.

get ready for rome

Q. And how all this should come about in your opinion?

A. As a pre-requisite, I believe that it is necessary for us lay people to take sides. Almost every day I meet people who say to me: I understand your perplexity, but it is better not to speak of these things, we ought to just pray and wait for everything to pass. I do not agree with this position. As I have already said, it is not only the right but also the duty of the baptized to intervene in the defense of truth, of right doctrine, of correct liturgy.

We need to understand that the habitual state of affairs is now one of internal conflict. Once upon a time the Catholic had to deal with the atheist, with the anti-clerical, but now we must deal with other self-styled Catholics who in reality are probably Protestants or even worse. In my time they taught us that whoever receives Confirmation becomes a soldier of Christ. That’s it: we need to return to being soldiers of Christ. We cannot permit ourselves to be passive, nor to live quietly. They will tell us: You are like the Crusaders!

Yes, this is exactly what we must be.

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Last modified on Friday, September 27, 2019