John Rao | Remnant Columnist, New York
“The Syllabus in complete form is already in La Civiltà Cattolica in 1850. It is nothing other than the codification, the unconditional approval, the supreme papal sanction of those principles and doctrines that, already at the time of the definition of the Immaculate Conception, that periodical had assumed the task of promoting, and which for years and years it tenaciously supported.” (A. Dioscordi, “La rivoluzione italiana e la Civiltà Cattolica”, Atti del XXXII congresso del Risorgimento italiano, Rome, 1956, p. 94.)
The Catholic world has been shaken by the recent interview with Pope Francis appearing in the Jesuit journal, La Civiltà Cattolica [Italian for Catholic Civilization, it is a periodical published since 1850 without interruptions by the Jesuits in Rome. It is among the oldest of Catholic Italian periodicals and is directly revised by the Secretariat of State of the Holy See before being published.] Having done my doctoral dissertation on the first twenty years of that periodical’s history, I thought it might be interesting to Remnant readers to know that they can find in its original articles—and, in fact, in its very reason for existence—all the grounds necessary for a faithful critique of the pope’s words. For La Civiltà Cattolica was founded in 1850 precisely to combat the obvious Church weakness and surrender to willfulness that were the inevitable by-product of the kind of “open” approach to “diverse” modern men that the Holy Father is now once again promoting. Perhaps recalling this life-giving lesson from the journal’s past may inspire second thoughts tempering the truly deadening effect of the words found in its current pages.