Overheard on the Via dei Cestari
CARDINAL A: ‘They tell me that the Libreria Editrice Vaticana is producing books intended to portray Francis as a deep theological thinker.’
CARDINAL B: ‘If so, the project is doomed to failure. Bergoglio is the theological equivalent of Donald Trump.’
In an Easter Monday announcement, Fr Thomas Rossica, English language liason for the Holy See Press Office, has revealed that the Scalfari interview never took place, that Pope Francis never denied the existence of Hell, and that the whole incident was a seasonal hoax.
The idea, says Rossica, originated with one Sgnr Risus Paschalis, a Cypriot of Greek heritage who operates a ‘joke factory’ from a caravan park just south of Bari.
The Pope, said Fr Thomas, bitterly regrets the confusion caused, and has undertaken in the future to avoid religion and to restrict public statements at major feasts to inconsequential virtual signalling (like appeals for peace in the Middle East).
That way, says Rossica, no harm will be done.
SLEEP, sleep, old Sun! thou canst not have repast
As yet the wound thou took’st on Friday last;
Sleep then and rest; the world may bear thy stay,
A better sun rose before thee to-day.
Who not content t’ enlighten all that dwell
On the earth’s face, as thou, enlighten’d hell;
And made the dark fires languish in that vale,
As at thy presence here our fires grow pale.
Whose body, having walk’d on earth, and now
Hastening to heaven, would—that He might allow
Himself unto all stations, and fill all—
For these three days become a mineral.
He was all gold when He lay down, but rose
All tincture, and doth not alone dispose
Leaden and iron wills to good, but is
Of power to make ev’n sinful flesh like His.
Sufficit quod honesti nihil agant, ut malum vincat.
My Dear Wormwood,
You have excelled yourself! How did you do it? I know Francis is a clumsy thinker at the best of times: but to get him to deny the existence of Hell and Eternal Punishment goes beyond what we could have hoped for in our wildest dreams.
And at Easter!
Sin with impunity is the sweet gospel of Our Father who is Below (and quite the opposite of the ‘love’ and ‘mercy’ promised by the Enemy). To have made the successor of Peter its apostle is an unparalleled achievement. It is the crown of your career. You can expect rich rewards. All the kingdoms of the earth are yours for the asking!
Your delirious Uncle,
Drop, drop, slow tears,
and bathe those beauteous feet,
which brought from heaven
the news and Prince of Peace.
Cease not, wet eyes,
his mercies to entreat;
to cry for vengeance
sin doth never cease.
In your deep floods
drown all my faults and fears;
nor let his eye
see sin, but through my tears.
‘These three volumes – each a masterpiece in its own way – are the products of the ‘silent’ period of Jorge Bergoglio’s life in Argentina and Germany. They show him at work on concerns that were to become central to his papacy. It is as though, by some remarkable prescience, that he knew the destiny which was to overtake him.’
‘In these works, Francis shows himself to be a scholar of some distinction, unravelling the complex history which lies behind the liberalising revolution which has swept through the Church. But how liberal is Francis? The jury is still out, with his attitudes to women’s ordination and homosexuality still doubtful or in the balance. The groundwork has been done; Francis should now come off the fence.’
Timothy Redcliffe, OP:
‘The ‘Three Tomes’, as they are being called, undoubtedly elevate Jorge Maria Bergoglio to the ranks of the most significant theologians of recent times, along with Hans Kung and Edward Schillebeeckx. Are we to uncover further jewels from this original and fertile mind? We must wait to see.’
‘A computer analysis of the vocabulary of the three books, undertaken by Professor Julio Andreotti of the University of Otranto, has established conclusively that they are not by the same hand, nor were they originally written in Spanish. The search is on for the real authors of these books. Some have detected the hand of Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez; others a far larger involvement of the editor, Cardinal Kasper.
The matter is now receiving international attention. In a joint letter, the editors of the Washington Post and the New York Times have demanded that Julio Cesareo, head of the new dicastery for communications, release the original typescript for examination by a panel of experts. So far they have received no reply.’
*see FUNDAMENTALS below
In an exciting development, Giulio Cesareo, the new head of Libreria Editrice Vaticana (LEV) has announced the publication of three major works of theology by the present pontiff. The works, which have heretofore existed only in typescript on the shelves of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, were discovered by accident during a recent audit, and have been edited for publication in both German and Spanish by none other than Cardinal Walter Kasper.
The three books cover a wide range of topics – all of them related to the great themes which have emerged in the ministry of Pope Francis. The first is a study of the doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage in the works of Aquinas and Bonaventure; the second, a masterly survey of ‘The Individual Conscience from Bellarmine to Newman’; and the third, a voluminous commentary on the encyclical ‘Veritatis Splendor’.
The books will appear initially in a leather-bound edition, as a boxed set.
Says Cardinal Blase Cupich, in a specially commissioned preface:
‘These are the works we have all been waiting for. Elegant, erudite and compassionate, these volumes will be seen as the rock upon which the ‘paradigm shift’ which has come about in the last five years, stands firm and proud. Who can but wonder at the modesty of this Pope, who has allowed these great works to languish so long in obscurity whilst he courageously leads the Church along the path which they outline?’
In a gracious foreword, Bartholemew, the Ecumenical Patriarch echoes Cupich’s sentiments: ‘These are not simply books; they are much more than that: they are a light shining on the very essentials of the Faith.’
A presentation set, signed by both Pope Francis and Cardinal Kasper, will be auctioned at the Frankfurter Buchmesse, the proceeds to go to the Istituto Dermopatico dell’Immacolata (IDI), a charity close to the heart of the Holy Father.