An Interview with Marco Tosatti, one of the leading Vaticanista of Italy, who has covered the Vatican for nearly 40 years. He explains his career, how it has changed, what the Crisis of Bergoglio is doing to Catholics and Clergy and what they in turn are revealing to him.
Many thanks to Marco Tosatti for consenting to be interviewed
by Br. Alexis Bugnolo, of FromRome.Info
First, let me thank you, Mr. Tosatti, for granting me the opportunity to interview you. I consider it a great favor. — First of all, since there is so little biographical information about you, available in English, I would ask you to relate for my readers something about yourself, your professional career as a Vaticanista, and what you saw as your more memorable moments of the life of the Church in the last nearly 40 years.
I was born into a family of journalists. My father was a journalist, and I was a year and a half old when he passed away, in a tragedy which is well known in Italy (Editor’s Note: The Superga Plane crash of May 4, 1949). He was on the plane with the Grande Torino Soccer Team, on a return trip from an exposition match with the team from Lisbon. My older brother, Giorgio, was one of the most noted sports journalists of Italy. I myself never thought of doing anything else but being a journalist: I was taught from my youth that it was a needed and noble profession.
Before I covered religious news, I worked more than 10 years in other sectors: daily news — I was the first journalist on the scene of where the cadaver of Aldo Moro was dumped, having arrived together with the Police), labor news, political news, and news regarding public education. I only became a vaticanista by chance, when my predecessor retired: I was far from the Church at that time, and for the many years of my life I have been a vaticanista.
I myself can remember as a child, a communion rail, receiving the Sacrament on the tongue, and priests who always dressed as priests. A great deal, however, has changed in the Church since then. For yourself, on the other hand, I read that it was your work as a Vaticanista which was the occasion of your conversion to the Faith. Can you share with my readers how that came about, if this is not too personal of a question?
I believe that it was a gradual process for me; and I also believe that John Paul II had a great role in this. I was struck by how a person who was so extraordinarily intelligent prayed, with the abandonment of a child. It presented me with a problem, which in Zen Buddhism could be called a Koan: to be incredibly intelligent and have total faith in something which the mind cannot reach. So I began to pray myself.
Back when you began your career as a Vaticanista, there was no internet, and anything the world knew about the Vatican or the Pope was something you heard of only in Church publications for the most part, there was so little interest in particularly Catholic news. How did the job of reporting about the Vatican for a secular newspaper change during the many years of your career? Was there always the same interest in the same kind of news, or did the interest of your editors and your readers change also with the passing of time?
I began in December, 1981, and it was just then that occurred the downfall of Jaruzelski in Poland. There was a lot of interest in the story, but it was always or nearly always only of a political nature. The Vatican was very different back then. I joke: Vaticanisti were compared with journalists from Moscow, because the closure to the world of Mass Media was similar in both capitals … then, everything changed, as wee have seen: the prelates began to speak, give interviews and thus it went. With John Paul II it was certainly easy to get a story; also because Joaquin Navarro Walls was outstanding in finding news stories to feature. Nevertheless, I would say, as is today, it was mostly superficial news. But I believe that such is inevitable, in the genre of Mass Media.
Much of what is happening in the Church right now is profoundly shocking Catholics on a daily basis. We are finding it difficult to understand what is going on, and so there is, on the one hand, a very avid interest for news, and on another, after nearly 7 years of scandals, a strong desire that the bad news itself just go away. What have you noticed about how the faithful are reacting to the news of the Bergoglian regime and how their interest in it has changed in these last 7 years?
From the time when Social Media took on the role which it has today, it is much simpler for journalists to understand what the public wants. At my blog, Stilum Curiae, I do a lot of interaction with my readers. I am present on Twitter, have two profiles and a page on Facebook, have a channel on Telegram and on VK. What I perceive in regard to the latter, is the problem many Catholics have, to confront ambiguous, contradictory messages which clearly break with the doctrine and praxis of the Church as they have known and lived it up until a few years ago. Persons who were timid five or six years ago, in their protest against what is going on in the Church have become more and more explicit and are protesting openly. I am sure that for their part, they are much more interested in the real content of the message than in the images of propaganda they find on social media.
For anyone who has studied how the Communists have taken down governments and overthrown entire societies from within, the events of the last 7 years in the Church are deeply troubling. The growing consensus is that Marxism has replaced Catholicism, and that the great world powers along with George Soros are behind this coup d’etat. Do you sense from your contacts among the clergy here in Italy a similar growing awareness of the root of the problem?
Not a few persons, priests and no, they are more and more convinced that the Church of the ages is undergoing an unrelenting attack on the part of anti-Christian ideological, political and financial forces; a battle which has not let down in recent centuries, and which probably is now aiming directly at the internals of the Church. Certainly, this kind of problem did not seem to exist, when I began to serve as a vaticanista; and it grew to extreme proportions from the moment in which Benedict XVI renounced.
The resignation of Pope Benedict was for believing Catholics a true occasion of psychological shock. Even one European Bishop said, upon hearing the news, that he thought it was a Mardis Gras day joke. On that account, it is not surprising that Catholics have made the events of February 2013 the subject of intense discussions and investigations. — Since you are a professional Vaticanista, I ask if you can relate both personally and professionally how you reacted to the events of Feb. 11, 2013 and what followed up to Feb. 28 of that month.
I was taken by surprise. Even now I do not have a clear and unequivocal answer for that deed. And, according to me, it should never have been done. And the actual situation in the Church, the confusion, the divisions and all of that in which we are living, had its origin precisely in that deed. But I do not, yet, know how to explain to myself and to others what Benedict XVI did. I hope that when — many years from now — Benedict XVI leaves us, some elements of clarity are able to emerge. At the moment, I am not excluding any hypothesis.
From what you know and whom you know among the clergy and workers at the Vatican, what can you reveal about the discontent there? An eminent Vaticanista, whom I quoted anonymously last week, said opposition to Bergoglio is already at 100%. But I wonder what kind of opposition it is or could be, if no one is willing to go on record with public questions as to the legitimacy or orthodoxy of what is going on.
There is no doubt, that inside the Vatican, there reigns great fear and uncertainty. And it is from that, there comes to my ears how insufferable this regime is, its stunts, its ambiguities and the confusion it is creating is very great. It was not by chance that during the Amazon Synod even Cardinals and prelates close to Bergoglio took a position in the small circles against the suggestion of ordaining viri probati (Editor’s note: married laymen). But, as Manzoni used to say, if one does not have courage, he cannot inspire it . . . Luckily there are some Cardinals and Bishops who do not fear to speak.
As you may know, FromRome.Info is the only news site for the PPBXVI Movement: what I call those Catholics who accepting the terms and obligations of Canon Law, hold that Pope Benedict XVI is still the pope because his resignation was not in conformity with the requirements of Canon 332 §2 and that the response of the Cardinals to it violated both Canons 40 and 41. I heard from a lot of my sources that there are great numbers of Canonists and Clergy who also have grave doubts as to the validity of the renunciation or believe there should be an investigation. What are you hearing from your sources about these matters and this controversy?
I admit that I do not know much about this; I never studied Law nor Canon Law. What I can say is this. Even Cardinals contrary to Bergoglio, and who probably did not vote for him in the Conclave, admit that, alas, his election is legitimate. Second: the problem with Benedict XVI, whether he renounced legitimately or not, is that he has renounced being pope, and does not want to do the job. If we have a possible “claimant” who is not claiming, rather, who does not want to make a claim on the position, what can we do about it?
The crisis of having a man whom you think is the pope be a man whom you recognize is a raving heretic and Marxist, is a crisis which is shaking to the core those Catholics who are not members of the PPBXVI movement, as I have defined it. Many have left the Catholic Church, many more have left the practice of their faith. Many are holding on to the hope that Bergoglio is going to have a change of heart or that the Cardinals will do something about him. But the years pass and nothing is done. If anything the Cardinals declare themselves for the regime after the manner of TV testimonies of the Soviet or Maoist era. According to what you are hearing, how are Italian Catholic responding psychologically and intellectually to this seeming contradiction between what a pope should be and what the man they hold to be the pope is not.
The uneasiness is there, no doubt. Some people close their eyes and say: right or wrong, my pope. Others look and see; and think that the Church has certainly seen popes of all kinds in its long history, and whether it be true what we have been told: non praevalebunt. We must suffer it and pray
Finally, I express my surprise that you have consented to this interview. I surmised that just a few years ago you would not even want to talk with someone who considered Benedict the true Pope and Bergoglio an Anti-pope. Was your decision based on recent events, such as the slapping or the book controversy, or have you personally decided that the gravity of the present situation in the Church requires you as a Vaticanista to start considering all possibilities?
No, why not? I’m always willing to talk to anyone who wants to. We may have, we probably do, different ideas on some points about the situation, but that doesn’t prevent anything. What has changed is my position. If a few years ago you could have placed me among the “center moderates”, now I find myself among the opponents of this Church government. But the problem is that I remained what I was: it’s not me who moved…
Thank you, Mr. Tosatti, for granting me this interview, and for the permissions to republish in English some of your posts at MarcoTostatti.com. I am sure the readers of FromRome.Info are also grateful. Praised be Jesus Christ!
This interview was conducted by email in both English and Italian. FromRome.Info publishes here its English translation of Tosatti’s responses.
Marco Tosatti publishes his writings and reflections at MarcoTosatti.com
The republication of this Interview is forbidden
without express permission of the publisher,
who however grants permission for citation of an individual response with a link to the original whole, here at FromRome.Info, for those sites
which want to publicize it
POSTSCRIPT: A pope is pope, not because he claims to be pope or because others claim he is pope, but because he accepted his valid election as the pope and has not yet renounced the petrine munus according to the norm of Canon 332 §2. This concept of being is something unique to those holding offices in Christ’s Church on account of their supernatural origin in the Divine Will, Which has promised to bind Itself to the decrees of the Successors of Saint Peter in Canon Law, and without the consent of Which no office in the Church is validly conferred. It is on this basis, the basis of Canon Law, that the Catholic Faithful alone have the duty to obey those who hold office in the Church, for otherwise, obedience would be divorced from Faith, and the hierarchical structure of the visible Church would be in schism with the theological virtue and its obligations, and the institutions of the Church would not be approved of by the Divine Will, which all Christians must obey and prefer to the will of mortal men.
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