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Alberto Carosa | Rome Reporter

Exclusive Remnant Interview...

vigano and valliArchbishop Viganò and journalist Aldo Valli

"They have called me a traitor, a hypocrite, and false. Obviously, given that these accusations come from the enemies of the Church, I consider all of these accusations like medals of honor in the defense of the Truth." – Aldo Maria Valli
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National state TV RAI journalist Aldo Maria Valli and church musician Aurelio Porfiri are two leading Italian Catholic figures who decided to join forces and publicly voice their uneasiness, to say the least, with the present state of affairs in the Catholic Church from their traditional vision of the faith.

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June 24th, 2019, marked the 800th anniversary of the day St. Francis met the Sultan of Egypt. The Italian Bishops Conference CEI news agency, SIR, acknowledged this in a March 1st, 2019 dispatch on the special stamp issued to commemorate the anniversary of such historical event.

Among the most recent commemoration initiatives, an exhibition with over 50 images focused on the anniversary was inaugurated on Friday, May 24, at the Sala Dono Doni of the Sacred Convent in Assisi. It will be open to the public till September 1.

The World Congress of Families (WCF) and the International Organization for the Family (IOF) have announced that the World Congress of Families XIII will be held in Verona, Italy, March 29-31, 2019, and its newly-launched website is now online for registration of participants and the some 1000 delegates scheduled to attend.

The World Congress of Families (WCF), as stated in the above website, is “a major international public event that seeks to unite and equip leaders, organizations, and families to affirm, celebrate, and defend the natural family as the only fundamental and sustainable unit of society”.

This is the first time such international event will be held in Italy, and most notably in Verona, a world-renowned city immortalized by William Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet. But the choice of Verona as the setting of the Congress could not have appeared more appropriate also for another reason: the pro-life and pro-family attitude shown in a public vote by the populist right-wing League led local administration.

On Thursday night, October 4th, 2018, as reported in news agency ANSA (October 5th, 2018), Verona city council approved a League motion declaring Verona "a pro-life city" and funding Catholic anti-abortion groups. During the vote, the women's group Non Una Di Meno (Not One Woman Less) protested wearing dresses from the TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale. Verona MP Alessia Rotta of the centre-left opposition Democratic Party (PD) said "in the night Verona and its women citizens were hit by an unacceptable slap in the face". She was quoted as saying "the vote took us back to years when women died of widespread backstreet abortions". PD deputy chair Barbara Pollastrini said the vote "represents a symbolic and grave step backwards with respect to a serious and important law like the 194 (abortion law of 1975)". She urged the PD council leader, who voted with the League, to apologise for supporting the motion. The PD caucus leader Carla Padovani, who has courted controversy with traditional Catholic views and demanded to be removed from a video of Verona's first gay civil union, was unapologetic saying "life is a universal value and not one of a party". It was a vote according to her conscience, she said. Monica Cirinnà, sponsor of last year's civil unions legislation, said "I'm  disgusted" and, referring to the PD caucus leader's vote, added: "The PD must be leftwing". PD leader Maurizio Martina said "hands off the 194, there can be no ambiguity...no return to the Middle Ages".

Image result for WORLD CONGRESS OF FAMILIES

That the above motion was still sending shockwaves across the liberal-secularist political establishment was shown beyond any reasonable doubt in late November, in connection with the United Nations-backed International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November. To mark this date, feminist demonstrations were held in Rome, Milan and other Italian cities, including Verona. Here also the Non Una Di Meno movement took to the streets, not only to recall the victims of feminicide and male aggression, but also demanding greater rights for women, those very rights now under threat following initiatives like the ones enacted in Verona.

This continued rabid reaction appears to be motivated by another consideration: what happened in Verona in early October is not an isolated initiative at local policy level, but the reflection of avowed convictions at regional and national policy level, in particular of at least two senior government officials of the League, deputy premier and minister of internal affairs Matteo Salvini, who is also the League head, and the minister for family and disability Lorenzo Fontana. The latter is himself from Verona, where he was also appointed deputy mayor in July 2017, an office he had to renounce after being appointed minister in June 2018. Minister Fontana is “accused” of being a hardline traditional minded Catholic (he married with the pre-Vatican ii rite in the personal parish church of Trinità dei Pellegrini catering for the traditionalist community in Rome) and is on record for having sparked a row whenever he has publicly restated his deeply-held pro-life and pro-family convictions. He is a staunch opponent of abortion, same-sex unions, stepchild adoption and pro-LGBT sex education, which he considers as a "weakening of the family", so much so that in 2018 he co-authored with Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, Catholic economist and former head of the Vatican bank IOR, the book “La culla vuota della civiltà. All'origine della crisi" (The empty cradle of civilization. At the origin of the crisis") about the risks related to the demographic winter in Italy. No surprise then if minister Fontana is said to be working on a package of measures, including tax breaks and subsidized service to support the traditional natural family based on the marriage between man and woman.

The book was prefaced by the League leader Matteo Salvini, who joined minister Fontana and other League heavyweights including the Governor of the Veneto Region, Luca Zaia, and the Mayor of Verona, Federico Sboarina, for the official launch of the WCF 2018 in the city of Romeo and Juliet. “We are proud to host the world’s families in Verona, this is the Europe that we like”, Matteo Salvini was quoted as saying during his meeting with the Italian organisers of the WCF, who on the occasion were headed by its president Brian Brown. These words were echoed by minister Fontana when he received the delegation. “The family will be for us the axis of Europe for the future”, he was also quotes as saying (cf Corriere della Sera, October 5th, 2018).

Image result for pro life veronaThe "City of Love" declared itself Pro-life

And perhaps more than that, since these pro-lifers shared the vision that the family is to be supported for a very simple reason: it’s the hub for “a counter-revolution of good common sense and reason”, capable to provide a real deep-rooted and shared identity for the peoples of the whole of Europe and the entire world (La Verità, October 5th, 2018).

Whereas the meeting with the national government officials took place in Rome, the WCF organisers were received by the local leaders in Verona, where its major Sboarina welcomed them saying that the congress “will be the occasion to re-proclaim values dear to me and that are part of my administration’s programme…Verona is proud to welcome the thousand people participating in the Congress, but most of all of becoming a laboratory of ideas and initiatives promoting the defence of life, from conception to natural death, and of family in the respect of the valuable diversities between man and woman”. For his part, while expressing his thanks and appreciation for the warm welcome received, Brian Brown pledged to make all he could for the upcoming WCF in Verona to become a watershed event, with the hope for “Italy to become again a beacon of civilization for Europe and the whole world”, he was quoted as saying. (in L’Arena, October 4th, 2018).

As reported in La Verità (cit.), Brown is convinced that a new wind is blowing from Italy, a wind which is changing also Western Europe. And probably not only Western Europe. The latest editions of the WCF took place in Eastern Europe, with the 2018 edition being held 13 - 16 September in the capital city of Moldova, Chisinau, where the WCF proceedings saw also the participation of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

To know more about the WCF and its programme in Verona:

https://www.wcfverona.org/en/#

The recent “lectio magistralis” given by Cardinal Raymond Burke in L’Aquila on March 24th, 2018, proved an extraordinary opportunity to deepen the Catholic doctrine on fundamental issues, with special reference to the Sacred Liturgy as the highest expression of Christian life. Starting from and based on his personal experience, the Cardinal's lecture touched also on various other topics of particular relevance in today's ecclesial and social life: clergy formation, secularization and ethical relativism, family, bioethics and youth education.

Rome. The annual international pilgrimage to Rome in thanksgiving for the Motu Proprio of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, who with this apostolic letter intended to liberalize the celebration of the traditional pre-Vatican II Roman rite of the mass, will take place on September 14-17, 2017. In fact, it is meant to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the Motu Proprio, which was dated 7 July 2007 and entered into force on 14 September 2007.

Editor’s Note: "Seeking Clarity: One year after Amoris Laetitia," was the name of an important conference which took place recently and just down the street from St. Peter’s in Rome. The conference presented the interventions of six internationally renowned lay scholars who discussed the importance of a formal correction of Pope Francis, calling on him to at least answer the dubia of Cardinal Burke and the three cardinals over the disastrous Amoris Laetitia. Here is the gist of how the scholars approached the subject. MJM

ROME: Italian Catholic apologetics monthly “Il Timone” and online daily “La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana”, both edited by Riccardo Cascioli, promoted a conference in Rome on post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia with the participation of six lay scholars from five continents.

“Indeed, it is the first time for an international conference on the most debated and controversial points of Amoris Laetitia to be organized by lay people and with the participation of lay people from different parts of the world”, Cascioli pointed out in his introductory remarks. And as matter of fact the author of this article can testify that it was so true that only a few member of the clergy were present, in their personal capacity, with no high-ranking prelates in attendance.
Rome. March 5th, 2017, marked the 50th anniversary of the Vatican II instruction Musicam Sacram, the Council’s document on sacred music, and on the occasion the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Congregation for Catholic Education, in collaboration with the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music and the Pontifical Liturgical Institute of the Athenaeum Sant’Anselmo, organized the Conference on “Music and Church: Cult and Culture, 50 years after Musicam Sacram”.

Pope Francis, in his message to the participants dated March 4, 2017 – after having highlighted the importance of the aesthetic and musical formation of clergy, religious and the lay people involved in pastoral life – on the one hand called for “safeguarding and enhancing the rich and manifold patrimony inherited from the past”, and on the other hand “to ensure that sacred music and liturgical chant be fully ‘inculturated’ in the artistic and musical language of the current time”; namely, “to incarnate and translate the Word of God into song, sound and harmony capable of making the hearts of our contemporaries resonate, also creating an appropriate emotional climate which disposes people to faith and stirs openness and full participation in the mystery being celebrated.”

Acknowledging that “at times a certain mediocrity, superficiality and banality have prevailed, to the detriment of the beauty and intensity of liturgical celebrations”, Pope Francis concluded his address by calling upon “the various key figures in this sphere, musicians, composers, conductors and choristers of the scholae cantorum, with liturgical coordinators” to make “a precious contribution to the renewal, especially in qualitative terms, of sacred music and of liturgical chant”.

The following day, over two hundred musicians, musicologists and sacred music experts issued the petition “A Statement on the Current Situation of Sacred Music” to Church authorities for them to correct a situation that is increasingly getting out of hand. This petition was jointly promoted by two renowned musicians and musicologists, Aurelio Porfiri, director of the international magazine, Altare Dei, published in Macao and Hong Kong and author of books and essays on sacred music and liturgy, and the American Peter A. Kwasniewski, a professor of theology and philosophy and choir director at Wyoming Catholic College.

“The undersigned—musicians, pastors, teachers, scholars, and lovers of sacred music—humbly offer to the Catholic community around the world this statement”, the Statement opens, “expressing our great love for the Church’s treasury of sacred music and our deep concerns about its current plight.” 

After recalling documents and the history of the love the Church has always had for such expressive forms, the petition then goes on summarizing some of the most significant motivations underlying the present deplorable situation of sacred music and of the liturgy:

1.There has been a loss of understanding of the “musical shape of the liturgy,” that is, that music is an inherent part of the very essence of liturgy as public, formal, solemn worship of God. We are not merely to sing at Mass, but to sing the Mass. Hence, as Musicam Sacram itself reminded us, the priest’s parts should be chanted to the tones given in the Missal, with the people making the responses; the singing of the Ordinary of the Mass in Gregorian chant or music inspired by it should be encouraged; and the Propers of the Mass, too, should be given the pride of place that befits their historical prominence, their liturgical function, and their theological depth.
2.This loss of liturgical and theological understanding goes hand-in-hand with an embrace of secularism. The secularism of popular musical styles has contributed to a desacralization of the liturgy, while the secularism of profit-based commercialism has reinforced the imposition of mediocre collections of music upon parishes. It has encouraged an anthropocentrism in the liturgy that undermines its very nature. Today, the Church is not actively using her cultural riches to evangelize, but is mostly used by a prevalent secular culture, born in opposition to Christianity, which destabilizes the sense of adoration that is at the heart of the Christian faith.  Pope Francis, in his homily for the feast of Corpus Christi on June 4, 2015, has spoken of “the Church’s amazement at this reality [of the Most Holy Eucharist] . . . An astonishment which always feeds contemplation, adoration, and memory.” In many of our Churches around the world, where is this sense of contemplation, this adoration, this astonishment for the mystery of the Eucharist?
3. There are groups in the Church that push for a “renewal” that does not reflect Church teaching but rather serves their own agenda, worldview, and interests. These groups have members in key leadership positions from which they put into practice their plans, their idea of culture, and the way we have to deal with contemporary issues. In some countries, faithful to the directives of Vatican II, powerful lobbies have contributed to the de facto replacement of liturgical repertoires with low-quality repertoires. Thus, we end up with repertoires of new liturgical music of very low standards as regards both the text and the music. This is understandable when we reflect that nothing of lasting worth can come from a lack of training and expertise, especially when people neglect the wise precepts of Church tradition: On these grounds Gregorian Chant has always been regarded as the supreme model for sacred music, so that it is fully legitimate to lay down the following rule: the more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savor the Gregorian form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes; and the more out of harmony it is with that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the temple (St. Pius X, Motu Proprio Tra le Sollecitudini). Today this “supreme model” is often discarded, if not despised.
4. This disdain for Gregorian chant and traditional repertoires is one sign of a much bigger problem, that of disdain for Tradition. Sacrosanctum Concilium teaches that the musical and artistic heritage of the Church should be respected and cherished, because it is the embodiment of centuries of worship and prayer, and an expression of the highest peak of human creativity and spirituality. There was a time when the Church did not run after the latest fashion, but was the maker and arbiter of culture. The lack of commitment to tradition has put the Church and her liturgy on an uncertain and meandering path. The attempted separation of the teaching of Vatican II from previous Church teachings is a dead end, and the only way forward is the hermeneutic of continuity endorsed by Pope Benedict XVI. Recovering the unity, integrity, and harmony of Catholic teaching is the condition for restoring both the liturgy and its music to a noble condition. As Pope Francis taught us in his first encyclical: “Self-knowledge is only possible when we share in a greater memory.” (Lumen Fidei 38)
5. Another cause of the decadence of sacred music is clericalism, the abuse of clerical position and status. Clergy who are often poorly educated in the great tradition of sacred music continue to make decisions about personnel and policies that contravene the authentic spirit of the liturgy and the renewal of sacred music repeatedly called for in our times. Often, they even contradict Vatican II teachings in the name of a supposed “spirit of the Council.” Moreover, especially in countries of ancient Christian heritage, members of the clergy have access to positions that are not available to laity, when there are lay musicians fully capable of offering an equal or superior professional service to the Church. 


Despite the above gloomy picture, the petition promoters still “maintain the hope that there is a way out of this winter” and to this purpose offer a set of proposals in spiritu humilitatis, for the dignity of the liturgy and of its music in the Church to be fully restored:   

1. As musicians, pastors, scholars, and Catholics who love Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony, so frequently praised and recommended by the Magisterium, we ask for a re-affirmation of this heritage alongside modern sacred compositions in Latin or vernacular languages that take their inspiration from this great tradition; and we ask for concrete steps to promote it everywhere, in every church across the globe, so that all Catholics can sing the praises of God with one voice, one mind and heart, one common culture that transcends all their differences. We also ask for a re-affirmation of the unique importance of the pipe organ for the sacred liturgy, because of its singular capacity to elevate hearts to the Lord and its perfect suitability for supporting the singing of choirs and congregations.
2. It is necessary that the education to good taste in music and liturgy start with children. Often educators without musical training believe that children cannot appreciate the beauty of true art. This is far from the truth. Using a pedagogy that will help them approach the beauty of the liturgy, children will be formed in a way that will fortify their strength, because they will be offered nourishing spiritual bread and not the apparently tasty but unhealthy food of industrial origin (as when “Masses for children” feature pop-inspired music).  
3. If children are to appreciate the beauty of music and art, if they are to understand the importance of the liturgy as fons et culmen of the life of the Church, we must have a strong laity who will follow the Magisterium. We need to give space to well-trained laity in areas that have to do with art and with music. This “professional” status must be recognized, respected, and promoted in practical ways.
4. Higher standards for musical repertoire and skill should be insisted on for cathedrals and basilicas. Bishops in every diocese should hire at least a professional music director and/or an organist who would follow clear directions on how to foster excellent liturgical music in that cathedral or basilica, and who would offer a shining example in combining works of the great tradition with appropriate new compositions.  
5. We suggest that in every basilica and cathedral there be the encouragement of a weekly Mass celebrated in Latin (in either Form of the Roman Rite) so as to maintain the link we have with our liturgical, cultural, artistic, and theological heritage. The fact that many young people today are rediscovering the beauty of Latin in the liturgy is surely a sign of the times, and prompts us to bury the battles of the past and seek a more “catholic” approach that draws upon all the centuries of Catholic worship.  
6. Liturgical and musical training of clergy should be a priority for the Bishops. Clergy have a responsibility to learn and practice their liturgical melodies, since, according to Musicam Sacram and other documents, they should be able to chant the prayers of the liturgy, not merely to say the words. In seminaries and at the university, they should come to be familiar with and appreciate the great tradition of sacred music in the Church, in harmony with the Magisterium, and following the sound principle of Matthew 13:52: “Every scribe who has been instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old.”
7. In the past, Catholic publishers played a great role in spreading good examples of sacred music, old and new. Today, the same publishers, even if they belong to dioceses or religious institutions, often spread music that is not right for the liturgy, following only commercial considerations. Many faithful Catholics think that what mainstream publishers offer is in line with the doctrine of the Catholic Church regarding liturgy and music, when it is frequently not so.  
8. The formation of liturgists is also fundamental. Just as musicians need to understand the essentials of liturgical history and theology, so too must liturgists be educated in Gregorian chant, polyphony, and the entire musical tradition of the Church, so that they may discern between what is good and what is bad.


“The remembrance, memory, and treasure represented by our Catholic tradition is not something of the past alone”, the petition concludes. “It is still a vital force in the present, and will always be a gift of beauty to future generations.”

buxMsgr. Bux, Pope Benedict XVI


“giving witness to the truth involves the abandonment of friends, betrayal and death”


As the debate on the exhortation "Amoris Laetitia" is raging on, Msgr. Nicola Bux has kindly agreed to share some comments on the present state of affairs, especially following the letter to the Pope by four cardinals seeking clarification on specific points of the above document. For those who may be not aware, theologian and Vatican liturgical consulter, Msgr. Nicola Bux, is also professor of sacramental theology and author of several books on the liturgy, including 2016’s Con i sacramenti non si scherza (The Sacraments Are Not a Joke).

Q. You are certainly following closely the story regarding the letter to Pope Francis by the four cardinal asking for a final clarification of certain aspects of the exhortation "Amoris Laetitia", which in their opinion are not so clear. What do you think?

ROME -- Our Lord told his disciples that the proclamation of the Kingdom of God is highly likely to cause opposition, hostility and even persecution. Under these circumstances, Jesus said, “everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33). By extension, this concept may well apply not only to Our Lord, but also to Our Lady, the Virgin Mary: this is precisely the consideration which immediately comes to mind considering what happened on the 19-21 August weekend in Rimini during the annual meeting organized by Communion and Liberation (CL), when a statue of the Virgin Mary was covered by a cloth "to avoid clashes" and religious pictures removed because of the fear of Islamic extremists, as reported not only in il Giornale, but also in other national dailies portals, such as la Repubblica and il Tempo.
An Interview with international pilgrimage co-ordinator Guillame Ferluc

The first international pilgrimage Summorum Pontificum, since Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s motu proprio liberalized the celebration of the traditional Roman rite of the mass in 2007, took place in 2012. The idea was to thank him on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of its implementation and to mark the Year of Faith. Due to the success of this first edition, which was made possible by some concurrent key factors including the support of lay people from Italy, the then president of the FIUV (Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce, more commonly known as Una Voce), Leo Darroch, and a diocesan French priest, Fr. Claude Barthe, it has now become an annual event. We have approached its main international coordinator, Guillaume Ferluc, to know more about the general programme of its fourth edition, due to take place 22-25 October 2015 in Rome.

Q. Could you elaborate a bit on the main features of this year’s edition of the pilgrimage Summorum Pontificum?
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