On Easter Monday, in St Peter’s Square crowded with 50,000 adolescents awaiting the Pope, the Italian Episcopal Conference set up a performance by the nineteen-year-old rapper called Blanco (Riccardo Fabbriconi). The prevailing themes in rap music are generally political and social, expressed in an aggressive language and loaded with sexual references. Blanco won the 2022 Sanremo Festival with “Brividi”, a song that places homosexuality and heterosexuality on the same level.
Cristina Siccardi commented on the episode on Corrispondenza Romana in the following words: “The attempt to win the regard of teenagers, mostly wrapped up in a cynical, transgressive, anti-human and even violent culture, is not only a concession to the LGBTQ movements, but a real blasphemy: the precinct of St Peter’s Basilica is off limits for anyone who speaks out in words full of hostility, depravity, profanity, obscenity. The nightmare being lived out deliberately by the generation of the children of the infernal contemporary character Lampwick is also being lived out, but inadvertently, by the Church, overwhelmed by the fashions, chaos and masochism of an age with no sense of reason or of the sacred. By now all contact has been lost with the reality of the Gospel, and therefore with everything that Jesus truly taught: for example, the good shepherd seeks out and finds the lost sheep, it is not the latter that leads astray the other ninety-nine. Moreover, an incontrovertible fact remains: just as one cannot serve two masters (God and the world), so also one cannot at the same time present both Heaven and Hell as the ultimate goal.”
To this accurate portrayal by Cristina Siccardi we would add a few other considerations. Blanco’s performance seems to be an act of desecration similar to that of 8 December 2015, when an ecological presentation called “Fiat lux” in St Peter’s Square projected the strangest images onto the facade of the basilica, including clownfish and sea turtles, as if to evoke the liquefaction of the Church’s structures. Indeed, this is what is taking place: a process of self-destruction by the Church in which the rock seems to crumble and erode away, no longer offering any secure foothold in the deluge of confusion that overwhelms everything.
This self-destruction, for which Church leaders themselves are responsible, is part of an historical process that involves the whole West and that today has its most sensational expression in what is referred to as “cancel culture”, aiming to destroy our values and our convictions, starting with the Christian roots of Western society. Thus the Columbus Day celebration in America is equated with the celebration of a genocide. They are guilty of genocide, the conquistadors who brought their Christian faith and civilisation to the two Americas.
Shortly before his election as pope, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger denounced “the self-hatred of the West, which is strange and can be considered only as something pathological; the West is trying in a laudable way to be open-minded towards the values of others, but it no longer loves itself; in its history it now sees only what is deplorable and destructive, no longer capable of perceiving what is great and pure. Europe needs a new – certainly critical and humble – acceptance of itself if it really wants to survive”. (Joseph Ratzinger, Europa – I suoi fondamenti oggi e domani, Edizioni San Paolo, Alba 2004, p.28)
What Cardinal Ratzinger said about the West, Pope Benedict XVI could have said, but did not say, about the pathological hatred that the Church seems to harbour for itself: “the Church”, to paraphrase his words, “is indeed trying commendably to be open and understanding towards the values of others, but it no longer loves itself; in its own history it now sees only what is deplorable and destructive, no longer capable of perceiving what is great and pure”.
Suicide of the West points to the self-destruction of the Church. The suicide of the West that so many are talking about now goes back a long way, but if we want to give it a starting date we could set this as 1968, the year of the Cultural Revolution in the American and European universities, where professors and students began to deconstruct the principles and institutions that over the centuries had made Western civilisation great.
The process of the Church’s self-destruction does not follow but rather precedes and touches off the suicide of the West. It, too, goes back a long way and if we want to identify a symbolic date in this case we must return to October sixty years ago when the II Vatican Council opened in St Peter’s Square, under the delusion of opening a window to the world and letting a bit of fresh air into the Church. Back then it would have seemed blasphemous, but today it seems normal that in that same St Peter’s Square there would be a rapper performing, who celebrates disordered affections, profane love devoid of any moral compass, “one hundred percent free”, as he himself has called it.
This love has nothing to do with the love of God and neighbour that Our Lord proclaimed to us. The show that took place at St Peter’s on 18 April expresses the spirit of secularisation that has entered the Church and is leading the West to its death. Young people do not need Blanco’s vulgarity, but a serious appeal to holiness and heroism, which they will be able to find only when the Church finally proclaims to the world the entirety of the Gospel of Christ.