By Marco Bongi
“We will find ourselves more and more faced with someone who professes to speak to us in the name of God by telling us that we have no need of Him.”
I listened to these dreadful words spoken by Alessandro Gnocchi on the 8th March 2014 at the annual meeting of Civitella del Tronto. The title of Gnocchi’s presentation was: “The Crisis of the Sacred and the Church kneeling before the World.”
At first reading this seems to be a provocative statement and a bit over the top.
However I have reflected on it for some time - not as a theologian which I am not - but as a simple layman who observes what is happening around him.
Now I have arrived at the conclusion that these are, indeed, “prophetic words” an expression which will make those who are [especially] fond of it in the wrong way very happy!
Here then are some simple thoughts on the matter:
1) In the final analysis, what is the religious liberty expressed in the concilar document Dignitatis Humanae? In the years following the document, the diplomacy of the Holy See didn’t do very much, in the name of the Council (and thus God) about the demand to remove every reference to the religion of the State from the constitution, did they? In other words, it (The Holy See) was asked to declare in the name of God that God is not important.
2) Didn’t the same thing happen with ecumenism? In the name of God they forced us to believe that, fundamentally the differences among the various Christian religions and non-Christian ones too, are - all things considered - negligible i.e. whether God is present in the Eucharist or not, whether Christ is the Son of God Incarnate or not, whether “without Faith it is impossible to please God” or not – these things are not important. So God Himself ultimately, is not important to them.
3) And the question of the Mass of Ages? If you think about it a bit, the innovators hate it because it attributes too much importance to God and to the transcendent dimension of [our] relationship with Him. In the name of God, they oblige us instead, to give importance to man, the assembly and “the supper in the community”…
4) The harshness and intransigence which admits no discussion that the modern pastors hurl at every supposition of “ a war” started in the name of Religion is also shocking: to wage war in defense of God is blasphemy, an inexcusable crime. Much more understandable instead, are the people’s revolts i.e. the occupation of factories and the so-called wars of liberation. What does it mean? It’s obvious. God is not important, there is no sense in fighting to defend Him and, if you haven’t understood this [yet], we order you to understand it in the name of God Himself!
5) There would be many more examples, but looking at the near future, I would like briefly to mention the possible and probable, re-admission of the divorced and remarried to the sacraments. We will certainly have to accept it, in the name of God’s authority, even if God has clearly said: “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” Moral: the law of God is not important, you must believe this in the name of God Himself!
6) And the praxis, (or what they like calling “the pastoral”), follows the new theology faithfully. What does it mean?: imposing, de facto, Communion in the hand, impeding, de facto, genuflections (since the kneelers have been taken away) expelling, de facto, sin, the last things, the objectivity of morality from catechesis as well as homiletics?
This is why, in my view, Alessandro’s statement is truly prophetic, in the most authentic sense of this expression.
The final questions are consequently inevitable, even if they appear provocative:
Can the ecclesiastical authorities teach such things? Is it part of their legitimate powers? Do the faithful have the duty to obey such orders?
Will God accept being put to the side like a useless toy for much longer?