Rorate Caeli

Sovietization: Publisher of Book in defense of marriage accused of Conspiracy by Defenders of the Pontificate

Cantagalli, the Italian publisher that edited Remaining in the Truth of Christ (Permanere nella verità di Cristo, English version by Ignatius apparently removed from the mail of the Synod Fathers of the 2014 Extraordinary Synod on the Family) is under quite a lot of pressure. Why? Because they dared publish the book, and Kasper's anti-Christian thesis could not be opposed, despite the call for "frank discussion" in the Synod.

Don't Shoot the Editor

Lorenzo Bertocchi
La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana
February 23, 2015
Who framed Roger Rabbit?  The mystery associated with this question, which comes from a cartoon made several years ago, may be able today to be applied to a certain publishing house. 

The story begins with the publication five months ago of the book, Remaining in the Truth of Christ:  Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church. The publishing house Cantagalli publishes the book that includes essays by Cardinals Walter Brandmüller, Carlo Caffara, Velasio De Paolis, Raymond Leo Burke and Gerhard Ludwig Müller, as well as four other scholars.  The book came out in the United States as well practically at the same time.

The text—this is a mystery to no one—opposes in an articulate way the theses that  another cardinal, Kasper, had asserted in the famous consistory in February 20, 2014 as a preparatory salvo for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family.  It addresses the Kasper thesis in a particular way, as the editor, Father Robert Dodaro, OSA, said, “the “merciful” solution to divorce asserted by Cardinal Kasper is not unknown in the ancient Church, but in fact none of the authors who wrote for this book and who are all respected and well-known defend it.  Quite the contrary: when they refer to this solution advanced by Kasper, it is rather to condemn it as being contrary to Scripture.”  From this point of view access to the Eucharist to those divorced and remarried is not possible unless the couple practices continence.  This is the principle thesis that is advanced in the text of this book.

Almost immediately the book encountered heated opposition.  And up to this point there is nothing amiss.  Rather it is part of the debate that the Pope himself had requested many times for the purpose of avoiding a Synod that is blocked up on itself.  But then a new chapter is added to this paperback mystery.  The historian, Alberto Melloni, in Corriere Fiorentino, in the process of reviewing another book published by Cantagalli, put forth an interesting hypothesis:  that the publisher was lending himself to forming a base of operations for a group of cardinals that were trying to mount a real force of opposition within the College of Cardinals. In fact, to be more precise, Melloni writes that “the publishing house, with Cardinal Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as a cover, had tried with good or bad faith, only God knows (…) to organize a conspiracy against the Pope and against the Synod that involved saying publically a few hours from the beginning of the Synod that the things that Francis wanted to discuss should not be discussed”.

The narrative becomes interesting, even if with nothing really new.  In this way, according to Melloni, we have five Cardinals, with the guiding hand of the Cardinal Prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith, who are “conspiring”, using a publishing house as their base of operations.  Strong stuff, but given what happened in the meanwhile and what happened at the Synod, the uncovering of shady plots with delayed effect can only make one smile.

We should, however, take a closer look at this.  The book, which is a success, offers a contribution that encourages a debate.  Instead, Cardinal Kasper, during an interview on Vatican Insider, at the beginning of the interview said that he was surprised at the unprecedented situation that was the result of the publication of this book.  And he emphasized, with a lack of elegance, that he and the Pope agreed on everything, “he was in agreement.  They know (the five cardinals) that I have not done these things on my own.  The Pope is in agreement.  I spoke two times with him.  He showed himself as pleased.”

Curious.  The five cardinals were not in any way using abusive language against the Pope.  They were simply expounding their theses on a topic that, among others, is not closed to discussion.  Cardinal De Paolis, in an interview with the newspaper La Repubblica, in which the interviewer asked him directly about the book as a “calculated measure”, said “There is no calculated measure here.  We simply wanted to contribute to the discussion by expressing our point of view.”  Besides, the cardinal went on to say, the essays in the book were not at all kept secret but were written and delivered well before they were published in book form.

The accusation of a conspiracy with a “delayed detonation” using a book hot off the press, seems to resemble those accusations of “anti-Soviet sentiments” that were put forth by a governing regime against their political opponents.  “I wish to have the freedom to speak out about things as I see them”, said Cardinal De Paolis, “without being accused of being a conspirator”.  Evidently not every one would agree.

Obviously the same is true for the publisher Cantagalli, which should be able to go about their business without the type of messages that one might associate with the Mafia. A publisher whose seriousness and professionalism is beyond discussion for anyone who knows the books that Cantagalli has published.   But if to talk of a conspiracy is ridiculous, the pressure to stop the publication of the book was real.  And the reaction, even after five months after publication, shows that for some the book should have never seen the light of day.  Even before the book came out there was active opposition and strong pressure to remind the editor that he should not allow himself to be used as a front for Cardinals involved in an act of internal opposition and dissension. Thank goodness for frank discussion!  But everyone has to believe that is true.  Got it, Roger Rabbit?