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Fr. Antonio Spadaro (L) with Pope Francis (R)Twitter

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VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — The prominent Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, known as “the Pope’s mouthpiece,” has resigned his long-standing position as editor of the regularly heterodox La Civilta Cattolica and been appointed to a position in the Roman curia. 

Spadaro took to X (formerly known as Twitter) on September 14 to announce that his 12-year stint as editor of La Civilta Cattolica would come to an end at the close of the month. 

READ: Senior Jesuit priest and close friend of Pope Francis accuses Jesus of being ‘stymied and callous’

In a letter marking his departure from the international Jesuit publication, Spadaro wrote:

Civiltà Cattolica has journeyed through this time as it always has: with fidelity to the Holy See, to the pope, and to today’s world in intense and significant times and situations. The Church? Today, she ‘needs to protest, call and cry out,’ Francis said. 

The journal has protested, called, cried out. It has done so diplomatically, but also with parrhesia. How it was possible to continue with both in mind is a mystery whose judges are our readers… It has fought against suffocating and petty-minded thought. It has not avoided taking a stand, especially when the risk was to be accused of hypocrisy or ‘fence-sitting.’

Spadaro highlighted his own close link with Pope Francis and the role that it had played in the expansion of the Jesuit journal, saying that La Civilta’s close relationship with the Pope “has also taken on new forms, for example, in the director’s [Spadaro’s] participation in the Holy Father’s apostolic travel as a member of the official delegation.”

He will be succeeded by the Portuguese Jesuit Father Nuno da Silva Gonçalves, the former rector of the Jesuit-run Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. 

Some hours after Spadaro announced his own resignation, the Holy See Press Office issued news of his promotion to a curial position at the Vatican. Pope Francis has elevated Spadaro to be the Under-Secretary of the Congregation (now Dicastery) for Culture and Education, led by pro-LGBT Cardinal José Tolentino de Mendonça.

Spadaro will assume his new curial role on January 1, 2024.

Under Spadaro’s leadership, La Civilta Cattolica has been the home of the Pope’s regular meetings with Jesuits in the countries he visits as part of his international travels. The conversations have regularly been marked for their heterodoxy and attacks on Catholic Tradition. But Spadaro lauded the meetings, describing them as “a report of open and spontaneous dialogue on issues relevant to the Church, as well as of his experience as a Jesuit.”

READ: Vatican-approved journal suggests Pope Francis might soon contradict Church’s birth control ban

Spadaro has long been known as “one of the pontiff’s trusted advisers,” who “has the pope’s ear.” It was under Spadaro’s editorial leadership that Civilta Cattolica published a 2022 article suggesting that Pope Francis would soon attempt to overturn the Church’s teaching on contraception. 

Civilta Cattolica is notable for having its content reviewed by the Vatican’s Secretariat of State before publishing. Notwithstanding that, an article written by Father Jorge José Ferrer, S.J., suggested the Francis might write “a new encyclical or apostolic exhortation on bioethics” in line with a book by the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) which proposes both contraception and artificial insemination as morally acceptable.

The Pope later appeared to give credence to the argument by refusing to rule out some future openness to allowing contraceptives.

READ: Pope Francis on the Church’s ban of birth control: Morality is ‘always on a path of development’

More recently, Spadaro made waves by publishing a Gospel reflection accusing Jesus Christ of being “stymied and callous.” Commenting on the Gospel of Matthew 15: 21-28 and Christ’s encounter with the Canaanite woman whose daughter was afflicted by a demon, Spadaro accused Christ of being first “indifferent” and then “stymied and callous.”

He argued that Christ’s continued conversation with the Canaanite woman was marked by the cultural “rigidity” of the time and that the woman needed to “upset Jesus’ rigidity” in order to “to ‘convert’ him to himself.”

But Spadaro has long been encircled by controversy stemming from his remarks supportive of Pope Francis’ more noteworthy or heterodox actions. Be it in his earning the direct rebuke of Cardinal Raymond Burke for arguing that the 2015 Synod on the Family had opened the door to Communion for the “re-married,” his 2018 defense and praise of the highly controversial Sino-Vatican deal, or arguing in seeming reference to Amoris Laetitia that “2 + 2 in theology can make 5,” Spadaro’s tenure as editor of the Jesuit journal has not been without note.

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