Some of you may already of heard of a struggle between Church authorities and a group of 13 Catholic Benedictine nuns in Tuscany, Italy, whose life in their convent has become difficult in part, it appears, because somebody would like to sell the monastery where they have been living for a great deal of money.
Now, a report from Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò on this curious case — a long piece, written more or less in the style of a piece of investigative journalism rather than in his usual style of sociological and theological argument.
In fact, Viganò was trained as a lawyer, and received degrees in both civil and ecclesiastical law, and in this piece he seems to be preparing a type of legal brief to defend the nuns in their conflict with various authorities.
In other words, it is a case the archbishop has “taken to heart” and has evidently spent considerable time on to research and gather the facts he presents.
And this is only the first of Vigano’s pieces on this matter, for he is promising a second piece in the very near future.
So this is evidently a matter of considerable importance to the archbishop. —RM
Here is the cover note from the archbishop:
Attached is a PDF/Word file, the full text of my first intervention, on the situation of the Monastery of Maria Tempio dello Spirito Santo in Pienza (Italy), subjected to harassment and serious abuses by the Holy See in an attempt to remove the Nuns from the building assigned to them by the Diocese. This particular story is paradigmatic of a deplorable situation extended to the whole universal Church, in which the contemplative life is under fierce attack.
With my prayers and Blessing,
The full text is below.
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The “Case” of the Pienza Convent. Restoring the Truth. Msgr. Viganò (link)
February 27, 2023
Dear StilumCuriali, we receive and gladly publish this text received from Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. Happy reading and sharing.
to restore the truth about the situation
of the Monastery “Maria Tempio dello Spirito Santo” of Pienza
The sequence of events
After the disclosure of conflicting and contradictory news relating to the recent events that have involved the cloistered community of the Benedictine Monastery of Pienza, I consider it my duty as a Pastor to intervene to re-establish the truth of the facts, as they are verifiable to those who are not prejudiced and care both about the fate of these religious women as well as highlighting the attitude of open hostility towards them on the part of ecclesiastical Authority.
This first contribution of mine comes from my direct and personal knowledge of the Abbess and the Nuns, on whose behalf I intend to speak. In this first part I will analyze the sequence of events.
A second essay will consider the content of the Holy See’s measures, framing them in the broader context of Bergoglio’s demolishing action. A third essay will propose some initiatives to be undertaken.
First of all, it is necessary to start from the birth of the Monastery. Twelve of the thirteen religious who compose it come from the Benedictine community “Santa Maria delle Rose” of Sant’Angelo in Pontano, belonging to the Piceno Federation.
This monastery in the Italian region of Marche experienced a moment of rebirth when it began to welcome female vocations from the so-called “Neocatechumenal Way” [the Cammino] of Kiko Argüello.
It was in fact from the Cammino that our young women entered religion, only to be sent in 2013 by the same leaders of the Way to establish a new Benedictine foundation in Holland, in the diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam, with the agreement of Bishop, Msgr. Josef Marianus Punt. The new monastery was approved by the Holy See the following year.
As has already happened in Santa Maria delle Rose and in practically all the communities under Kiko’s control, so too in Holland the autonomy of government of the Monastery was put to the test by the serious and undue interference of the leaders of the Cammino.
This parallel Neocatechumenal hierarchy established by Argüello and his “catechists” led the Sisters to the decision – taken collegially in Chapter – to distance themselves from the Cammino.
After four years, Bishop Punt was forced to remove the Nuns under pressure from Kiko, who threatened to withdraw his Neocatechumenal priests from the diocese, because these priests were actually the only ones on whom the Bishop could rely and they constitute a considerable part of his diocesan presbytery.
This demonstrates the capacity for interference in the life and governance of the Church on the part of a lay association that has planned its infiltration into the ecclesial body in such a way as to make itself indispensable, so that once it has been accepted in the Dioceses it would be able to impose its pastoral line.
At this point the Sisters wanted to return to Italy, to the Monastery of Pontano, but the earthquake of 2016 seriously damaged it and so it was impossible to return.
Obviously, this decision of the Nuns, constituting yet another proof of the manipulative action of the leaders of the movement, has created a vacuum around our Benedictines, abandoned to themselves and deprived of any sustenance and support from the leaders of the Cammino.
The nuns seek hospitality in Italy, but the diocesan bishops and monasteries whom they have asked have given them a diffident refusal once they learn of the origin of the community from the ranks of the Neocatechumenal movement.
Because of the problems caused in the Dioceses and parishes by the Cammino, the Neocatechumenals no longer enjoy the enthusiastic welcome they received in the past, and this mistrust also affects the Nuns, who are rejected precisely because of their origin.
II. Arrival in Italy
This then is the situation of the Nuns, who arrive in Italy with the mark of infamy of having escaped the manipulations and heretical indoctrination of the powerful Spanish guru.
Their modernist approach, however, allowed the Sisters to find hospitality in Pienza, where, in August 2017, Bishop Msgr. Stefano Manetti welcomed them, in consideration of the fact that for years the Diocese had witnessed the inexorable extinction of contemplative religious life.
Very happy to be able to have a female Benedictine monastery, Bishop Manetti temporarily gave them space to live in the summer seminary that was no longer in operation, took care of paying their utilities, and promised the Sisters that he would find a suitable structure to become their definitive home, which was necessary for them to be able to canonically erect a monastery sui juris, that is, directly dependent on the Holy See.
Although Bishop Manetti did not keep his promise to find a suitable home for the Sisters, in February 2019 he still managed to obtain permission from the Holy See for the erection of the Monastery sui juris.
This appeared to be a real forcing of Canon Law, which provides as a condition for the erection of a Monastery sui juris that the community must own the building in which it is located. Bishop Manetti promised the sisters that he would personally guarantee their stability.
All this took place with the approval of the Chapter of the Nuns’ Monastery of origin. The process ended in 2019 with the election of the Abbess, Sister Maria Diletta of the Holy Spirit, who received the abbatial Blessing from Bishop Manetti.
After a few months, Bishop Manetti offered them a nine-year loan contract, revocable without any reason, on the condition that the Sisters provide for their ordinary and extraordinary expenses, as well as bearing the costs of the renovation and upgrading of the building.
The religious were therefore faced with an inadmissible proposal, both because they lacked economic means and also because they were not actually protected for the future.
It is evident that the contradictory and wavering behavior of Bishop Manetti was used to force the nuns to leave, without officially expelling them.
Why the Curia was so interested in reclaiming the summer Seminary would soon become clear.
At this point it is appropriate to recall that a Benedictine monastery sui juris, depending exclusively on the Holy See, is not required to join a “Federation,” that is, a group of monasteries that share a specific spiritual and governmental approach.
The Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei Quærere, promulgated by Bergoglio on June 29, 2016, intervened to modify the practice established by Venerable Pius XII with the Apostolic Constitution Sponsa Christi Ecclesia of 1950.
This was the basis for the Cor Orans Instruction of May 15, 2018, which constituted the application of the new provisions on the suppression and federation of Monasteries.
Needless to say, these two documents have as their purpose the demolition of the contemplative life and the progressive re-education of religious sisters, precisely by means of the Federations.
Using the inexorable decimation of vocations as an excuse, Cor Orans makes it possible to unite the religious of several monasteries, ensuring that the assets of these monasteries – often consisting of prestigious historic buildings located in magnificent places – are confiscated by the Holy See.
The nuns thus find themselves torn from their spiritual family and sent to new communities, with the obligation of taking “refresher courses,” that is, indoctrination and “reprogramming,” outside the cloister.
The more traditional communities are obviously the ones that are the most persecuted.
This clarification is necessary in order to understand how, once they arrived in Italy and were established in a Monastery with their own Abbess, the Nuns of Pienza showed extreme “flexibility” by making themselves available — although not having the obligation, since they were established in a Monastery sui iuris — to make contact with the existing Federations so as to evaluate which of them was most suited to their charism.
The advent of the pandemic interrupted this process, especially after the lockdowns.
But the work of devastation of Cor Orans continues inexorably, as evidenced by the undue pressure of the Holy See on the Monastery of Pienza, which, as has been mentioned, is not in the least obliged to join a federation since it is sui juris.
The problem, in fact, was created when Bishop Manetti chose this canonical form, but without guaranteeing its ownership of its own property, which is a condition for a Monastery sui juris.
The transfer of Manetti and the appointment of Cardinal Lojudice — a friend of the Vicar General and former Rector of the Seminary — must have led the Bishop to try to settle a situation of irregularity before the arrival of his successor.
In the Decree of erection, Manetti declared: “In accordance with the canonical legislation in force, I erect in the diocese of Montepulciano-Chiusi-Pienza the Monastery of Benedictine Nuns […] in Pienza with all the privileges and spiritual graces that the other monasteries of the aforementioned Order legitimately enjoy, having provided for all the requests of the universal laws of the Church, especially with regard to the cloister, the sustenance of the nuns and their spiritual assistance.”
But we know that this was not the case: the property of the Monastery was still owned by the diocese, and the sustenance of the Nuns by the diocese was limited to the payment of utilities.
For this reason, the Bishop cannot formalize their removal and limits himself to verbally exerting pressure on the Sisters to leave.
III. The discovery of the ancient rite
In 2020, thanks to a priest friend of the Monastery and to some providential meetings with figures linked to the world of Tradition, the Sisters “discovered” the Tridentine Liturgy, and Bishop Manetti applied the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum in their favor, believing that the occasional celebration of the Mass in the ancient rite could help the Community to definitively free itself from its Neocatechumenal formation.
The following year he contacted the Benedictine monks of Norcia to help the nuns on this journey.
When Traditionis Custodes was promulgated, the Bishop instructed some priests of Rome to ensure the Sunday celebration of Mass in the Tridentine rite, provided that it did not become their only liturgical form.
In the meantime, the Sisters continued to look throughout Italy for a Monastery to which they could transfer, without success.
Historical monasteries that are presently uninhabited are too expensive to live in, or need large amounts of restoration that a small group of nuns would not even remotely be capable of addressing.
On the other hand, the Benedictine communities with few nuns consider it problematic to welcome thirteen sisters, who would represent a sort of revolution for their quiet and regular life.
The Nuns then asked the Bishop to leave them where they are, offering to take care of the payment of the utilities, until then only partially paid by the Diocese since it was receiving a substantial reimbursement from the Nuns.
IV. The arrival of the new Bishop
In April 2022 the news came of the transfer of Bishop Manetti to the Episcopal Chair of Fiesole.
This decision of the Holy See led the Bishop – perhaps in order to remedy a situation of grave canonical irregularity before the arrival of his Successor – to verbally revoke the permission granted to the nuns to be able to avail themselves of the Tridentine Mass.
From this moment on, Bishop Manetti did not even provide for their spiritual assistance, depriving them of Holy Mass – including Mass in the “ordinary form” – even on Sundays and Holy Days.
And that’s not all: in front of the Sisters he declared that he never intended to expel them, but warned them that Don Antonio Canestri – who was still Rector of the Seminary even though it had been abandoned and converted into a Monastery, and who is also an old friend of the new Bishop, Cardinal Lojudice – had every intention of getting them out of the way.
Don Antonio then presented himself at the Monastery, with arrogance and intimidating tones, even to the point of violating the Cloister by entering the cells of the Nuns and claiming ownership of the property. Don Canestri’s intention to make a profit is obvious.
Here is therefore explained, with all the evidence, that the disciplinary actions against the Nuns were merely a pretext aimed purely at a financial operation, along the lines of the Monastery of Ravello on the Amalfi Coast. On the other hand, a structure located on a hill overlooking the enchanting Val d’Orcia represents a succulent profit opportunity for the coffers of the Diocese and the Holy See.
Let me be clear: the economic and real estate question is the element that pushes many ecclesiastics to execute Cor Orans for the sole purpose of making money or ingratiating themselves with the Bergoglian court.
But the true and deepest goal, the one that animates the entire action of this “pontificate,” is of an ideological bent: to normalize religious life to the new pauperist, migrationist, environmentalist, ecumenical, and synodal paradigm imposed by the junta of the Argentinian.
It is behaving no differently towards the faithful and traditional communities, which have seen the rights that the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of Benedict XVI granted them in 2007 canceled or drastically reduced with Traditionis Custodes.
In essence, it is as if a government incentivized companies to invest in certain sectors, and then as soon as they started to do so it forced them into bankruptcy by canceling or cutting incentives.
Needless to say, such an operation, as well as being cowardly and morally reprehensible, is not the result of inexperience or inability, but of a targeted desire to create as much damage as possible. If we then combine Cor Orans and Traditionis Custodes, the fate is inexorably sealed.
The aversion of Cardinal Lojudice towards the inconvenient Sisters was not long in manifesting itself. On the occasion of his taking possession of the Chair of Pienza, the new Bishop refused to allow them to receive Communion kneeling, humiliating them before the whole city by making them stand up and receive Communion in the hand, and in the sacristy he rebuked them, telling them that in their Monastery they could do as they wished, but that in public they had to conform to common practice (moreover in violation of liturgical norms, which allow the faithful to kneel and receive the Sacred Host on the tongue).
V, The events preceding the Apostolic Visitation
In September 2022 His Eminence informed the Nuns that he wanted to come and visit them, coincidentally precisely in conjunction with their absence from the Monastery.
When his Secretary was informed that the Sisters would not be present since they were going away for a spiritual retreat, he replied that their presence would be necessary because the Cardinal’s visit was mainly aimed at making a real estate valuation estimate of the building.
I believe the order of priorities that animates the “pastoral” action of the Bergoglian Bishops is evident: first business, then propaganda and photos posing with Roma and immigrants (which alone will have been enough to tickle Bergoglio), and then only if there is time remaining is attention given to the only contemplative community of the Diocese.
The Dicastery for Religious acts no differently, engaged as it is in lucrative speculative operations with the sale of real estate, which it does not hesitate to make available by mowing down the few communities that survived the post-conciliar crisis of vocations.
The Nuns of Pienza manage to postpone the visit of Cardinal Lojudice to November 8th.
But on October 11, without any warning Mother Roberta (who would later turn out to be the Visitatress) showed up without warning at the door of the Monastery along with the Abbot of Pontida and a third person. They found no one there, since the Nuns were all on retreat in another region, and so this raid also failed.
But on November 1 the Abbot of Pontida renewed the offensive, announcing an Apostolic Visit to the Abbess and confirming that the Sisters would be present on the following November 3rd.
The Abbess then called Cardinal Lojudice to find out if he was aware of the Apostolic Visitation. His Eminence denied knowing anything, but then contradicted himself by admitting that on October 11 he had accompanied the visitors who had presented themselves at the Monastery without announcing themselves. On that occasion the Bishop pointed out that he had learned that the nuns had Mass celebrated in the ancient rite and that they had not yet entered any Federation.
There are two things to keep in mind.
First: the “traditional” conversion of the nuns.
Second: their failure to join a Benedictine federation.
As already mentioned above, the Federations, after Bergoglio’s Cor Orans Instruction, are being used as institutions of re-education and indoctrination to the new course of action. The fact that the Monastery of Pienza is sui juris, and therefore not required to federate, unleashed the fury of the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life, at the head of which is Cardinal Braz de Aviz, the one who, to be clear, on the occasion of a meeting with cloistered nuns to present to them the wonders of Cor Orans told them: “Treat your life as adults, not as adulterers!” (here).
The Brazilian Cardinal is assisted by the Secretary Mons. José Rodriguez Carballo, who none other than the main person responsible for the financial collapse of the Order of Friars Minor Franciscans – in whose events the “mysterious” death of two characters appears – of which Carballo had been Minister General before being promoted by Bergoglio as Secretary of the entire constellation of Orders and Religious Congregations of the Catholic Church.
On the other hand, what better task for a person who has proven corrupt and unable to manage the administration of his Order? And what had the Order of Friars Minor invested in, if not in drugs and weapons? (here)
Let’s not forget that Carballo is involved both in this scandal and in the persecution, among others, of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, not only because of their conservative position but also for the sake of their conspicuous real estate, which the Holy See has not been able to appropriate only because it was registered to a civil association.
Just in the past few days it has been learned that Bergoglio has decided to expropriate – literally – the assets of ecclesiastical bodies, declaring them “the property of the Holy See as a whole and therefore belonging to its unitary, non-divisible and sovereign patrimony” (here).
As we can see, the fate of the Nuns has slightly anticipated the fate of all the communities. Which means, in simple terms, that from now on – since the pope is now the legal owner of all the goods of the Church – he can dispose of them independently, not only in order to sell them and make money, but even more importantly so as to have a juridical lever with which to blackmail convents, monasteries, dioceses, seminaries, and other institutes, which previously remained autonomous and free to make their own choices without fear of suffering extortion.
The practice of the Church has always protected the property of the goods of ecclesiastical entities, precisely to guarantee with it that necessary independence of means which is the premise of a free and conscious choice of fidelity to the Apostolic See.
Bergoglio’s recent Motu Proprio – which seems to have been written by Klaus Schwab – reverses this situation, blackmailing religious orders and dioceses, with those modalities of transfer of sovereignty that in temporal issues characterize the coup d’état of the European Union, the WHO and the World Economic Forum against governments.
I do not know if my Brothers in the Episcopate and the Superiors of the Religious Congregations realize what this decision of Bergoglio represents for them and for their independence, since they are now de facto deprived of all authority and reduced to mere officials at the mercy of the diktats of the Vatican.
VI. The Apostolic Visitation
On November 2, 2022, one day before the date of the scheduled meeting, the Abbess of Pienza discovered that the Abbot of Pontida would arriving shortly — that is, by surprise and with clear intimidating intentions.
Any ecclesiastic knows that an Apostolic Visitation is a delicate event to be managed with great charity and by trying to make it the least traumatic as possible, since it is still an inspection of Superiors and is implicitly motivated by serious reasons.
For this reason, it is to be judged, to say the least, imprudent to increase the pressure, with a community of young, cloistered nuns who have already been tried by the vicissitudes they have been exposed to so far, even to the point of presenting himself one day before, as if to take the Nuns “by surprise.”
The two visitors, according to well-tested methods, acted with unscrupulousness, making use of duplicity and lies.
The interrogations of the Sisters were real torture sessions: they tried with every possible method to wear down the Sisters psychologically, foment divisions, and take advantage of them to destroy the fabric of the Community as well as the psychophysical balance and serenity of the Nuns.
Next the Abbot of Pontida, Dom Giordano Rota, arrived at the Monastery. He is also – what a strange coincidence – consultor of the Vatican Dicastery for Religious, and therefore employed by Braz de Aviz and Carballo, who are notoriously corrupt and ultraprogressive.
So then, we have: the Visitor chosen by Rome, who is a progressive; the Visitatress, who is a progressive; and the Bishop, Cardinal Lojudice, who is a progressive. All three, ça va sans dire, are strictly pro-Bergoglian and aligned with the new course of action. The same goes for the sisters who would accompanied them in the inquisitorial action against the poor nuns.
The Visitators questioned all the religious, keeping them under pressure for up to an hour and a half. The questions speak for themselves: What would you do if you were Abbess? What would you change about the Community and the Abbess? How do you see the future of the Community? Why do you have the altar facing the wall? What is behind the recitation of the Pater Noster in Latin? What are those things on the altar [referring to the relics]? Do you know how much money you have? Didn’t you ask yourself why no Federation or monastery wanted you? How did you choose who would go to Holland? Don’t you see that the building is not suitable for having the Enclosure?
Intimidating questions, in which we understand not only the preventive measures of the Visitors, but also their aversion to the traditional charism as well as their ultimate goal: to have a pretext to close the Monastery and regain possession of the property, a goal that, as we have seen, had long been in the sights of the Vicar General and of Cardinal Lojudice.
The Apostolic Visit – which had nothing “apostolic” about it whatsoever – ended on November 5, among other things catching the Visitators red-handed while secretly taking photos of the altar of the Chapel – which faces the tabernacle and the cross – and of the products of the Nuns offered in the entrance parlor as is done in many religious houses.
Obviously, to keep pressure on the poor religious, the Visitators refused to specify either why they were sent by the Dicastery – since there was no serious fact that justified their presence – or to divulge any details of their final evaluation. These are both things that the Visitators should have said, if only in the name of the much-vaunted Bergoglian parrhesia.
VII. New intimidation and incursions
Once this inspection was concluded, the Cardinal’s visit scheduled for November 8 was postponed. On November 15, His Eminence presented himself with the Vicar General, Don Antonio Canestri.
As soon as he entered, he inquired if the nuns themselves prepared the jams offered for sale, saying that the Mayor of Pienza had received rumors that they bought those jams at the supermarket and then resold them with the label of the Monastery.
To the indignant response of the religious, offended by this gratuitous and unjustified insinuation, the Cardinal realized that he was discovered and accused them of being uncooperative and hostile.
At this point the nuns asked him if he needed the building, and they were told: “Not for me personally, no.”
It should be emphasized that this insistence on asking questions about the products of the nuns has nothing to do with the Apostolic Visitation, and that it appears as a specious argument in the absence of valid canonical reasons.
Moreover, resorting to material issues involving the Mayor exacerbated the situation by extending it to the civil sphere that until then had no right to intervene. In any case, the Religious have not committed any irregularity by offering for sale jams, rosaries, candles, and other products made by them, in order to receive the liberality of their few benefactors and friends, which is necessary for their subsistence.
At noon on February 13, 2023, Don Raffaele Mennitti, the Vicar for Consecrated Life of the Diocese of Montepulciano-Chiusi-Pienza and Don Paolo, Cardinal Lojudice’s personal secretary, came to the Monastery and delivered a letter in a sealed envelope for each religious, stating that they did not know what the contents of the letter were.
In my subsequent intervention I will examine the content of these letters sent by the Holy See to the Monastery.
That same afternoon, at 4 pm, the two priests returned together with the President of the Piceno Federation, Mother Vacca, and the Vicar of the Federation, Mother Di Marzio, who claimed that they needed to enter so that Mother Vacca could speak with every Nun.
At this point the Abbess, Mother Diletta, and all the Sisters went out and declared that they did not consent to their intimidating and unannounced break-in.
Mother Diletta was then ordered by Don Raffaele to “obey the Church.”
She replied that they should be ashamed to abuse their power in this way and that the nuns were not required to obey iniquitous orders. Not satisfied with the improvisation, the messengers of the Curia and the Dicastery constrained some relatives of the Sisters, trying to frighten them and induce them to convince the Nuns to submit.
Don Raffaele even took Mother Diletta by the arm, pulling her so that she would listen to him, claiming that their fears were unfounded.
The next day Mother Diletta found that she could not obtain money from the ATM, and she discovered from the bank that her delegation to operate the account of the Monastery has been revoked and replaced with a new one in the name of Mother Vacca.
The account with the miserable resources of the Nuns — a mere six thousand euros — was therefore in fact seized by authority, depriving the Sisters of their very means of subsistence.
And thank goodness that the solicitudes of the Visitators were of a spiritual nature… Probably informed of the facts, Bishop Manetti called Mother Diletta to put pressure on her, trying to understand if the visit the next day of Cardinal Lojudice had any hope of success.
On February 16, Mother Vacca sent Mother Diletta a letter on WhatsApp in which she warned her to let her take possession of the Monastery, as ordered in the Dicastery’s communication, which in the meantime has been challenged by the Sisters and therefore is considered suspended in its effects.
Mother Vacca threatened serious canonical and civil consequences in case of disobedience.
VIII. The recourse to the “secular arm”
On the morning of February 17, Don Raffaele, the Vicar for Consecrated Life of the Diocese of Montepulciano-Chiusi-Pienza, came to the monastery, along with Don Paolo, the personal secretary of Cardinal Lojudice, Mother Vacca, the President of the Picena Federation, Mother Di Marzio, the Vicaress of the Federation, Paolo Arcangioli, the Marshal of the Pienza Carabinieri, and two other armed officers.
The quick-thinking Sisters took video footage of this surreal incursion, which even involved the help of the “secular arm.”
The Sisters canon lawyer has rightly noted, among other things, that such a recourse to the Carabinieri constitutes a violation of the norms of the concordat and is unheard of that — for a question that the Curia insists on defining as the result of a misunderstanding — there was no hesitation to terrorize the Sisters by bringing in the presence of the Police.
On February 19, the Diocese published its infamous press release, which was picked up and reprinted by Toscana Oggi (here) and La Nazione (here).
This statement, which is full of inaccuracies and omissions, ends with a directive that people should not give any financial support the Monastery.
Aqua et igni interdictæ, that is, deprived of any support and help from other citizens as a consequence of the revocation of their citizenship, just as was done in ancient Rome. This is Bergoglio’s “church of mercy.”
And that’s not all: a few days later, the Carabinieri of Pienza called the relatives of the Sisters to tell them that they would be summoned in order to gather statements about the Monastery, without making any formal notification.
I don’t want to imagine who gave the order, or how the Carabinieri could have lent themselves to this grotesque inquisitory soap opera, even to the point of asking people not to tell anyone that they had called, precisely so as to further frighten the besieged nuns.
From the website of the ANSA news agency (here) one further learns that a formal warning has been given to the Nuns by the Diocese of Montepulciano-Chiusi-Pienza, signed by Attorney Alessandro Pasquazi. One wonders under what title this communication was sent to the news agency, since no notification of this warning has to date been presented to the Sisters.
This is the latest act, at least for now, of a pièce that is halfway between a grotesque farce and a tragedy, whose actors are divided into victims and perpetrators.
The victims are the thirteen Nuns. Victims because of their troubled past, in which they were able to grow spiritually and escape the pressures and obsessive interference of the establishment of the Neocatechumenal Way, thus arriving in Pienza; victims of the bureaucratic mess of Bishop Manetti, who established them as a Monastery sui juris even though they did not own their own property; victims of the desires of unscrupulous ecclesiastics, “guilty” of being a bothersome presence that impeded the economic exploitation of the building that hosted them; victims of the ideological fury of the Bergoglians due to their drawing closer to the Tradition and their desire not to bow down to modernist indoctrination by denying fidelity to Our Lord and their own charism.
The facts that I have set forth can be verified; they are corroborated by incontestable proofs and confirmed by numerous testimonies.
Their concatenation shows the premeditated nature of the attack on the Sisters and allows us to guess what were the true purposes of those who attacked them, as well as what the specious excuses are with which they have attempted to draw attention away from the principal element of this entire affair: the absence of any true or justified reasons for proceeding against them.
Inventing new and unfounded accusations along the way will not be able to hids the fact that the Apostolic Visit is merely the umpteenth attempt — cloaked in an apparent respect for the canonical norms – to strike communities of contemplative life — and even more so if they are of a traditional bent.
In the second part of this essay we will see how these Vatican provisions are completely illegitimate and have no value under canon law.
+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop
26 February 2023
Dominica I in Quadragesima