Rorate Caeli

The enlightened one

The new President of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister) of the Italian Republic, an unelected man handpicked for the job by international institutions (this is not meant necessarily as any kind of support for his predecessor), named as new Minister for International Cooperation a very famous Italian Catholic: Andrea Riccardi, the founder and leader of the greatest and most influential community dedicated to ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue, the Community of Sant'Egidio

More on the mysterious Sant'Egidio sect, the main organization behind the Assisi meetings, from this 1998 article in English by Sandro Magister (who says, in this note in Italian, that Riccardi, also unelected, is somewhat disappointed because he modestly thought he should have been named head of the Farnesina, the Italian Foreign Office):

[T]hey are like the legendary group Opus Dei: impenetrable. Not even the Vatican knows much about what they do among themselves. Not even the Pope knows them, although he is friendly toward them. If he knew that the members of Sant´Egidio have practically abolished the sacrament of Penance, practicing general confession instead in their group meetings, he would rebuke them severely. If he knew about their abuses in matters of matrimony and procreation, he would leap up into the cathedra. If he knew that during their Masses the homily is always given by their founder and head, Andrea Riccardi, who is not a priest and is therefore not permitted to preach the homily (an absolute prohibition just recently restated in a Vatican instruction), he would immediately recall them to obedience.

Are these the Church´s internal affairs? Yes and No. Because what is now referred to as "The U.N. of Trastevere" is not a secular organization like "Doctors without Borders," but emerged as an essentially Catholic community. And it still presents itself this way: as a citadel of God in a world invaded by barbarians. It is by virtue of this identity and with the Pope´s blessing that Sant´Egidio offers itself "to the city and to the world" as a peacemaker in war zones - apart from offering itself as a bridge for dialogue among religions.

The members of Sant´Egidio were the ones who organized the interreligious meeting in Assisi in 1986, with the Pope praying side by side with the Dalai Lama, Orthodox metropolitans, Buddhist monks, Jewish rabbis, Muslim muftis, and gurus and shamans of every creed. Since then, Sant´Egidio has recreated the model of Assisi each year: the last time in Padua and Venice; on other occasions in Rome, Florence, Milan, Bari, Warsaw, Brussels, Malta, and Jerusalem. And there has been a crescendo of spectacular choreography, with ceremonies broadcast worldwide, with a whirl of distinguished guests, summoned from five continents, paid and pampered. The cost of each meeting runs to at least a half million dollars, covered by government and private subsidies.


Then came the monastic phase, with a dash of orientalism. The members of Sant´Egidio went on vacation in Belgium and stayed at the monastery of Chevetogne, which celebrated sophisticated Byzantine liturgies.

But the monastic phase came to an end quickly. During the summer of 1978, at a group retreat in the hermitage of Macereto in the Marches, everyone began to open up and admit to having a rather too animated sex life among themselves. From that point on the "new monasticism" was no longer discussed, and the first marriages began to take place. There remained only the absolute obedience to the undisputed de facto abbot, Riccardi.

But they´ll get their way. The members of Sant´Egidio are few in number. It´s difficult for them to make new recruits, and many leave. But they think of themselves as "the ant capable of doing great things with modest resources." They are a powerful lobby. They will influence the conclave that elects the next Pope. No Church leader wants to have them as an enemy. Riccardi frequently says to his followers: "We must seem to be more than what we really are. That is our miracle: the great bluff."


  1. Sounds strangely familiar...perhaps Regnum Christi?
    A mysterious head? I thought "Rasputin" when I saw that. St. Michael, please, please pray for us!

  2. A disturbing development, but this...

    "It´s difficult for them to make new recruits, and many leave." something of a consolation.

  3. Ligusticus5:57 PM

    On the other side -and also keeping in mind the recent unfortunate Manila appointment- , see... :

  4. Tradfly6:19 PM

    Is it a reasonable assumption that H.H. Benedict XVI knows at least as much about this organisation as is revealed here? They certainly were active back when he was "in the thick of it".

  5. Current turbulence in the EU does not bode well for Catholicism.

  6. I don't understand the emphasis on Monti's being unelected. It seems that the President of the Council of Ministers of Italy and the ministers don't have to be members of the legislature, though Monti in fact is, as he is one of five appointed Senators.

    The 3rd Marquess of Salisbury wasn't elected either when he was Prime Minister in England.

  7. Is it surprising that Monti, a member of the Bilderberg Group, should select somebody belonging to another globalist and secretive organization, albeit nominally Catholic?

  8. Ligusticus7:01 PM

    PM Monti (and Signora) last Sunday, while exiting the Sant'Ivo church in Rome, after Mass :

    (Ironically, in the Gospel for last Sunday in the Forma Ordinaria, was Matthew 25:14-30, hence inluding also the verse...

    "27 oportuit ergo te mittere pecuniam meam nummulariis et veniens ego recepissem utique quod meum est cum usura "

    Mr Monti must have been happy to hear that, applying to 'mammulariis' the hermeneutic of... consistency with Goldman Sachs & Socii..:)

  9. Ligusticus8:00 PM

    "Welcome to the web site of the Trilateral Commission. The Commission was originally created in 1973 to bring together experienced leaders within the private sector to discuss issues of global concern at a time when communication and cooperation between Europe, North America, and Asia were lacking. The Commission has grown since its early days to include members from more countries in these regions, and it continues to find that study and dialogue about the pressing problems facing our planet remain as important today as in 1973..."

    WHO is the 'Europan Chair' of the Trilateral Commission?

    Mr Senator Professor Mario Monti, the brand new Italian PM .

  10. Mr. Howard, he was made a Senator for life on Friday... precisely in order to be named Prime Minister. We could not care less about the customs of representative government, but they do exist; it is unusual for several ministers of a Parliamentary regime to be unelected (and, in the case of the Prime Minister, to have been chosen for the sinecure three days earlier). The need for some rapport with the electorate is felt so keenly that, after the last Salisbury government, the only occasion in which a peer became Prime Minister in the United Kingdom was that of the Earl of Home, who appropriately resigned his post (to which he had, anyway, not been chosen 3 days earlier...) and stood for election for the House of Commons almost immediately after.

    The situation in Italy would be considered scandalous under ordinary circumstances in any representative government, but since everything is accepted in defense of certain interests, most remain silent. We don't.


  11. Ligusticus8:49 PM

    However, dear New Catholic, a very similar situation already happened, in Italy, in 1995, with the Dini cabinet. So, it's nothing really new for Italy. (And you know, Cardinal Bertone just blessed the "good team"...: actually, many commentators see in this newly born 'technoligarchic' -my term- government, a re-gain of -even 'temporal'- power by "The Vatican".. And even a 'resurrection' of a Christian Democrat block of power.)

  12. Ligusticus9:03 PM

    But, allow me, New Catholic, just a final note : Mr Berlusconi was sometimes perceived in America and Western Europe like a sort of too close pal of Russian "supervillain" Vladimir Putin (especially in the Energy Security fired)... Now our American friends should be happy to know that the "Atlantic" side of Italy thrives again with this government : the Foreign Minister will be the present Ambassador to Washington, and the Defense Minister an Admiral (it's just the second time, the first was with Dini, that a military man is chosen for the post) who presently chairs the Military Committee of the NATO : they even didn't swear today, because one was in the American Capital, and the other in Afghanistan...

    All happy now, with Italy, the other side of the Ocean?

  13. Yes, I am aware of that, Ligusticus; not only that, it had happened earlier with the Ciampi Government (I do not recall if in either Cabinet it was the case that there was not a single elected minister, but maybe it was the case then as well). And of course it has been blessed - it would not even be in place if it had not, at least somewhat blessed... That is life in the Italian Republic, and it is not something necessarily bad. But Riccardi, and his strange community, are the object of this post, not Monti, whom we did not mention by name.


  14. Ligusticus9:12 PM

    Yes, New Catholic, even the Ciampi cabinet (albeit in a lesser degree) . You seem to be a great conosseur of Italy's politics and history!

    Yes, sorry for having digressed so much, but you know, for us in Italy, whatever one's personal opinions, last week was a momentous one...

    (Anyway: foreign policy won't be dictated much by Riccardi; some wonder rather about immigration policy , which is quite crucial in Europe.. Plus: in Italy nowadays, Sant'Egidio is in my opinion perceived as totally "mainstream" - and, besides, the Trinità dei Pellegrini church...)

    (But that's Italy, folks! - And NC knows it. :)

    Greetings from Italy to all.

  15. GQ Rep11:19 PM

    This group, just like the NeoCateumenical Way has done a great deal of damage to the Church.

    Their greatest champion was the late John Paul II !!!

    Anyone surprised?

  16. Alsaticus11:30 PM

    The "funniest" (funny very pecular) part of this appointment is that Sant'Egidio mission, apart from playing some diplomatic role (not very successful by the way) and organizing interreligious sabbath with a maximum of religious confusion is to ... care for the poor in Rome.

    So ironically Prof. Riccardi, by the way a well known scholar, will support a government that will plunge Italy into dismal poverty in order to cuddle the banksters network i.e. the exact opposite of his Catholic commitment and endeavours during decades ...
    Is it the irresistible appeal of being called Sua Eccellenza for some months ? I hope not.
    But the "evangelical" claims of Modern Catholics will always let me puzzled compared to their acts.

  17. Peterman1:47 AM

    "Minister for International Cooperation". That's rich. I have a degree in history but it doesn't take a degree in history to see that big ole' war on the horizon in Europe.

  18. Ligusticus9:22 AM

    NC and others who can read Italian, here is a very informative article about the Italian concept of "technical government" :

  19. When I'm disgusted with US politics, I take a look at my old country: it never fails to ease my pain.

  20. Anonymous8:05 PM

    Monti is a good choice as a Prime Minister and frankly I can't imagine a better man for the job at hand, or one with better chances of doing something sensible.

    This, as a politician. Privately, he is considered "cattolico liberale", which means he stinks of disobedience and heresy.



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