Abuse of Canon Law by Pope Francis, not least to protect his friends

Francis and the law.  A love that never blossomed.

In his autobiography released recently, Pope Francis states: "In 2013 there was a great desire to change things, to abandon certain attitudes that unfortunately still struggle to disappear today. There are always those who try to slow down the reform, those who would like to remain stuck in the times of the Pope-King." Reading these words shocked many within the Leonine walls and beyond. If there is a Pontiff who brought back the idea of the Pope-King, it is Francis himself. In recent years the law has been used against people rather than in their favour. In particular, priests, bishops and cardinals were targeted.

These are issues that the average layperson, the one who is parked in our parishes to suck a little blood from the coffers of our Churches, does not perceive because often even the priest in the suburban parish does not pay attention to these issues until is touched. Then when you open your eyes a little and start looking at reality then you suddenly wake up. In our environment, we are often used to cultivating our own little garden and until we happen to be victims of an injustice, accused of crimes, or entangled in administrative problems we don't mind looking beyond the fence that protects us.

Even during studies in the seminary, canon law is approached very superficially and no attention is paid to the importance of the norms which are written to protect the faithful and the clerics, not to create problems for them. In recent years the Pope has modified the Code of Canon Law several times and issued thousands of Motu Proprio. All rules that have changed the lives of individuals, especially clerics and religious, and have transformed what was a system in favor of the salvation of souls into a vexatious, pompous, bureaucratic and often incomprehensible system. In the classrooms of the pontifical faculties it was said: "If the professor knows the subject he will be able to explain it with simplicity. If it becomes complex it means that not even he knows what he is talking about". And this actually emerges from the numerous norms made the Pope sign by those he chose as his collaborators. On a strictly canonical level, the Pope often availed himself of the help of Gianfranco Ghirlanda. A Jesuit like him, Ghirlanda is the personification of law to the detriment of people. Just like Ignatius of Loyola the idea is military, there is no ability to relax, there is no possibility of discussion but only big convoluted speeches. If we also put on that veil of pride that distinguishes it, then we're on a roll. Let's think about the texts that Ghirlanda edited: Praedicate Evangelium, Riforma Opus Dei, Costituzione Ordine di Malta and In Ecclesiarum Communione (only relatively).

They have proven to be inapplicable and difficult to understand to the point that the "authentic interpretations" that are constantly requested by jurists and professionals are wasted. The Order of Malta no longer knows where to turn its head. There are more letters of interpretation that Ghirlanda signs than greeting cards that they send to the various institutions. These authentic interpretations, then, one day say one thing and the next day they say the opposite. After all, one cannot expect much more from people who have always traveled following their own ideologies rather than studying law books. Ghirlanda, right from school, has always had two great fetishes: lay people at the head of departments and the destruction of Opus Dei. With Francesco he succeeded in both intentions. Once upon a time, however, he would have had to struggle to find justification for his bizarre theories, today not even that.

The laity and the power of jurisdiction

Let's think about the question of power of governance. The Code of Canon Law is very clear. In canon 129 it states: "Those who are awarded the sacred order, in accordance with the provisions of law, are eligible for the power of governance, which properly exists in the Church by divine institution and is also called the power of jurisdiction". The second paragraph specifies: "In the exercise of the same power, the lay faithful can cooperate in accordance with the law".

It's about cooperation, nothing else. Today there are those who speak of "co-responsibility", "responsibility", etc... All of which are not possible, they have no legal and theological basis. Regarding this problem, one of the fundamental issues at the moment, none of the cardinals, jurists or major protesters have dared to raise a shield. If we're talking about morality, yes, everyone is ready to take up the magnifying glass and the bazooka. If these are fundamental issues for the very survival of the Church - which involve doctrine and law - we can also move on. In recent years, no one has asked Gianfranco Ghirlanda or the Pontiff how they can justify the presence of lay people - alone and autonomous - in roles that include the power of government without having first reflected or started a discussion on the doctrine and Canon 129 CJC.

The right sword of Damocles

Even carrying out forensic activity has become something impossible, unsustainable. Of course, there are many lay people who perform this role for money and have no interest either in the object of the cause, or in the people. Let us think, however, of those who carry out this activity because they firmly believe in what they do and have the good of people at heart. Finding yourself in the courtroom discussing a case and seeing that the Pontiff - therefore the legislator - continues to change the rules continuously is frustrating. These changes, then, are always to the detriment of people, never aimed at the search for the Truth, at rehabilitation, at welcoming the one who has erred. There are many cases in which priests are accused of abusing minors or vulnerable people and the Church is not interested in ascertaining the Truth but, rather, in the desire to appease the hungry media by feeding them the accused. In recent years, cases of adults accusing priests have been increasing. Often these are people unjustly accused by individuals who have been kicked out of seminaries, kicked out of parishes, removed from parish houses and are now acting out of revenge. The Church, merciful mother, what does she do? He suspends the priest a divinis and isolates him even before having verified the truthfulness of what is said. Silere non possum recounted the case of Don Mauro Galli, exemplary in this sense. Those bishops who do not conform to this system of media pillory are accused of being conniving and covering up.

In this sense, Benedict XVI's words addressed to the students of the Rome Major Seminary in 2012 are impressive. It was a particularly complex period for the Pontiff, just a year before his resignation, in which he was already reflecting on the decision he would then make. "We see - said Benedict XVI - this power of evil today, for example, in two great powers which are useful and good in themselves but can easily be abused: the power of finance and the power of the media. Both are necessary, because they can be useful, but are so easy to abuse that they frequently convey the opposite of their true intentions.

We see that the world of finance can dominate the human being, that possessions and appearance dominate the world and enslave it. The world of finance is no longer an instrument to foster well-being, to foster human life, but becomes a power that oppresses it, that almost demands worship: “Mammon”, the real false divinity that dominates the world. To counter this conformism of submission to this power we must be non-conformist: “having” does not count, it is “being” that counts! Let us not submit to the former, let us use it as a means, but with the freedom of God’s children.

Then the other, the power of public opinion. Of course we need information, we need knowledge of world affairs, but then it can be a power of appearance; in the end, what is said counts more than the reality itself. An appearance is superimposed on reality, it becomes more important, and man no longer follows the truth of his being, but wishes above all to appear, to be in conformity with these realities. And Christian non-conformism is also against this: we do not always wish “to be conformed”, to be praised, we do not want appearances, but the truth, and this gives us freedom and true Christian freedom; in freeing ourselves from this need to please, to speak as the masses think we ought to, in order to have the freedom of truth and thus to recreate the world in such a way that it is not oppressed by opinion, by appearances which no longer allow the reality to emerge; the virtual world becomes more real, stronger, and the real world of God’s Creation is no longer seen. The non-conformism of the Christian redeems us, restores the truth to us. Let us pray the Lord that he help us to be free people in this non-conformism which is not against the world but is true love of the world.


Today the Church has clearly chosen another path with respect to these words. What matters is not the Truth but public opinion, the thinking of the media, of the newspapers. This attitude is harmful to the Church but also to the real victims of the abuses that are committed. In fact, by acting in this way we lose credibility and risk not prosecuting what are truly abuses of conscience, spiritual, psychological and even sexual. We have proof of this in the behaviour of the Pontiff himself who persecutes everyone - especially his enemies - but protects his friends: Rupnik, Zanchetta, McCarrick, Inzoli, etc..

Diocese of Rome: authentic interpretations

Even in the diocese of Rome there is no shortage of authentic interpretations that should clarify what is an incomprehensible text: In Ecclesiarum Communion. The first to present questions was Monsignor Giuseppe Tonello, who immediately had a one-way ticket requested by the Pope himself to make room for Miss Maria Teresa Romano, who has a quarter of Tonello's qualifications and skills. Subsequently, the auxiliary bishop Benoni Ambarus put forward questions to which the Pope responded with the assistance of Renato Tarantelli, who managed to write in the Authentic Interpretation the opposite of what the Apostolic Constitution states. A genius!

Cathcon: Yet another example of Papal vindictiveness towards staff

Given and considering that in these hours also in the Vicariate ad personam decrees, ad occasionm interpretations are appearing and are dated after real bingo games, we believe it is our duty to publish the only authentic interpretations signed by the Pontiff (and we hope they are also the only ones forever ) so that parish priests and those who work in the Vicariate can also know how to interpret this text. Of course, there remains a dilemma to which we cannot find an answer: why did Ecclesia in Urbe or Pastor Bonus not need all these interpretations?..