A democratic reform of the Vatican? No, an autocratic one

by Aldo Maria Valli

Dear friends of Duc in altum, as you are surely aware, on April 30 Francis issued a new motu proprio. The provision, introducing modifications regarding the competence of the judicial organs of the Vatican City State, abrogates the norm of the Vatican judicial system whereby only the Supreme Court [The Court of Cassation, presided over by the Cardinal Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura], with the consent of the pope himself, can try bishops and cardinals in criminal cases. From now on, in the name of “equality between all the members of the Church and their equal dignity and position, without privileges,” cardinals and bishops who are accused of criminal offenses by Vatican magistrates, if sent for trial, will be tried by the Tribunal of Vatican City State just like anyone else, and not by a Court of Cassation presided over by a cardinal.

Here is the comment that was sent to me concerning this provision by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò.


According to the umpteenth provision promulgated by the one who collegially and synodally lords it over everyone by means of Motu Proprios, the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church will now be able to be subjected to trial and judged by laymen.

It is useless to look for a rationale in the impromptu decisions of Bergoglio, who has already infiltrated the Roman Dicasteries and the Synod of Bishops with no small number of laymen, or in any case non-clerical religious, in the name of synodality, democratization, and gender equality. It is equally useless to appeal to the Code of Canon Law, from which the Roman Pontiff may derogate at will. It is useless to deplore the hierarchical subversion in which a member of the Ecclesia discens is given the power to judge a member of the Ecclesia docens. Anyone who believes that the Bergoglian norms and reforms are motivated by right purposes and intend the good of the ecclesial body has gone off the rails.

If anyone simply has the intellectual honesty to recognize that the purpose of these innovations is the demolition of the Catholic Church and the tyrannical centralization of power, one understands their perfect coherence and efficacy. Subjecting prelates to a tribunal composed of laity, appointed by the first tenant of Santa Marta, means removing jurisdiction from the pastors in order to concentrate it in a single subject, leaving only the appearance of democracy, collegiality, and lay involvement in the government of the Church.

It is a cunning paradox: Bergoglio imposes reforms that appear to be democratic but which are actually repugnant to the monarchical constitution of the Church of Christ. Their only true purpose is to divide and take to himself all of the power which he claims he wants to fight against. It is a move of centralization which will enable him to punish and absolve whomever he likes at will, ensuring the subjection of all his courtiers and the promotion of a curia of those who flatter, are corrupt, and vulnerable to blackmail.

Omne regnum divisum contra se desolabitur: et omnis civitas vel domus divisa contra se, non stabit (Mt 12:25).

+ Carlo Maria Viganò

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Dear friends of Duc in altum, my new book is available: La trave e la pagliuzza. Essere cattolici “hic et nunc” (Chorabooks). It takes a look at the present situation of the Catholic Church and the faith. Without avoiding the most controversial aspects, it also takes into account the horizons of our times, marked by the Covid event. It is a diary of a journey in the midst of a reality that is characterized by profound divisions, but with the desire to build up, not destroy, aware that the process of conversion involves everyone, beginning with ourselves. The book examines a wide array of questions (from the Second Vatican Council to the pontificate of Francis, from the spiritual life during the lockdown regime to Vatican affairs, from the Great Reset to bioethical questions), but with a unifying thread: love for the Church and Tradition, united to a clear denunciation of both modernist drifts as well as new forms of despotism that limit or deny fundamental liberties.

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