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Archbishop Paglia with Pope FrancisVincenzo Paglia /

ROME, Italy, July 31, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) ― Pope John Paul II’s most famous biographer has stated that the Chancellor of the Institute that bears the saint’s name is destroying the John Paul II Institute, suggesting that it is being accomplished through “thuggery and brute force.”

George Weigel, author of over 20 books and innumerable articles, has written a blistering piece for Catholic World Report about the gutting of the John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences. In the July 29 article, titled, “The Vandals Sack Rome …  Again,” Weigel cast doubt on Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia’s fitness for the role as Grand Chancellor. 

“Paglia’s appointment as Grand Chancellor of the John Paul II Institute – a position for which he had and has no discernible qualifications – was puzzling when it happened two years ago,” Weigel said. Pope Francis appointed Paglia as Grand Chancellor of the Institute in 2017.

Likening the dramatic changes sweeping the former stronghold of the great philosopher-pope’s thought to the Vandals’ 455 AD sack of Rome, Weigel referred to Archbishop Paglia as “the chief vandal.” 

Weigel deplored that the senior faculty of the Rome-based John Paul II Institute was dismissed last week, and noted that there is “no guarantee” that the school will retain “any resemblance to what John Paul II intended for it.” 

Students of the Institute, in a July 26 letter, threatened to leave the school in the wake of the firings and elimination of courses. “Why should one continue studying at the John Paul II Institute if it does not seem to propose anything new with respect to what can be found in the curricula of secular universities and what is oftentimes offered there in more attractive and efficient ways,” the students wrote in the letter. 

Weigel places blame on Paglia, the former bishop of Terni-Narni-Amelia.

“That these Stalinistic acts of intellectual brigandage against the theological and pastoral heritage of Pope St. John Paul II are being carried out by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia – who came to international attention in 2017 for having commissioned a homoerotic fresco in the apse of the cathedral of Terni-Narni-Amelia – is ironic in the extreme,” Weigel wrote. 

“Paglia was simply another ambitious cleric when his work as ecclesiastical advisor to the Sant’Egidio Community drew him to John Paul’s attention. Years of sycophancy followed, during which Paglia would brag about how he had turned the pope around on the subject of murdered Salvador archbishop Oscar Romero by telling John Paul that 'Romero was not the Left’s bishop, he was the Church’s bishop,'” he continued.

 “[Paglia] is acting precisely like those who manipulated the Synods of 2014, 2015, and 2018, i.e., another cabal of ambitious (and, frankly, not-so-bright) clerics who continually lost arguments and then tried to compensate by brutality and threats,” he stated. 

The prolific author even went so far as to suggest that Pope Francis will reward Paglia with great honors for his destruction of the pro-life and pro-family institute. 

“Is there a red hat in Archbishop Paglia’s future?” he asked. 

“If so, it will be as a reward for knee-capping scholars of impeccable scholarly credentials and personal probity, deeply beloved by their students,” he continued.  

“One wonders if the Grand-Chancellor-Become-Lord-High-Executioner of the John Paul II Institute has ever read A Man for All Seasons and Thomas More’s devastating response to his betrayal by the grasping bureaucrat, Richard Rich: “Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world…but for Wales?”

A spokesman for Archbishop Paglia told LifeSiteNews that the prelate had no comment. 

“Thank you, we have noted this,” wrote Don Riccardo. “Archbishop Paglia has no comment.” 

Since Weigel published his essay, it has come to light that eight faculty members will not be invited back to teach in the 2019/2020 school year.