Letter #18, 2024, Monday, June 10: An old Italian priest

    An old Italian priest just gave a remarkable interview to an Italian Catholic journalist, Cinzia Notaro.

    Why remarkable?

    Because the priest’s words are clear, sensible, and… Catholic.

    May they be a comfort and inspiration for many.

    The original text, in Italian, was published this morning on Marco Tosatti‘s blog, Stilum Curiae, here.

    Here below is the full text in English. —RM


    Crisis and Eclipse of the Church in the West in the Words of an Elderly Priest (link)

    By Cinzia Notaro

    June 10, 2024

    (Published by Marco Tosatti)


    Concerning the present eclipse of the Church, we had the privilege of hearing, maintaining anonymity, a more than 90-year-old priest from southern Italy, who seeks the truth with reason and with faith in Jesus Christ, son of God made man to save us. —C. Notaro

    The Church has faced many struggles over 2,000 years, but today the crisis seems particularly severe. Could it be because of the general secularization of the West?

    The elderly priest: The churches are almost empty, some are closed because there are not enough priests due to lack of vocations. Unfortunately, the West has rejected the Gospel just as the Jewish people did, not welcoming the prophesied Messiah. The salvation that Christ brought us is for all men, who can accept it or reject it, and this is so for both Jews and Christians, and for all the peoples of the world. The Civitas Christiana [“the Christian City” meaning also “the Christian culture”] was destroyed and the “city of Satan” was built (see St. Augustine, De civitate Dei, XIV, 28) as well as the “synagogue of Satan” (St. John, Apocalypse, II, 9). It is the hour of the power of darkness: love for oneself and not for God, yesterday as today, divides humanity. But Christ does not abandon us.

    Does the “Church of outreach” put the salvation of souls before the salvation of the planet, of mother earth?

    The elderly priest: The Church in our time has become similar to an NGO [Non-Governmental Organization], a club that deals only with economic, social, political and ecological issues. The Code of Canon Lawends with this sentence: “The salvation of souls is (forever) the supreme law!” The Church is not the chaplain of the United Nations!

    In Africa and China the seed of the Word of God bears fruit. Thanks to a non-consumerist reality?

    The elderly priest: The seed of the Word of God bears fruit where there is greater spiritual and material poverty. Often the rich man is satisfied, but poor Lazarus opens up to God. Stuart Mill, a British philosopher, wrote: “I would rather be a dissatisfied Socrates than a satisfied pig!” But young people today, who lack nothing in the century of well-being, are they truly satisfied? Truly happy? “The true poverty is the lack of knowledge of God,” said Mother Teresa of Calcutta — adding that only in this sense does the Church truly evangelize the poor: by preaching the Gospel.

    How can a civil society in such chaos manage to remain standing?

    The elderly priest: It is impossible. Our present civil society goes against the natural law established by the Creator, calling evil good and good evil. The ancient pagans (see Antigone) spoke of unwritten laws, valid always and everywhere. The Jews find these laws in the 10 Commandments, and every man finds them in the natural law! The child who eats a piece of candy and replies that he hasn’t eaten it knows he is telling a lie and that lying is bad!

    What about the 1968 revolution?

    The elderly priest: The 1968 revolution declared war on civil society, on the family, on religion, replacing theocentrism with anthropocentrism. “Neither God, nor Homeland, nor Family” — we read everywhere.

    Didn’t Dostoevsky say: “If there is no God, everything is permitted?”

    Didn’t Sartre say: “If God exists, I am not free”?

    We see the fruits of it. The tree is recognized by its fruits.

    Years ago, posters were pasted on the backs of buses in Rome to spread this message: “The bad news: God does not exist. The good news: we don’t feel any need of Him.”

    Are we witnessing a subversion of the moral order in the name of relativism?

    The elderly priest: Each person seeks to create his own truth. According to Aristotle, “true” is that which corresponds to reality. “If there is no common truth, dialogue is not possible,” said Socrates.

    Can there be a moral order without a universal moral natural law?

    The opposite leads to legal positivism: “What is legal is right” (Antonio Gramsci in his The Modern Prince and Other Essays, 1957). Apparently, the Aristotelian principle of non-contradiction no longer applies, but the Cartesian maxim “Cogito ergo sum” (I think, therefore I am”).

    The principle of non-contradiction (to be or not to be at the same moment and under the same aspect) is the foundation of all reasoning. The Cartesian maxim turns reason and reality upside down: “I am, therefore I think.”

    It is reason that must adapt to reality, otherwise there is subjectivism.

    Is the dogma of faith “Outside the Church there is no salvation” taught today, or rather that all religions lead to God? Are we defending the Christian faith or are we concerned about not displeasing Muslims by going so far as to remove crucifixes from our schools? Is Islam invading us?

    The elderly priest: The Christian faith defends the Truth in charity. As regards the Islamic religion, I suggest reading the Koran and Anger and Pride by Oriana Fallaci and Free Christian Europe by Magdi Allam, and to observe what happens in mosques in Europe. Peaceful Islam? After every terrorist attack they cry out: “Allah Akbar”… it is not peaceful at all!

    Is ecumenical and interreligious dialogue only concerned with universal peace, or also with the search for the truth that unites?

    The elderly priest: Every truth is the fruit of the Holy Spirit and must be respected, wherever it comes from. This leads to true peace. But only Christ unites.

    The self in place of God… if you eliminate God are you free to do whatever you want?

    The elderly priest: The progressive and Masonic currents have worked for a long time to promote immorality and corruption with the aim of destroying man and, above all, destroying the family as a precious gift from God. How many today take the broad path and get lost thinking that observance of the Commandments is a prison that does not guarantee freedom!!! The opposite is true, that is, that serving the Lord as children in His will frees us from evil and ensures that freedom from sin which alone can give us eternal peace and happiness and is not ephemeral like that peace which the world gives, with which one is never satisfied, going from sin to sin…

    Is the Church today now almost Protestantized, finally accepting the arguments of Luther?

    The elderly priest: A bust of Luther was taken and set up in the Vatican, and a stamp dedicated to him was also issued.

    Is the lie true that, since we are fragile, “Todos, Todos, Todos” are saved with “Faith Alone”?

    There is no longer any talk of sin, because man is corrupt and not free (“De servo arbitrario” by Luther), therefore confession has been abolished… this is what is happening in the New Church, in which it has also been said that the Eucharist cancels the sin!!!

    In the Gospel of Saint John (20, 22-23), however, we learn the following: “Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven, and whose sins you do not forgive, they will remain unforgiven” and Saint Paul in the first letter to the Corinthians 11, 27 – 29 writes: “Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty of body and blood of the Lord. Now let each one examine himself, and then eat the bread and drink from the cup; for he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks a judgment against himself, if he does not discern the body of the Lord.” We cannot be saved without repentance and without the Sacraments.

    [But today we do not say] “The Sacrifice of the Mass”? … no … rather, “the Lord’s supper,” which takes place in the “liturgical hall” and not in the Church, celebrated by the priest who became the president of the assembly.

    I remember that the priest offered a sacrifice, which is why he is so called.

    Saint Ignatius of Antioch, a martyr saint of the second century AD, in one of his apostolic letters, the one to the Romans, said he considered the Church as a local community constructed in the Eucharistic celebration in which the union of the faithful with Christ and with each other takes place. This is what he wrote: “Be careful to participate in only one Eucharist. In fact, the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ is one, and the cup of the unity of his blood is one, the altar is one, just as the bishop is one, together with the presbytery and the deacons, my fellow servants. If you do this, you do it according to God.”

    Are we living in a form of paganism?

    The elderly priest: We only think about living materially by greedily seeking the goods of this world (while always remaining dissatisfied), because after death we believe that there is nothingness.

    In fact, the “Novissimi” (“the last things”) — Death, Judgement, Hell and Heaven — also have ended up in oblivion.

    Hell exists and is not empty, as authoritative figures in the ecclesiastical sphere have declared, otherwise why did Jesus speak in these terms? Jesus said: “Then he will say to those on his left: Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and for his angels. Because I was hungry, and you didn’t give me anything to eat; I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me anything to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not welcome me, naked, and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison, and you did not visit me” (Gospel of Saint Matthew 25, 41-43).

    Is the worldly Church proclaiming a different Gospel?

    The elderly priest:The Holy Scripture responds in this regard: “But even if we or an angel from heaven announce to you a Gospel other than that which we have announced to you, let him be anathema. As we have already said, I repeat it again now: if anyone preaches to you a Gospel other than the one you have received, let him be anathema. Am I perhaps seeking the favor of men, or that of God? Or do I try to please men? If I still tried to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ (From the letter of St. Paul to the Galatians 1, 8-10). And further: “The day will come, in fact, when sound doctrine will no longer be tolerated, but, due to the itch to hear something, men will surround themselves with teachers according to their own desires, refusing to listen to the truth and turning to fables. However, watch carefully, know how to tolerate suffering, carry out your work as a preacher of the Gospel, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:3-5).

    However, we must not lose hope, because the Lord said: “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Mt 28:20).

    [End, interview with an elderly Italian priest]


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