L’Espresso, September 10, 2019
For a few days a video has been circulating on the web in which an Italian priest of the highest rank, among those closest to Jorge Mario Bergoglio, says that in the Amazon the celebration of the Mass by married deacons is already a de facto reality, authorized by the local bishops. And Pope Francis, informed of the matter, is alleged to have said:”Go ahead!”
The author of this revelation is not just anybody. He is Giovanni Nicolini, 79, an esteemed priest of the archdiocese of Bologna, which has as its archbishop that Matteo Zuppi whom a few days ago Francis promoted as cardinal.
Fr. Nicolini is currently a national ecclesiastical assistant of the Catholic Associations of Italian Workers, ACLI, and was previously director of Caritas of Bologna, in addition to being a parish priest in the neighborhood next to the prison. A priest of the poor, of the imprisoned, of the immigrants: this is his best-known profile.
But even before this he was a spiritual son of Giuseppe Dossetti (1913-1996), a leading politician in postwar Italy and then, as monk and priest, a protagonist of Vatican Council II along with Cardinal Giacomo Lercaro.
In the footsteps of Dossetti, Fr. Nicolini founded in the 1970’s the Family of the Visitation, a community now made up of around thirty monks and nuns and as many married couples, divided between the countryside of Bologna and the archdiocesan missions in Tanzania and Jerusalem.
Moreover, Fr. Nicolini is connected to that influential progressive Catholic think tank known as the “school of Bologna,” which had its founder in the same Dossetti and has in Church historian Alberto Melloni and in Bose monastery founder Enzo Bianchi its current mainstays and gurus, both of them ultra-Bergoglians.
So here is a link to Fr. Nicolini’s shocking video:
The video is part of a broader “lesson” by Fr. Nicolini, it too recorded, at the summer school of the political-cultural Catholic association La Rosa Bianca, held in Terzolas, Trentino from August 21 to 25.
And the following is an exact transcription of his words concerning the celibacy of the clergy and the “Masses” that already are said to be celebrated by married deacons in the Amazon, with the authorization of the local bishops and the support of Pope Francis.
“AND THE POPE SAID: “GO AHEAD!”
I feel it is fitting to recall, together with you, that the Church of priests is coming to an end. Is this a prophecy? No, it is the reality. This has to be taken into account, because it changes completely. We are now reaching the height of folly, every priest is taking care of six parishes, but this is how it ends. This crisis of the priesthood in any case will increase relentlessly, until serious consideration is finally given to the suitability of abolishing the celibacy of priests.
As long as this celibacy of priests remains, the decline is unstoppable, in part because very often there is no reflection on the fact that I, for example, am a priest, but before being a priest I am a monk. Francesco, who is here, is a monk, and since [we] are a very small monastic community of prayer we have given to the Church of Bologna the gift of five priests, but we have been able to do so because we belong to a different breed. But as long as there continues a situation according to which – you get it, right? – the fact of remaining celibate is purely an arrangement of the disciplinary order, juridical, not a vow, not a gift of God, not supported by the life of the community… That’s all it is, he doesn’t get married, the rule is that he cannot marry. But it is clear that when I find out that a thirty-year-old priest who comes to me for confession, now they are putting him in a big rural area by himself, in six months he has a mistress. And so now this decline will be very rapid. They other day someone told me that if one does the math, in 2030 Bologna will have 30 priests. Right now there are 450, and that’s already a big decline. And so this structure of the Church will no longer be there.
The synod of bishops for the Amazon is taking place. We found out that in the Amazon one evening, from an isolated mission parish in the Amazon they made a pone call, it was an old deacon, in his sixties, married, who said to his bishop: “I have to tell you that tomorrow there won’t be any Mass, because there is no priest.” And the bishop told him: “You go there and say Mass.” A married deacon, children already raised, the “elders” are called, and the bishops there have given him authorization to preside over the liturgy. They told the pope about this and the pope said: “For now we cannot write anything, you go ahead!” I wondered, when I found out that he was convening the worldwide meeting of bishops for the Amazon, who knows if perhaps he can or wants to say something. But the Church, in its concrete juridical structure, as it exists now, is at an end.
That does it for the words of Fr. Giovanni Nicolini, which lead to questions that demand answers, even before the synod for the Amazon begins.
Is it true or false, what he says about the “Masses” already being celebrated in the Amazon by married deacons?
And is it true or false that Francis gave the go-ahead?