Professor Roberto de Mattei wrote an article in his style, published on Feb. 12, with the title “Motus in fine velocior“, the great Latin expression that explains both physical reality and historical events – that is, that speed of change increases with the end of a historical era. We reproduce the article at the end of this post.
For years, Prof. de Mattei had been presenting, without receiving anything in return, a special program at Italian Catholic radio network Radio Maria dedicated to an exploration of the Christian roots of Europe. Radio Maria‘s director, Fr. Livio Fanzaga, considered “Motus in fine velocior“, an op-ed published elsewhere, a step too far – the letter telling de Mattei of his removal is available below. De Mattei responded on the same day, and his letter is also available below; in it, he warns Fr. Fanzaga that, with the increasing speed of critical events, also he and his radio station will be soon forced to take a stand.
Two writers who are also bewildered by the situation in the Church in the past year, Alessandro Gnocchi and Mario Palmaro, had been fired by Radio Maria in October 2013 (we mentioned this shortly afterwards).
This is the new “Church of Tolerance and Mercy”!
We in Rorate have often posted op-eds by Prof. de Mattei. We do not always agree with every single opinion point he makes. But this does not mean his voice is to be silenced. Those who love most the Roman Church, her history and her prerogatives are those to whom no tolerance is to be granted right now. No mercy for them, despite their ceaseless loyalty to the Roman See. No “who am I to judge” for their heartfelt motivations. “Should not the great Church also allow herself to be generous in the knowledge of her great breadth, in the knowledge of the promise made to her? Should not we, as good educators, also be capable of overlooking various faults and making every effort to open up broader vistas? And should we not admit that some unpleasant things have also emerged in Church circles? At times one gets the impression that our society needs to have at least one group to which no tolerance may be shown; which one can easily attack and hate.” (Benedict XVI, Letter to Bishops, 2009)
1.Letter of Removal from Director of Radio Maria to Prof. de Mattei.
2.Responding Letter from Prof. de Mattei to Radio Director.
3. Article “Motus in fine velocior”, by Prof. de Mattei.
- Letter of Removal from the Director of Radio Maria to Prof. de Mattei.
Dear Prof. Roberto de Mattei,
I read your recent article “Motus in fine velocior”, and I noticed the way you have continuously increased your critical position regarding the Pontificate of Pope Francis. I am very displeased with this, and would have wished you put your great cultural competence at the service of the Successor of Peter. You will understand, dear Professor, that your position is incompatible with a presence in Radio Maria, which calls for, in its guiding principles, adherence not only to the Magisterium of the Church, but also support for the pastoral action of the Supreme Pontiff.
Regretfully and bound by conscience, I must suspend your monthly broadcast, while thanking you, also in the name of listeners, for your deep effort, as a voluntary, in the study of the Christian roots of Europe.
Dear Professor, if your approach regarding the current Pontificate should change and become more positive, there would be no difficulty for you to resume your broadcast.
Father Livio Fanzaga (Director)
- Responding Letter from Prof. de Mattei to Radio Director.
Dear Father Livio,
With an e-mail message of February 13, you tell me that you have decided to suspend the program “Radici Cristiane” [Christian Roots] at Radio Maria, because I “have continuously increased” my “critical position regarding the Pontificate of Pope Francis.” “Your position” — you write — “is incompatible with a presence in Radio Maria, which calls for, in its guiding principles, adherence not only to the Magisterium of the Church, but also support for the pastoral action of the Supreme Pontiff.”
First of all, I thank you for the invitation you offered me four years ago to conduct the transmission “Radici Cristiane” on Radio Maria. Since then, until last January 15, every third Wednesday of the month, I had tried to carry out to the best of my ability, the task that you had entrusted to me, by developing themes of a historical nature, apologetics and a spiritual and moral defense of the Church and Christian civilization. I thank you also for having publically defended me when, as a result of some of my transmissions, I was violently attacked by the secular press. All of my activity and apostolate has been and remains at the service of the Church and the Roman Pontiff, to whom I dedicated my latest book, Vicar of Christ: The Papacy – Normality and Exception Devotion to the Papacy is an essential part of my spiritual life.
Catholic doctrine teaches us however, that the Pope is infallible only in determined conditions and he can make mistakes, in the sphere of ecclesiastic politics for example, in strategic choices, in pastoral action and even in ordinary magisterium. In these cases it is not a sin, but a duty of conscience for a Catholic to criticize, provided that it is done with the maximum respect and love due to the Supreme Pontiff. The saints did so, and they have to be our models.
The Church allows Her children this freedom to criticize, and it is not a sin if one points out, with due respect, the faults of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Instead, the one who is silent because of cowardice or conformism, does sin. The drama in the Church today is precisely the fear in priests and bishops, who constitute the pars electa of the Church, in denouncing the terrible crisis which is occurring, identifying its causes and proposing solutions.
I re-read the article which represents the reason for my dismissal – and it seems to me that there is nothing disrespectful in it towards the reigning Pontiff, but simply some considerations of a historical nature more than theological, motivated by a pure love for the Truth. Besides, I did not express my concerns about the actual situation in the Church on my monthly Radio Maria transmission, but on my own information agency.
Dear Father Livio, you have every right to dismiss me from your radio, but it would have been better if you had done it without motivations, rather than advance such weak reasons, which are, if I may say so, unfounded. This incident does not bode well for you and I am truly sorry about it.
The motion of events has accelerated at an increasingly faster pace and sooner or later the whirlwind will involve you and Radio Maria, constraining you to assume, in one way or the other, positions, which you are deluded in thinking can be avoided. The time will come, however, when one has to take sides. [Emphasis added] As far as I am concerned, I shall continue to exercise my Christian freedom, to defend the faith that I have received with my baptism and is the thing I hold dearest.
May the Holy Spirit help me never to succumb to any pressure or flattery, and never cease to state the truth, and to state it as loud as the silence of those who should be giving voice to it.
With deepest respect,
Roberto de Mattei
- Article “Motus in fine velocior“, by Prof. de Mattei.
Motus in fine velocior
by Roberto de Mattei [Feb. 12. 2014]
February 11, 2013, is a date which has entered history. It was on that day that Benedict XVI communicated to an assembly of astonished cardinals his decision to renounce the pontificate. The announcement was received “like lightning in a serene sky,” according to the words addressed to the Pope by the cardinal deacon Angelo Sodano, and the image of lightning which, that very day, had struck the Basilica of St. Peter, spread throughout the world.
The abdication occurred on February 28, but before this Benedict XVI announced that he wanted to remain in the Vatican as Pope emeritus, something that had never happened before and which was more surprising than the renouncement of the pontificate. In the intervening month, between the announcement of the abdication and the opening of the conclave on March 12, the election of the new Pontiff was prepared for, even if it appeared to the world to be something unexpected. More surprising than the identity of the one elected, Jorge Mario Bergolio from Argentina, was the new name chosen by him, Francis, almost as if to represent an unicum, and what struck the people most of all was his first speech in which, after a colloquial “good evening,” he introduced himself as “bishop of Rome,” a title which is due to the Pope, but only after that of Vicar of Christ and successor of Peter, which constitute its presupposition.
The photographs of the two Popes who prayed together on March 23 at Castelgandolfo, offering the image of a new papal “diarchy,” increased the confusion of those days. But that was only the beginning. There was the interview on the return flight from Rio de Janeiro, July 28, 2013, with the words “who am I to judge!” destined to be used to justify every transgression. There followed the interviews of Pope Francis by the director of “Civiltà Cattolica” in September and the one by the founder of daily “La Repubblica” in October, which had a greater mass media impact than his first encyclical Lumen fidei. It is said that they were not magisterial acts, but all that has happened in the Church from that time derives, above all, from those interviews which had a magisterial character, in actuality if not in principle.
The encounter between Cardinal [-elect Gerhard] Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Faith, and the Cardinal Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, coordinator of the counsellors for the reforms of Pope Francis, has brought the confusion to its head. The traditional doctrine, according to Maradiaga, is not sufficient to offer “replies for the world of today.” It will be maintained, but there are “pastoral challenges” adapted to certain times which one cannot respond to “by authoritarianism and moralism” because this “is not the new evangelization.”
The declarations of Cardinal Maradiaga were followed by the results of the survey on the pastoral challenges of the family promoted by the Pope for the Synod of Bishops of October 9-15. SIR (Service of religious information [the news agency of the Italian Episcopal Conference]) has released a summary of the first replies which have arrived from Central Europe. For the Belgian, Swiss, Luxembourger and German bishops, the Catholic faith is too rigid and does not correspond to the needs of the faithful. The Church should accept pre-marital cohabitation, recognise homosexual marriage, accept birth control and contraception, bless the second marriages of divorcees and permit them to receive the sacraments.
If this is the road which one wishes to take, it is the moment to say that we are speaking of a road that leads to schism and heresy, because it would deny the divine and natural faith, which in its commandments not only affirms the indissolubility of matrimony, but also prohibits sexual acts outside of it, and even more so if they are against nature. The Church welcomes all those who repent of their sins and who propose to break with the moral disorder in which they find themselves, but can in no way justify the status of the sinner. It would be useless to affirm that the change would regard only the pastoral praxis and not the doctrine. If correspondence is lacking between the doctrine and the praxis, this means to say that it is the praxis which makes the doctrine as has already been happening, unfortunately, since the II Vatican Council until now.
Must the Church give replies which are new and “in step with the times”? Very differently did the great reformers in the history of the Church behave, such as St. Peter Damian and St. Gregory the Great who, in the 11th century, would have had to justify the simony and nicolaism of the priests, in order not to render the Church alien to the reality of their time, and instead they denounced these wounds with words of fire, starting the reform of customs and the restoration of sound doctrine.
It is the spirit, intransigent and without compromise, of the Saints which today is dramatically absent. An acies ordinata is necessary, an army ready for battle which taking up the weapons of the Gospel, will announce words of life to the modern world that dies, instead of embracing its dead body. Between the Council of Trent and the French Revolution, the Jesuits offered this nucleus of combatants for the Church. Today all the religious orders suffer decadence, and if, amongst these, one appears rich in promise, it is inexplicably suppressed. The case of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, which exploded in July, has brought to light an evident contradiction between the continuous reminders of Pope Francis for mercy, and the stick assigned to the commissioner, Fidenzio Volpi, to annihilate one of the few religious institutes still blossoming today.
The paradox does not end there. Never before as in the first year of the pontificate of Pope Francis, has the Church so renounced one of its divine attributes, that of justice, to present itself to the world as being merciful and benedictory, but never before as in this year has the Church been the object of such violent attacks from the world towards which it extends its hand.
Homosexual marriage, being claimed by all the great international organizations and by almost all of the western governments, contradicts head-on, not only the faith of the Church, but the very natural and divine law which is written in the heart of every man. What are the great mass mobilizations which occurred above all in France with the Manif pour tous, but the reaction of the conscience of a people to a legislation which is both unjust and against nature? But the immoralist lobbies are not satisfied with this. What matters to them is not the affirmation of the presumed homosexual rights, as much as the negation of the rights of humans and of Christians.Christianos esse non licet: the blasphemous cry which was made by Nero and Voltaire, re-echoes in the world today, whilst Jorge Mario Bergoglio is chosen by the worldly magazines as man of the year.
The events succeed one another more quickly. The latin motus in fine velocior is commonly used to indicate the faster passing of the time at the end of an historical period. The multiplication of events, in fact, shortens the course of time, which in itself does not exist outside of the things that flow. Time, says Aristotle, is the measure of movement (Physics, IV, 219 b). More precisely we define it as the duration of changeable things. God is eternal precisely because He is immutable: every moment has its cause in Him, but nothing in Him changes. The more one distances himself from God the more chaos, produced by the change, increases.
February 11 marked the start of an acceleration of time, which is the consequence of a movement which is becoming vertiginous. We are living through an historical hour which is not necessarily the end of times, but certainly the end of a civilization and the termination of an epoch in the life of the Church. If at the end of this epoch, the clergy and lay Catholics do not take their responsibility very seriously, there will inevitably be realised that fate which the visionary of Fatima saw unveiled before her own eyes:
“And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father.’ Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious were going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.”
The dramatic vision of May 13 should be more than sufficient to urge us to meditate, pray and act. The city is already in ruins and the enemy soldiers are at the gates. He who loves the Church, let him defend Her, to hasten the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.