Balthasar’s Delirious Hope that All be Saved

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An article by Dr. Christopher Malloy from http://www.theologicalflint.com

Hans Urs von Balthasar’s work has been gaining steady influence in the Church. Whoever reads his work must be impressed by his erudition and the vast sweep of his vision. And indeed he has many insights and has pioneered a way of doing theology that ought to be taken up in many of its respects, the criticisms here notwithstanding.

However, his work smacks of contradiction to the faith of the Church on a number of key points. And in other matters he has been wildly reckless. One topic on which he has been both utterly reckless and also – by any sober estimation – at odds with elements of the faith of the Church is on his hope that all may be saved.

I must summarize his argument and position here. The presentation could of course be developed more fully – but then again, so could the criticisms to follow.

Balthasar argues, to begin, that since we may hope – regarding each person – that he may be saved, we may hope that all persons may be saved. The argument seems logical (unless you have studied logic): If I may hope for each man that he can be saved, I may hope that the whole lot of men can be saved.

He further contends that this hope is not contradicted by any teaching of revelation or the Magisterium, for, he contends, the Magisterium has never declared that anyone is in hell, much less pronounced on any individual.

Of course, the ready critic will immediately bring up a terrible text such as Matthew 25 – where the sheep go off to eternal life and the goats are sent into the fires of hell. Balthasar has a quick response (Dare We Hope, 21ff; Theo-Drama V, 316ff). First, he allies himself with a favorite theological antagonist of his – Karl Rahner. Rahner found a way to “demythologize” such plain texts by way of Heideggerian existentials. (Too bad for the chaps who can’t read Being and Time – they wear themselves out to no purpose. Poor Francis Xavier. Perhaps he could have enjoyed some espresso on the beach.) Back to Balthasar – who, after all, did chastise Rahner, and quite rightly, for his undue optimism and the mechanical automatism of the supernatural existential. Yes, back to Balthasar. He calls on Rahner’s “demythologizing” or rather “de-apocalypticizing”, according to which texts such as Mt 25 are not at all predictive. The texts are not “advanced reports,” they cynically maintain. The texts are only warnings.

Second, Balthasar counters texts such as Mt 25 with texts such as 1 Tim 2:3f which indicate God’s will that all be saved. Thus, there are, he observes, two sets of texts. Balthasar then takes shelter behind some historical critical work. (Once again, since the conclusion favors him on this occasion, he makes friends with those whom he often elsewhere lambasts.) That work, Balthasar contends, suggests that the two sets of texts cluster in two different phases of the Christian self-understanding. The harsh set of texts (Mt 25) clusters around the pre-Easter message of Jesus. The texts regarding God’s universal mercy cluster around the post-Easter Jesus. Hence, Balthasar contends, the harsh set does not adequately represent the scope of hope we may place in Christ’s redeeming act. But the second set does.

At this point, the facile critic denounces Balthasar as a “universalist”. He is not so foolish – at least on this point. Or, at least not on this score! For other lines of his thought do entail universalism, despite his pleas that he is no universalist. (He pleas, that is, that he is unsure of the outcome, which hangs in the balance.) Here, Balthasar simply contends that the two sets of texts cannot be gathered into a higher “system” of unity. Thus, we are left to submit ourselves to the two sets, recognizing that we are all “under judgment”. We cannot know the outcome for our own lives, let alone that of any other person. But we know we are threatened with judgment and promised mercy. How will we live in response? Thus, Balthasar says that he is not pronouncing any certain outcome. Rather, he is holding out the “hope” that all might be saved at last.

We ought, next, take a look at what he understands to be the mechanism of salvation. For Balthasar, that mechanism is this: Jesus Christ takes on our sins. Not just our punishment for sin but our waywardness, our very sins. Balthasar tries to walk as far with Luther and Calvin – with Barth! – as he thinks he can. He does part with Luther, who claimed that Christ became sin itself. However, Balthasar mirrors Luther in a number of respects in this regard. He holds with Barth and Calvin, and seemingly Luther, that Jesus experienced damnation on our behalf. The manifold agony on the Cross was apparently not enough, though our Lord said it was enough. No, our Lord had to suffer damnation on top of it. Be that as it may, Christ accomplishes our redemption by “removing” our sin from us and “letting it be” by itself. How can “sin” be “removed” from a man and “let be”? What is sin, such that it can be removed? Balthasar submits, sin is “a reality” (Dare We Hope, 137; Mysterium Paschale, 173; Theo-Drama V, 314). Balthasar thereby rejects the traditional notion of sin as a privation of a due good in human action, as this privation regards what is owed to God. Nope – it is a reality! I.e., a really existing thing? Well, it must be, since, Balthasar alleges, Christ removes this reality from the sinner and “lets it be” by itself. What remains is saved. If there is any ounce of good will in you, then you will be saved. If you love puppies in New York, and rescue them, you have something non-malicious about you. Clearly, he who loves puppies, or daffodils, in New York, must not be perfectly malicious. The only way that you the sinner can be damned is if you identify yourself with that horrific, malicious sin that is the pure “non serviam”. Only if you identify yourself with that shrieking horror of sin can you be damned. (I am reminded of Munch’s The Scream.) And if you do not manage this act of total identification with your absolute “no”, then you will be saved. (Poor St. Monica, worrying herself about the eternal loss of Augustine. Surely he had some affection for his lover? And for Adeodatus? Monica need not have shed those tears.)

And what is hell, for Balthasar? It is just that “sin itself, existing in its own ‘Non Serviam.’” Pure Evil, as it were, created by Christ’s redeeming act.

In his many horned approach to this issue, Balthasar also examines what it means for hell to be without end. He allows himself to contradict himself – in the same text. For at one point he says that we must admit that hell is eternal. But at another point considers the idea that its infinity is one of intensity and not necessarily one of duration. The pain seems like it shall be without end but it may actually come to an end. This is to liken hell to Purgatory (TD V, 314). It is unlikely, he adds, that anyone will forever choose to be isolated from Christ’s redeem act. After all, Christ went down to the damned, he says (Theological Explorations IV, 421f, 462f; DWH 26, 178 Wainrwright, Cambridge Companion, 124). And Christ cannot allow the damned sinner to remain forever unrepentant (TD V, 277, 284, 303f, 307, 311-13). At some point, the (damned) sinner will crack open, capitulate. If this happens, hell shall have been of infinite intensity, not of infinite duration (See TD V, 298-314).

Finally, Balthasar examines the infinite love of God. If God infinitely loves man, then what would He do were man not to repent? What would God do? His love would have been thwarted, frustrated, in vain. With these lines of thought, Balthasar retracts his earlier avowal that the outcome is not certain.

Alright – so much for the summary. There are some positive aspects to his thought. For one, unlike the optimists who follow Rahner, he takes hell as a threat rather seriously. Second, he encourages the Christian to enter into redemptive suffering as much and as deeply as possible for others. (This is the single greatest point in his reflections – and one worth taking home. We are called as Christians to pray for one another, to intercede for one another, to take on suffering that grace may fall from heaven on a hardened sinner. Personal holiness and concern for neighbor – for every neighbor – go hand in hand. This call is evident in Balthasar’s work, and it is one good reason that good people find his theology attractive. However, it should be noted that this good encouragement is not something that requires one to hold Balthasar’s thesis. Rather, it is separable and already taught by the Tradition.) Third, he states that God predestines no one to go to hell. This is a truism, but in some contexts it is important to remind people of this.

 

But on so many issues regarding his “hope,” Balthasar is misleading, in error, and reckless. First, the fact is that any unrepented mortal sin entails eternal damnation. We are not damned only for sheer malice. We are not damned only for identifying ourselves with a “no”. If someone simply wants to have one romping time in fornication, and forgets about John the Baptist, and dies, one has merited eternal damnation in hell. In rejecting optimistic fundamental option theories, John Paul II rejects Balthasar’s notion of the necessary condition for damnation (see Veritatis splendor, art. 68; but this teaching belongs to the entire tradition).

Second, the Rahnerian reduction of the texts regarding the future, like Rahner’s reduction of the texts regarding the origins of the human race, are a species of modernism. Compare Rahner’s reading of the future and the past as solely a reflection on present religious experience (i.e., that of the sacred writer) with the holy teaching of Pope St. Pius X in Pascendi, a text well worth re-reading. We might add: These texts are “minatory” (i.e. warnings) because they are predictive. Just read the Epistle of Jude. The men of Sodom serve as a warning presently by undergoing torment of eternal punishment.

What of those universalist texts? The tradition – from Damascene to Aquinas to the 1950’s – read these texts according to the distinction between God’s will antecedently considered and consequently considered. We can consider what God wills to man as object of his love – salvation. We can consider what God wills to man as having responded or not responded to his love – salvation or damnation. The distinction is no doubt subtle, but it does not play fast and loose with either set of texts. Rather, it recognizes that God wills that all be saved and supplies the grace sufficient to realize this outcome, and it recognizes that not all will in fact avail themselves of this grace. There are many Catholic views on predestination, but these basics are accepted by all. Peer into the matter more deeply, and one discovers that the Magisterium accepts that God reprobates some: He permits some to fall. (Some is a logical category, meaning there are some – not necessarily, and probably not, few – that God permits to fall.)

Third, sin is not “a reality” as Balthasar makes out. It is not a “thing” that can “exist by itself as a pure negation”. That is simply nonsense. Take any sinful action and examine it: You will find that it has positive physical aspects (a knife, blood, a hand, etc.) but that it lacks due order (the man was innocent, the one who killed was not appointed by lawful authority, etc.). It is the lack of due order or reference to a due end that constitutes the evil. Also note that God creates all things or he does not. To say he does not is false, heretical, and blasphemous. But if evil is an “existing thing,” then God creates it. And this is abhorrent. Finally, we simply note that what exists, insofar as it exists, is good. If Balthasar was speaking “phenomenologically,” why did he stress that sin is a reality? It’s kind of like his saying that God changes but doesn’t change, that he is in time but not in time. Which is it? (How long will you hobble on one leg, and then the other? You cannot serve two masters. Metaphor is not proper analogy. Let your yes be yes. Anything more….)

And as for the related claim that Jesus took on our sins themselves – not simply the punishment due to them – here we have Balthasar coming very close to supporting, if not outright supporting, the notion of penal substitution. Perhaps Balthasar avoids claiming the Christ truly became guilty, thus freeing himself from Luther’s blasphemy on this matter. But his assertion that Christ takes on damnation itself cannot square with the truth of hell. Hell is a place of sinful alienation, a place of aversion from the divine good. Christ cannot become averse to the divine good. (On this topic, see Thomas Joseph White, “Jesus’ Cry on the Cross and His Beatific Vision” Nova et Vetera 5 (2007): 573-581.) The Catholic view regarding Christ’s act is that it was atonement, a vicarious act of satisfaction. By his loving obedience, Christ offered the Father a satisfaction sufficient for the forgiveness of infinitely many persons. Thus, he died for all. However, one must receive the fruit of this redemption by being justified in order to benefit from it.

Fourth, Balthasar’s logical inference is invalid. We cannot put more in the conclusion than is present in the premises. We cannot argue from a particular statement (each man) to a universal statement (all men). It is true that every man in Dallas has a chance of going to the season opener next Fall. But not all can go. The stadium has limited seating! Thus, Balthasar’s logic is flawed.

But someone will object that God’s stadium has unlimited seating. How true. But the logic was flawed nonetheless. That is the precise point being made here. The earlier point about the God’s will considered antecedently and consequently addresses this issue of the stadium: God permits some to fall.

But what of the fact that the Magisterium has not declared any particular person to be in hell? The Magisterium has no business making such a declaration. And our ignorance regarding specific individuals is not tantamount to ignorance regarding hell’s population.

So, what of the alleged fact that Magisterium has not declared whether or not “anyone” is in hell? This fact is fiction. The Church teaches that demons are in hell. And demons are persons too. All of Balthasar’s fretting about what God is going to do if a single person is recalcitrant and won’t go to heaven should be applied to his relation to these demons also. For the fact is, they are damned. Nor does the Church pray for them. Nor should anyone pray for them. It would be contrary to God’s will, a sign of a deeply mistaken mind or of a rebellious will. But Truth says, “Let the dead bury their dead.” A fortiori the spiritually double dead – the demonic agents.

But what about human persons? Well, on this point, there are some considerations that may well yield the conclusion that Balthasar overreached in claiming that revelation and the Magisterium have never asserted that any human person is in hell. Exegesis is of course fraught with contention. However, we could point to Jude, as I indicated above:

“Now I desire to remind you, though you were once for all fully informed, that he who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe (tou;V mh; pisteuvsantas ajpwvlesen). And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day; just as Sodom and Gomor’rah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example (πρόκεινται δει̃γμα) by undergoing a punishment (πυρὸς αι̉ωνίου δίκην ύπέχουσαι) of eternal fire.”

The men of Sodom are serving as an example, undergoing punishment of hell. Of course, there is the frequently cited text regarding Judas: better had ne not been born. As Ralph Martin asks, in his excellent book Will Many Be Saved?, how can the text be true unless Judas is damned?

But let us move on to the Magisterium. Consider this text: “Omnipotent God wishes all men without exception to be saved [1 Tim 2:4] although not all will be saved. However, that certain ones are saved, is the gift of the one who saves; that certain ones perish, however, is the deserved punishment of those who perish” (Quiersy Council, A.D. 853, see DS 623).

Again, consider this text: “But although Christ died for all, yet not all receive the benefit of His death, but those only to whom the merit of his passion is communicated” (Trent, VI, chap. 3; DS 1523). See also D # 717b.

Again, consider this text, happily relevant again in the new English Translation of the Novus Ordo: “The additional words for you and for many are taken, some from Matthew, some from Luke, but were joined together by the Catholic church under the guidance of the Spirit of God. They serve to declare the fruit and advantage of His Passion. For if we look to its value, we must confess that the Redeemer shed His blood for the salvation of all; but if we look to the fruit which mankind have received from it, we shall easily find that it pertains not unto all, but to many of the human race. When therefore (our Lord) said: For you, he meant either those who were present, or those chosen from among the Jewish people , such as were, with the exception of Judas, the disciples with whom He was speaking. When He added, And for many, He wished to be understood to mean the remainder of the elect from among the Jews or Gentiles. With reason, therefore, were the words for all not used, as in this place the fruits of the Passion are alone spoken of, and to the elect only did His Passion bring the fruit of salvation.” Catechism of the Council of Trent, Section on the Eucharist

Consider this as well: The following is a proposition of Zanini de Solcia which was rejected by Pius II in 1459: “That all Christians are to be saved”. D – only found in old edition # 717b.

These texts appear – on all counts – to indicate that there will be a twofold division of mankind, the saved and the damned. And, as Ralph Martin contends, the constant Tradition understands the Scriptures and these creedal formulations to indicate a twofold outcome, and one in which the damned will be many in number.

As for Balthasar’s hope that God’s love will undercut the ability of the sinner to persevere in sin (TD V, 284), the Magisterium in the person of Clement XI rejects the following proposition of Paschasius Quesnel: “When God wishes to save a soul, at whatever time and at whatever place, the undoubted effect follows the Will of God”. And “When God wishes to save a soul and touches it with the interior hand of His grace, no human will resists him” (DS 2412f). We could add Trent’s condemnation of irresistible grace as well. (But of course, Balthasar will contend that the grace is resistible, just that it won’t be resisted, that it is practically impossible for it to be resisted, that Christ will wait until the rebel gets tired of rebellion, etc. On these issues, see Thomas Joseph White, “Divine Providence: Von Balthasar and Journet on Grace and Freedom,” Nova et Vetera 4 [2006]: 633-666.)

Finally, I add a proposition condemned by Bl. Pius IX: “Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ” (Condemned proposition #17).

We could add, in this regard, that the unspeakably vast majority of saints concur with these statements. That Origen seems to have gone astray on this issue is a different matter. He wrote before the Church taught. And he took some subtle positions – he debated with himself. Gregory of Nyssa is one of the few who explicitly held the hope that all men might eventually convert to God. But Augustine, Thomas, Bonaventure, Catherine, Teresa, Damascene, Chrysostom, Anselm, Don Bosco, et alia, all considered that hell will be packed with human beings.

And what about the children at Fatima?

Or what about this momentous quote from St. Faustina: “These are the tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings. There are special tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses. Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings, related to the manner in which it has sinned. There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me. Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin. I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like. What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw. But I noticed one thing: that most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell. How terribly souls suffer there! Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the conversion of sinners” (Diary of St. Faustina, 741)?

Fifth, Balthasar paints a false notion of hell’s infinite duration. Essentially, he morphs its infinity of duration into an infinity of intensity. Thereby, he hopes to release some who are already in hell. This is like converting it into Purgatory. In some texts, he seems to want to unchain the demons too. But as I have stated, hell is already populated with demons, and these are damned forever. I conclude with Canon 9 of II Constantinople: “If anyone says or thinks that the punishment of demons and of impious men is only temporary, and will one day have an end, and that a restoration will take place of demons and of impious men, let him be anathema.”

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The Smoke of Satan in the Church

a letter by Mario Palmaro

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What follows is a little unusual, but as it is a central topic in the life of the Church and of our work, we offer it to you knowing well that it requires a considerable effort by those who want understand things thoroughly. Mario Palmaro, a well- known writer to the readers of La Nuova Bussola Quotidiano, wrote me a very long letter to express publically his indignation about the direction the Church is taking, above all regarding the homosexual aggression which is of interest to the whole world. My reply follows this letter, and with it, I do not want to close the discussion, but open it to other input. Palmaro with his friend and colleague, Alessandro Gnocchi, were at the centre of polemics in the past months because of a series of articles in Il Foglio, when they harshly criticized Pope Francis. The Pope himself, then called Palmaro, after discovering that he had a grave illness. Hence, I would like to take the opportunity to ask all our readers to pray for him.
 
Riccardo Cascioli, 
Director of La Nuova Bussola Quotidana
[Catholic online daily]
 
January 8, 2014
Dear Director,
 
I read your editorial of January 3 [2014] – “Renzi – if this is progress!” , and I can only agree with your analysis on the new Secretary of the [Socialist] Democratic Party – his cunning self-confidence, his transformism, the inevitable contradiction between saying he is Catholic and his promotion of things that conflict not only with the Catechism, but with the natural law. I would like to add my appreciation for all that you have been doing for some time now with the Bussola in the face of the homosexual assault, and don’t want to reproach you in any way.
 
However, I feel the need to write to you and your readers. In all honesty: is our problem really Matteo Renzi? Did we really expect that one who becomes Secretary of the Democratic Party, would then set about defending the natural family, the unborn, combating artificial insemination, abortion, and opposing euthanasia? Forgive me, are you actually familiar with the PD electorate which include Catholics on pastoral committees, nuns and parish priests? In your opinion, what does that electorate want from Renzi? It is obvious: “homosexual marriage” and “lesbian-democratic” adoptions. Have you ever listened to the average worker who votes for the left? In your opinion, do they want the defense of natural marriage or do they want council houses for our brother-homosexuals so horribly discriminated against? Let’s stop believing that the problem is Niki Vendola* or the ugly, bad, communist extremists and that it is important to be moderate; the points of reference for the average man are Fabio Fazio* and Luciana Littizzetto*, the Coop, Gino Strada*, Enzo Bianchi* and Eugenio Scalfari*. Renzi puts all these ingredients into his blender, mixes them with doses of homoeopathy from Don Ciotti* and Don Gallo*, and the result is the perfect brew which holds the “little democratic parish” and the Arcigay together. To expect something different from him would be stupid.
 
The scandal, forgive me, is another. Compared to Renzi – the Secretary of the PD who winks at the homosexuals, the scandal is in listening to the exponents of the New Centre Right who are saying: “Civil unions are not a priority for the government”. Do you get it? It is not that the NCD jumps up like a spring and declares: we shall never vote for these unions – ever! No: he says that they are not a priority. Someone meets Hitler who is talking about wanting to construct gas chambers. Does he reply like this: “Look, Adolf, this is not a priority.” We will do that, we will do that too, all in good time”?
 
I watched government minister, Hon. Lupi – a Catholic, who explained the situation on a Rai News program. With a very embarrassed face and the terrified eyes of one who is thinking (but I could be mistaken) : “Damn it! Now I have to talk about the non-negotiable principles and homosexuals, and I’ll end up like Pietro Barilla. I’ll have to leave my strategic and important ministry, where I can do so much good for my country and my movement. And then Lupi takes refuge in that well-known theme called ”priorities”, like all of the other lion-hearts in Angiolino and Roccella’s party: no, civil unions are not a priority.
 
Obviously there’s worse: on the same News programme, there was Scelta Civica (Civic Choice) saying: we have to defend the rights of homosexual people. Scelta Civica, I believe, is that same party created in a rage by Todi 1* and Todi 2*, which the Italian bishops had erected as a new bulwark for the non-negotiable values under the ‘very Catholic’ leadership of Mario Monti. Then we have the worst of the worst. In the same News, there was a ‘lady’ belonging to Forza Italia who triumphantly announced that they would have put their proposals for homosexual rights together with those of Renzi. I heard a distant roll of drums against civil unions from Salvini’s Lega and even more feebly from the Fratelli d’ Italia. The end.
 
No, dear Director, my problem is not Matteo Renzi.
 
My problem is the Catholic Church. The problem is that on the subject of the worldwide outbreak of the homosexual lobby, the Church has fallen silent. We have silence from the Pope to the humblest priest in the peripheries. And if the Pope speaks, the day after Padre Lombardi has to rectify, specify, clarify and differentiate. Please abstain from dusting off letters and declarations made by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio ten years ago. If I find out today that my son takes drugs, what should I say to him: “go and re-read the joint declaration made by me and your mother six years ago when we told you not to take drugs”? Or would I face him and try to shake him immediately as best I can?
 
Dear Director, where are the Episcopal Conference and the bishops in this battle? A deafening silence has fallen upon them. Actually, no: Monsignor Domenico Mogavero, Bishop of Mazara del Vallo, ex-under-secretary to the CEI and canonist – no less – spoke – oh, and how he spoke:
 
The law cannot ignore hundreds and thousands of people cohabitating. It is right that cohabitating couples be recognized also in Italy without putting them on equal terms with families.” For Mogavero, “The State can and must protect the pact that two cohabitants have made between themselves. In contrast to Christian mercy and universal rights – note well – two cohabitants don’t exist for the law. Today, if one of the two is taken to hospital, the other is even denied in the lending care or receiving medical information, as if they were an outsider.” The Bishop concludes: “I think it is legitimate to recognize rights such as the reversibility of pensions or the transfer of rent in virtue of the person’s importance. It is unsustainable – Mogavero underlines – that the cohabiter is a Mr. Nobody for the law.” And as regards the Church, for which Pope Francis has invited reflection on this theme, in view of the extraordinary Synod on the Family, “without equating them to married couples, there are no obstacles to common-law unions.” Amen.
 
Do you get it, dear Director? Shortly they’ll take my son of seven and at school they’ll make him play with condoms and his genitals, and what does the Church talks about with me? About boatloads which sink near Lampedusa, about Jesus who was a refugee, about an obscure Jesuit of the 17th century just beatified!
No, my problem is not Matteo Renzi.

 
Dear Director, where is the Archbishop of Milan, Angelo Scola in this battle?
 
Shortly they will stop us from saying and writing that homosexuality is against nature, and Scola talks to me about half-castes and of the need to understand and value the Roma culture. And again, it was the Archbishop of Milan some weeks ago who invited the Archbishop of Vienna, Schönborn, to our Cathedral: as the Church is disappearing in Austria, they asked him to come and explain to the priests of our diocese how to obtain such results – what their secret was. Just like this: a coach has brought his team to fall down on the league, and so we’ll give him the teaching post at Coverciano! [The central training ground and technical headquarters of the Italian National Football Team.]
 
And would you look at the coincidence, among other things: Schönborn – who wears the habit of St. Dominic and Thomas Aquinas – came to explain to the Ambrosian priests that he had personally intervened in protecting the nomination of two homosexuals for a parish council. Schönborn says he met them and: “I saw two pure young men, even if their cohabitation is not what the order of creation has foreseen.” There you have it, dear Director, this is purity according to a prince of the Church at the dawn of the year 2014.
 
And my problem should be Matteo Renzi and the PD?
 
They are going to take my seven-year-old son and brainwash him into thinking that homosexuality is normal and in the meantime, my Archbishop invites a bishop to the Cathedral to teach me that two homosexuals living together are examples of purity?
 
And so to finish. The Matteo Renzi who promotes civil unions is a physiological byproduct of a Pope who, in his travels is interviewed by journalists on the plane and declares: “Who am I to judge” etc, etc. Obviously, I know too that these two are not of the same nature, that the Pope is against these things and certainly suffers regarding them, and that he is motivated by good intentions. However, facts are facts. Confronted with that little sentence – epochal from the mouth of a Pope “Who am I to judge”–,  loads of corrective and reparatory articles can be written, which tireless troops of “normalists” have been doing now for months, in order to say, don’t worry all is well – everything is just fine.
 
But we both know well, and anyone else who knows the mechanisms of communications does as well, that, that “Who am I to judge” is a tombstone on any political and legal battle regarding the recognition of homosexual rights. If we were in rugby, I would tell you that that little sentence gained in a few seconds more meters in favour of the homosexual lobby, than decades of work by the world’s homosexual movement. I’ll tell you too, that bishops like Mogavero, in the shade of that little sentence “who am I to judge” can build castles of dissolution without impunity, and the only thing left for us to do is to keep our mouths shut.
 
Let’s be clear: to impute that the Pope or the Church are to blame because all the countries in the world are normalizing homosexuality would be foolish: this rising tide is unrestrainable, it cannot be stopped. The reason is simple: London, and Paris, New York and Rome, Brussels and Berlin have become a gigantic Sodom and Gomorrah. The point is however, whether we want to admit this, dispute and denounce it, or whether we want to play smart and hide behind the “Who am I to judge”. The point is also, whether this worldwide Sodom and Gomorrah, merit the language of mercy and comprehension. 
 
 Well, then, I wonder, why don’t we also reserve the same mercy for the traffickers of chemical weapons, the slave-traders and financial embezzlers? Aren’t they also poor sinners? Right? Or do I have to ask Schönborn to meet them for lunch and evaluate their purity?
 
Dear Director, the situation by now is very clear: any Catholic politician, intellectual or journalist even if he wants to fight on the homosexualist front, will find himself spiked in the back by the mysticism of mercy and forgiveness. We are all completely de-legitimized, and any bishop, priest, theologian, director of a diocesan weekly or politician of the Catholic-democratic-type can shut us up with that “Who am I to judge”. We would be riddled with shots like a farm pheasant in a hunting chase by types like Mogavero.
 
Dear Director, our problem is not Matteo Renzi.
 
Our problem, my problem, is that the other day the Holy Father said the Gospel “is not proclaimed with doctrinal beatings, but with sweetness.” Also here, I would please ask “normalists” and timewasters to abstain. Even I know that effectively the Gospel is announced like that – apart from the fact that John the Baptist had rather brusque methods himself, and the Lord defines him “as the greatest among those born of woman”.
 
But you know very well that with that little sentence, we have both been spiked like codfish.
 
We have both been fighting against legalized abortion, divorce, in vitro fertilization, euthanasia, homosexual unions and cunning politicians like Matteo Renzi, who are promoting and spreading all that stuff. But there you have it, we are both irremediable doctrinal bashers, people without charity, ethicists, “theologians”, as some journalist from Communion and Liberation calls us. Furthermore, phenomenon like La Bussola and Il Timone are anachronistic examples of this lack of charity, of this unpresentable moral rigour. Plus, the daily, titanic efforts of the “normalists” will not be enough to subtract these titles of de-legitimization from official Catholicism, as all the balancing exercises in trying to keep your feet in two different shoes, always end up, sooner or later, with a tragic flight into the void.
 
I also think that the problem – forgive the personal aspect – is not dirty, ugly and bad Gnocchi and Palmaro, because of what they wrote in Il Foglio.
 
I would re-write the same thing again, ten, a hundred, thousand times more, since unfortunately, everything is coming to pass in the worst way, much worse than what we could have ever predicted.
 
This is why, dear Director, our problem and the problem of Catholics and ordinary people is not Matteo Renzi.
 
The problem is our Mother Church, who has decided to abandon us in the jungle of Vietnam: the helicopters have taken off and we have been left where we’ll let ourselves, one at a time, be spiked by the “Vietcong relativists.” I am not protesting for myself, and you know the reasons why. And besides, I prefer a thousand times, to stay down here waiting for the Vietcong, rather than ever get into one of those helicopters, in which perhaps there is the promise of a little seat in some clerical conference of the type “Scienza e Vita,” under the illusion that one is a part, in some way, of the official power, together with all the other ecclesial movements. Or with the crazy idea – written in black and white – that, Gnocchi and Palmaro were perhaps right, but they shouldn’t have said it, because certain truths should not be uttered, rather they should be somewhat denied publically in order to confound the enemy.
 
No, I am not protesting for myself.
 
However, I still have the problem of that seven-year-old son of mine and three older ones too. I don’t want to and can’t give them the response of the boatloads sinking near Lampedusa, the homosexual example of purity from Cardinal Schönborn, the half-castes and the praise of the Roma culture by Cardinal Scola, the disdain for doctrinal thrashings according to Pope Francis and the eulogizing of civil unions by Mogavero. To these children I cannot tell the fairy-tale called “Matteo Renzi.” Anyway, regarding Renzi, ten minutes done well by Crozza* will fix him.
 
Dear director, dear Riccardo, why would I ever write these things to you? Because last night I couldn’t sleep. And because I’d like to understand – and ask the readership of Bussola a question: What more has to happen in the Church for Catholics to stand up, once and for all, and shout their indignation from the rooftops? Attention: I am addressing individual Catholics, not associations, secret meetings, movements, sects which for years have been managing the brains of the faithful for the benefit of third parties, dictating the line the followers have to take. These groups seem to me to be placed under the care of those minus habens [of lesser intelligence] and headed from afar by more or less charismatic individuals, who are more or less trustworthy. No, no: here I am making an appeal to individual consciences, to their hearts, their faith and their virility. Before it is too late.
 
I owe this to you my dear Riccardo. I owe this to all those who know me and still have esteem for me and for what I represent. Pardon me for having taken advantage of your patience and also that of your readers.

 

Mario Palmaro
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Translation, slightly adapted to conform to informal style used by Mario Palmaro – Francesca Romana. Source: Bussola Quotidiana
Translator’s notes:
*Niki Vendola, LGBT activist, left-wing politician
*Fabio Fazio, TV presenter for left-wing RAI 3
*Luciana Littizzetto, comedian, anti-Catholic, does TV spots for COOP
*Gino Strada, war surgeon, Founder of Italian NGO Emergency
*Enzo Bianchi, Prior of Monastic Community of Bose (Biella), but not a priest, and progressive Catholic writer
*Eugenio Scalfari, editor of left-wing daily – La Repubblica.
*Todi 1 and Todi 2 – two Forums held in the Todi, Umbria for associations and people of Catholic inspiration in the work place in October 2012
*Crozza, comedian of scathing satire
*Don Ciotti, Catholic priest, writer, social activist, particularly against drugs and the Mafia
*Don Gallo, Catholic priest, now deceased famed for communist ideals and social activism