Italian prelate to Viganò: We would like to ‘accompany your sure steps along the path of truth’
June 30, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Today, Italian Archbishop Luigi Negri published on his website and on the website of Italian journalist Marco Tosatti a public letter to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, in which he gives him his full support for his “message which seems to me to have aptly expressed the living heart of our ecclesial experience.” Speaking about “elements of degradation both in the life of the Church as well as in civil society,” this recently retired Archbishop of Ferrara-Comacchio now endorses Archbishop Viganò's work and says he would like to “accompany” his “path of truth.”
Archbishop Negri clarified that his praise referred to Viganò’s early May interventions, not his June interventions on Vatican II.
Archbishop Viganò has made in recent months several statements that caught international attention. First, at the end of April, he opposed Pope Francis’ call to obey Italy’s continued coronavirus restrictions that continued a ban on Mass. The archbishop called this not only “undue, but is also a violation of conscience and harmful to the health of souls.”
On May 7, Archbishop Viganò issued, together with Cardinals Gerhard Müller, Joseph Zen, and Janis Pujats, as well as many scholars and journalists, an appeal concerning the dangers of the corona crisis being used to restrict our freedoms and those of the Catholic Church.
Then, on June 6, Archbishop Viganò published an open letter to President Donald Trump, in which he describes the recent corona crisis and the ongoing political crisis in the U.S. as a battle between the children of light and the children of darkness. That letter was subsequently endorsed by President Trump himself.
Please see here the letter written by Archbishop Luigi Negri, with Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò's own response, reprinted here with kind permission.
Archbishop Luigi Negri writes to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò
Most Dear Excellency,
As the present circumstances are continually revealing to us elements of degradation both in the life of the Church as well as in civil society, I would like [to] send you a message relating my adhesion to your message, which seems to me to have aptly expressed the living heart of our ecclesial experience. This living heart of ecclesial experience carries with it the daily awareness that the time that has been given to us is fleeting and that our existence remains strongly conditioned by the temporary nature of events and facts.
It seems to me that the Church, bit by bit, often by fits and starts, is recovering awareness of her own identity and the missionary task that characterizes her life and her history.
Each day we feel ever more keenly the pressure of events that demand to be judged according to the clarity of the Word of the Lord and lived out as obedience to His Will. In the midst of all this we are happy; we are happy because we abandon ourselves each day to the Lord, with the profound awareness that His presence sustains us at every moment, and that it is impossible for our existence to ever be separated from the companionship of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our strength is truly found in abandoning our lives to His will and above all in the desire that our life be alive with the great vibrancy of mission. Our life looks to the future as a reality in which to invest every moment, aware of the presence of Christ, asking that this presence of Christ run with us each day in the adventure of mission. Each morning our life opens in this and for this, with a great desire to sustain our own Christian life and that of our fellow men; each evening it closes with the awareness of having contributed poorly, but always sincerely, to the maturation of the Christian conscience in the world.
We embrace you, Your Excellency, and as disciples we would like to be able to accompany your sure steps along the path of truth, beauty, and goodness. May the Lord make his presence in the Church and among men a presence full of truth, the capacity for sacrifice and good will towards all men; thus may we be seen to correspond in a poor but real way to the great invitation of the liturgy at every moment: not to waste time but to give it back each day with our whole will and with great openness to the very heart of God, because in everyday life each of us is called to experience the greatness of God and the desire to contribute in some real way to bringing about the Kingdom of God in the world.
May the Lord bless us and comfort us on our daily path.
+Luigi Negri – Archbishop Emeritus of Ferrara – Comacchio
Milan, 16 June 2020
Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò replies to Abp. Luigi Negri
Most Reverend Excellency,
I read your words with great emotion; they were truly touching for me. It is a consolation to see that Your Excellency has grasped the heart of the problem with that acumen and lucidity that have always distinguished your judgment.
The present time, especially for those who have a supernatural perspective, brings us back to the most basic things of life: to the simplicity of the Good and the horror of Evil, to the necessity of choosing which side we are on as we fight our daily battles, both small and large. There are those who see this as a banalization, as if the clarity of the Gospel was no longer capable of giving satisfying answers to a complex and articulate humanity. And yet, while some of our brother bishops are concerned almost obsessively with inclusiveness and green theology, hoping for the New World Order and a “Common Home” for the Abrahamic religions, the people and priests have an ever greater sense of being distant from their Pastors – fortunately, not all of them – right at the moment of epochal confrontation.
It’s true: time is slipping through our hands, Your Excellency, and as it does, the sandcastles of almost initiatory rhetoric are crumbling, sandcastles built by those who have wanted to base their own success on the fleetingness of time and the fragility of the contingent. There is something inexorable at work in what is happening today: the ephemeral mirages that were supposedly going to replace eternal truths are now revealing, in the harsh light of reality, their artificial and false squalor, their ontological and inexorable falsity. We discover that we are children, according to the words of Our Lord; we recognize almost instinctively those who are good and those who are evil, reward and punishment, merit and fault. But can we consider the serenity of the child resting on its mother’s breast, the strong trust of the child who grips his father’s hand, to be banal?
How many fatuous words have been spoken to us, how many useless sedatives have been delivered to us, thinking that the Eternal Word of the Father was inadequate, that it was necessary to update it in order to make it more seductive to the deaf ears of the world! Yet it would have been enough to simply make that Word our own, and we would have needed nothing else. If up until now we have allowed ourselves to be confused by the din of this present age, we can now abandon ourselves with filial trust and allow ourselves to be led, because we recognize the voice of the Divine Shepherd, and we follow Him where He wishes to lead us – even when others, who should speak, are silent.
Our poverty is not an obstacle, but rather a help in these situations: the more humble we are, the more the skill of the Artist shines through us, holding us as an instrument in His skilled hands, like the pen with which the Scribe wisely writes the story.
I ask Your Excellency to pray that all of us, who in the fullness of the Priesthood are called by the Lord not servants but friends, may succeed in making ourselves docile instruments of His Grace, rediscovering the divine simplicity of the Faith that He has commanded us to preach to all the nations. Everything else of our own that we would add through pride is a pathetic tinsel, which we must now learn to get rid of if we do not wish it to be done by the flames of Purgatory, in which our few gold flakes will be purified of their slag in order to make us worthy of the beatific vision. May we not waste the precious days in which illness and old age give us the opportunity to expiate our faults and the faults of others: they are blessed days which we can offer to the Majesty of God for the Church and her Ministers.
Most Dear Excellency, receive this expression of my profound gratitude for your inspired words, with the assurance that I remember you in the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar. And pray for me.
Nunc dimittis servum Tuum,
Domine, secundum verbum Tuum in pace…
+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop
17 June 2020
Translated by Giuseppe Pellegrino @pellegrino2020