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Catholics must have ‘respectful resistance,’ speak up about crisis in Church: famed historian

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July 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) - In this Episode 16 of the John-Henry Westen show I am very pleased to bring you the second part in a two-part interview with Professor Roberto de Mattei on the crisis in the Church.

Described as the greatest historian on the Catholic Church alive today, Professor de Mattei was awarded the Order of Knighthood of St. Gregory the Great by Pope Benedict XVI. He currently serves as the President of the Lepanto Foundation in Rome.

I interviewed Professor de Mattei during my recent trip to Rome, where I had the honor of speaking at the 2019 Rome Life Forum, participating in the Rome March for Life, and emceeing the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family’s conference on brain death.

“A respectful resistance,” Professor de Mattei said, is what Catholics need to have at this time in Church history. Now “is a time for speaking” and Catholics must have a “militant spirit” and fight with prayer and example. They can’t retreat into “catacombism.”

Professor de Mattei also spoke to me about the silent protest he organized in the center of Rome in February of this year where 100 Catholics called attention to the crisis of pedophilia and homosexuality in the Church. This “symbolic act,” he said, “had a very strong impact.” In fact, he added, the history of the Church is filled with symbolic acts, like Luther’s theses in Wittenberg but also the martyrdom of the saints, who gave a “symbolic witness” to the truth. 

Professor de Mattei, who considers himself a disciple of Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, said there is a struggle today between two armies — one army is headed by the Blessed Virgin, the other by the devil. “Mary always wins,” he said. 

When I asked him how to make sense of the crisis in the Church and Pope Francis, he told me “papolatry” is an error just as much as the idea that Francis is the anti-Christ. “Imagine that tomorrow there’s no pope Francis…the problems [in the Church] will still be there.” This “is a crisis with roots in Vatican II and even before in the modernism of the 20th century.”

“Our ideal,” he said to me, “has to be the restoration of the Christian order in its total integrity without exception and compromise.” We have to be “confident” about the future and trust in God, who can change the situation very rapidly. “The situation is so terrible that the moment of restoration…cannot be so far.”

The John-Henry Westen Show is available by video on the show’s YouTube channel, and right here on my LifeSite blog.

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John-Henry Westen

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John-Henry is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of LifeSiteNews.com. He and his wife Dianne and their eight children live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout North America, Europe and Asia. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum an annual strategy meeting for pro-life leaders worldwide. He co-founded Voice of the Family and serves on the executive of the Canadian National March for Life Committee, and the annual National Pro-Life Youth Conference.  

He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization.  He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.  

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.