Rorate Caeli

A Public Letter from Italian Laity: Francis, enough! Stop the ideological Civil War in the Church

This heartfelt letter by several Italian lay people was published today in Italian daily IL FOGLIO. The laity are exhausted after 8 years of war conducted from on top: we want peace. Stop, Francis, just stop.

Holy Father,

The latest book by Andrea Riccardi, founder of Sant'Egidio and a well-known voice of the progressive Catholic world is entitled "The Church is Burning: Crisis and the Future of Christianity ”.

We have not written any books, we have not conducted any detailed analysis, but we see every day the slow fire that devours and destroys the Catholic Church in Italy and around the world.

The resignation of Benedict XVI, eight years ago, left many in desolation and others in hope. For some time there was talk of the "Bergoglio effect", alluding to a rebirth that unfortunately never took place. On the contrary! The "Church that goes forth" has remained a slogan with no real application. On the contrary, the holy city of Christianity [Rome], in the age of covid, was the first to barricade its churches, giving the world a sign of total desertion.

We have witnessed synodal journeys that have seemed like real civil wars, with maneuvers committed to guaranteeing a Soviet-style democracy, and which have led to controversial and practically completely useless documents. The churches, the confessionals, even the Vatican coffers are increasingly empty: a sign that the People of God do not recognize the voice of the shepherds.

Chinese Catholics, led by Cardinal Zen, suffer from the Vatican's agreements with the Chinese Communist dictatorship; cardinals who have been in the breach for years, alongside you, like Becciu, have ended up in economic scandals that had not been seen since Marcinkus; others, such as Caffarra, Burke, Sarah, Müller, Pell, were humiliated, silenced and ignored; still others, very close to you, have prevented the US Bishops' Conference from going deep into the pedophilia scandal...

As if this were not enough, entire conservative religious orders have been commissioned and have had to suffer persecution that was unimaginable even in the darkest times of the Holy Inquisition; even personalities of completely opposite orientation, such as Enzo Bianchi, were "mercied" overnight, with unprecedented harshness. So have bishops, priests, religious... throughout the country.

The Church today truly is a "field hospital", filled with wounded, which urgently needs not so much speeches on mercy, but true, real, concrete mercy. And peace.

Your latest provision against the so-called Latin Mass has further wreaked havoc and division, without any motivation. Why deny that which your predecessor had granted? Why humiliate a tiny flock of faithful, accusing them all in a summary way, without appeal, and -- as it appears ever more evident -- with no basis?

Thus, after 8 years the "Church is burning" as never before: it is divided and torn apart, in Italy, in China, in the United States, in Germany… as in Luther's time.

We lay people, too -- albeit freer and not subjected to the growing arbitrariness of the clerical world -- suffer from this climate that has become heavy, almost unbreathable, this now total disappearance within the Church of all healthy plurality. Mother Church seems more and more like a stepmother, imposes anathemas, excommunications, commissariats, continuously.

We therefore ask you humbly: put an end to this civil war in the Church, as a Father who looks towards the good of all his children, and not as the head of a clerical current that seems to want to use his monarchical authority to the full, often beyond the confines of canon law, in order to accomplish an ideological personal agenda.


Luigi Abeti, Tina Abbate, Francesco Agnoli, Sabrina Caporali, Teresa Di Chio, Claudio Forti, Silvia Frassinito, Giacomo Luigi Mancini, Simone Ortolani, Riccardo Rodelli, Manuela Zanzottera, Giovanni Zenone 

[Source: Il Foglio, via Messa in Latino