I feel the need to offer a preface to the following text, the latest essay from Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, because I have recently been accused of being an opponent of his. This is not true, but the misperception is a consequence of public comments I have made to the effect that he now speaks so frequently that he has degraded himself from prophet to pundit and that he has consequently lost some of his force.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with punditry — after all, I would likely be considered a part of that class myself. But what Viganò brought us in the moment of that initial groundbreaking testimony in August of 2018 was something totally unique: the unvarnished perspective of an insider who understood how deep the corruption in the Church had really become, and who knew where all the bodies were buried. I disliked seeing the potency of his witness diluted through what seemed like too frequent commentary on various and sundry topics, often with a political edge.
And I have become very cynical about the amount of talk the few prelates willing to speak out have offered about our unprecedented crisis. Letters and essays and petitions abound, but nothing changes.
When I saw this morning that Viganò had released yet another statement, just a few days after his letter to President Trump, my first reaction was a sort of amused incredulity. Wasn’t he just proving my point?
But then I received the text from Giuseppe Pellegrino, who translated it for publication on Marco Tosatti’s website. I was given the gracious permission to publish it myself, and so I set about the task of reading.
And I have to apologize. Because Viganò the prophet is the author of this document.
This may be the most important thing he’s written. It’s hard to compare it, because it’s so different, to his original testimony. Each accomplishes something quite different. Perhaps neither is more or less important than the other, but both are vital in different ways.
In today’s text, we see the calmest, most succinct, most direct acknowledgment of what the Second Vatican Council has wrought that I have ever read from a member of the episcopacy. Traditionalists have often lamented that even our “heroes” within the Church are conciliar apologists, almost to a man. Here, in one serene and carefully considered text, Viganò shrugs that off and makes clear that in order for us to address what we are facing, we must all do the same:
“There comes a moment in our life when, through the disposition of Providence, we are faced with a decisive choice for the future of the Church and for our eternal salvation. I speak of the choice between understanding the error into which practically all of us have fallen, almost always without evil intentions, and wanting to continue to look the other way or justify ourselves.”
In only 4,000 words, Viganò addresses ecumenism, the Assisi events, Pachamama, the liturgy, the Abu Dhabi statement, the attempted change to the death penalty teaching, Bergoglio’s election as a triumph of revolution, the failed dubia attempt, and even the long-disputed question of subsistit in!
In one of the most powerful paragraphs of the text, he lays the origins of the problems we face at the feet of the Council itself:
“[I]t is surprising that people persist in not wanting to investigate the root causes of the present crisis, limiting themselves to deploring the present excesses as if they were not the logical and inevitable consequence of a plan orchestrated decades ago. If the pachamama could be adored in a church, we owe it to Dignitatis Humanae. If we have a liturgy that is Protestantized and at times even paganized, we owe it to the revolutionary action of Msgr. Annibale Bugnini and to the post-conciliar reforms. If the Abu Dhabi Declaration was signed, we owe it to Nostra Aetate. If we have come to the point of delegating decisions to the Bishops’ Conferences – even in grave violation of the Concordat, as happened in Italy – we owe it to collegiality, and to its updated version, synodality. Thanks to synodality, we found ourselves with Amoris Laetitia having to look for a way to prevent what was obvious to everyone from appearing: that this document, prepared by an impressive organizational machine, intended to legitimize Communion for the divorced and cohabiting, just as Querida Amazonia will be used to legitimize women priests (as in the recent case of an “episcopal vicaress” in Freiburg) and the abolition of Sacred Celibacy. The Prelates who sent the Dubia to Francis, in my opinion, demonstrated the same pious ingenuousness: thinking that Bergoglio, when confronted with the reasonably argued contestation of the error, would understand, correct the heterodox points, and ask for forgiveness.”
Viganò acknowledges, in clear and unequivocal language, how “disconcerting” it is that we are in a “race towards the abyss” in which those at “the highest levels of the Church” have responsibility for “supporting these anti-Christian ideologies.”
This is, I believe, an historic text. I had the sense as I was reading it that it could signal a turning point — a lifting of the veil. We all know — we can all feel — that the pre- and post-conciliar variants of Catholicism are not the same religion. Viganò, rather than admonishing us to attempt to rationalize and reconcile these differences, gives us permission to call a spade a spade (emphasis added):
“It is no accident: what these men affirm with impunity, scandalizing moderates, is what Catholics also believe, namely: that despite all the efforts of the hermeneutic of continuity which shipwrecked miserably at the first confrontation with the reality of the present crisis, it is undeniable that from Vatican II onwards a parallel church was built, superimposed over and diametrically opposed to the true Church of Christ.”
The full text of Viganò’s essay is below. I offer my profound gratitude to Marco Tosatti and Giuseppe Pellegrino for allowing us to reprint it here, and to His Excellency for having the courage and clarity to write it. May it open a great many eyes.
Source: OnePeterFive – Steve Skoyec (excerpts)