Rorate Caeli

Rumor: Tornielli, new papal spokesman?

Spanish blog Rumores de Ángeles mentions Italian religious journalist Andrea Tornielli as a possible replacement of current papal spokesman (officially, head of the Holy See Press Office) Father Federico Lombardi.

It would certainly be good both for the Pope and for Tornielli - and, though far from being a Traditionalist, he at least understands what Traditional Catholics care about (well, at least more than Lombardi...).


  1. As an outsider looking in, let me briefly opine that such would be a very positive move. One of the weak links in this Pontificate has been (please forgive the worldly reference) PR. +Benedict's tenure has been marked by a string of public relations disasters. While these have by no means been the whole story, they have dominated the news to a degree that the really important things have often been eclipsed.

    After the SSPX / Williamson fiasco someone should have been sacked on the spot for allowing the Pope to be so publicly embarrassed. There were plenty of people in the Vatican who knew that Williamson was a ticking bomb and that any gesture with respect to the SSPX would require special handling because of his bizarre and frankly extremist beliefs. But no one had the presence of mind to warn the Pontiff? If I were a conspiracy enthusiast I would say it was a deliberate case of sabotage.

    In ICXC

  2. This would be great. I hope it proves to be true.

  3. I have listened at some length to His Excellency Bishop Williamson via internet interviews. I must say that I find the ease- no, the eagerness!- with which this Bishop is tossed under the bus by Catholics suggests an insight into the reason our cohesion and unity is so effortlessly destroyed at will by the videodrome media masters.

    John, may I ask you to address *precisely* what His Excellency Bishop Williamson has said in your experience that is "bizarre" (let us both beg the good Lord that "bizarre and extremist" in your usage does not turn out to be merely a synonym for "unapproved by the editorial Board of the New York Times").

    I have not yet been able to find one individual who casually slanders this Catholic Bishop, who is prepared to convict him of anything *other* than inconveniencing the world by refusing to accept the Holocaust Dogma with sufficient enthusiasm.

    Here's hoping you turn out to be the first, John.

  4. Rick Delano,
    Thank you for the courtesy of a question that is both direct and fair. To answer it I was under the SSPX for many years. Then Fr. Williamson was in charge of the seminary which at the time was still in CT. He was one of the priests on the circuit that served our mission in upstate NY. I had more than a passing acquaintance with Fr. Williamson.

    In my experience he was remarkably charismatic, sharp, urbane and possessed of a very dry British wit. He was unmistakably a gentleman. Regrettably I can also vouch from personal experience that he is a Holocaust denier, a staunch anti-semite, a subscriber to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and a believer in the usual dark conspiracy theories about Jews trying to take over the world.

    In short, he is a very pleasant nut case. Unless of course you, or people you know and or care for happen to be Jewish in which case you might be forgiven for dropping the "nice" part.

    Though no longer in the SSPX I still have contacts there and I am reliably informed that he has not changed.

    Under the mercy,

  5. On a side note to my last post, a friend still in the SSPX has told me that +Williamson is "sympathetic" to sede vecantism. I am not really sure how to interpret that. I can only say that while I have heard others make similar accusations I never heard a word from him directly when I knew him that suggested such.

    Under the mercy,

  6. Anonymous6:19 AM

    In that interview Williamson shows himself to be completely out of touch. He doesn't know whether SP came out in 07 or 08, and makes the ridiculous assertion that the monks of Le Barroux celebrate the new Mass! And yet he makes a great fuss about examining "the evidence"! What a joke! I fully agree with a previous contributor: nice, but nuts, and maybe not that nice at all.

  7. Rick Delano,
    Thank you for the courtesy of a question that is both direct and fair.

    >> Thank you for the direct response.

    Regrettably I can also vouch from personal experience that he is a Holocaust denier,

    >>Excuse me. It is my understanding that Bishop Williamson does not deny that the Jews were mass-murdered by the Nazis. His statements call into question the accepted numbers killed in the concentration camps, and the specific methods (he especially questions whether millions were gassed). Is it your intention to claim that anyone who shares these questions as to the historical accuracy of claims of 6,000,000 Jews killed, or 4,000,000 gassed at Auschwitz, is a Holocaust denier?

    a staunch anti-semite

    >>This is a grave accusation, and you provide no evidence whatsoever. I am compelled to point out that such a grave accusation, in a public forum, in the absence of persuasive supporting evidence, constitutes slander, an objectively mortal sin.Do you see that the mere allegation of gravely sinful prejudice against Semitic peoples ought not be publicly advanced without bothering to substantiate same? I think what you have done is grotesque, sir. I would ask you to be good enough to provide at least a shred of evidence that Bishop Williamson considers Semitic persons to be in any way, shape, or form less then fully possessed of all the rights and dignities of human persons. If you cannot, (and I am certain that you cannot) then you will perhaps be decent enough to retract. At least, please, explain just what you consider "anti-Semitism" to be. Do you, for example, consider it to be "anti-Semitic" to clearly and unambiguously proclaim that the Jew cannot be saved, at all, apart from his or her incorporation into the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ? Do you consider it to be "anti-Semitic" to point out that Jewish organizations are regularly involved in quite public attempts to enforce a change in Catholic teaching, to the effect that the Jews enjoy a saving covenant with God apart from Jesus Christ?

    I will spend no time wading through the rest of your slanders.

    You substantiate none of them.

    I think it is incumbent upon you to do so, or else to retract them.

    I thank you for your consideration.

  8. Johnny Domer7:29 AM

    Tornielli also has the advantage of, for example, not making up stuff that the Pope didn't say, and not being totally clueless like Fr. Lombardi seems to be.

  9. quirinus7:56 AM

    Tornielli would be a huge improvement, but then again it would be hard to do worse than Lombardi. At least Tornielli is sincere.

    However, on the Fisichella-Recife affair he sided with Fisichella despite the mounting evidence being offered to him on his blog combox. He was of course trying to defend the archbishop from a perceived attack on the Church, as Fisichella used to be considered one of the good guys. His was a sincere position, not the typical liberal dishonesty.

    His accurate reporting depends much on inside sources he has in the Curia, and what makes him so accurate is also what makes him much conditioned by factions in inner-circle turf-wars.

    I repeat, he would be a blessing considering the absolute scandal that is the current Press Office, but given the importance of the media in today's world, we'd need something else. Firing 90% of the parasites at Radio Vaticana and Osservatore Romano, and simply abolishing a dozen Pontifical Councils,committes and offices and sending staff back to their convents or away to Central Asia missions would also help immensely with communication.

  10. Anonymous8:41 AM

    The Last thing we need is a laymen as spokesman for the Pope!

    And we certainly don't need a journalist!

    Get real folks...the position requires a degree in theology and a very personal dedication to Christ and the Church...

  11. Jusztinián G. Rathkaj9:00 AM

    I agree with anon 08:41. Santa Croce university in Rome has enough orthodox priests who are firm in doctrine as well in PR.

  12. Anonymous9:21 AM

    Can somebody explain why is it strictly forbidden to be anti-Jewish while it is allowed to be anti-Ukrainian, even though more Ukrainians were forced to die of starvation than the Jews, in bot relative and absolute numbers? Are the Ukrainians worthless or what?

  13. Anonymous10:56 AM

    John (Ad Orientem),

    St. Maximilian Kolbe thought the Protocols were authentic and had them published several times in his papers....

    Was he an anti-semite as you imply?

    He gave up his life to save a father of a family from death at Auchwitz. That father was a jew...