Readers of the articles and books of the prestigious Vaticanist, Mr. Andrea Tornielli, may be amused by the whimsical image of a chameleon that they call to mind. His publications demonstrate a keen ability to adapt to his surroundings in order to carry out his work: he knew how to smile at John Paul II, to favor the pontificate of Benedict XV, and, then again, to discreetly disparage it, by the time he had linked arms with Francis…
Recently, Mr. Tornielli published a controversial article in the Vatican Insider blog of La Stampa newspaper: “The secret doctrine of the Heralds: “Correa encourages the death of the Pope.” Bearing in mind the writer’s chameleon hallmark, this publication sparks a couple of questions: What are his objectives? To what setting does he seek to adapt himself?
It is interesting to observe that, in the said article, the author revives old and hackneyed denouncements against Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira related to the veneration that many had for him in life, as well as to the private devotion towards his mother, D. Lucilia. Now, Msgr. João Scognamiglio Clá Dias, founder of the Heralds of the Gospel, is the target of the same attacks. These are outdated accusations; all of them having been answered and duly refuted according to the dictates of strictest Catholic doctrine.
Timeo hominem unius libri. This might well be what readers of the Catholic press are inclined to conclude at the present, regarding Mr. Tornielli’s knowledgeableness of the theme of his article: the scholar of a single book is to be feared. This in no way helps the reputation of a journalist of this level… Let us see why.
First of all, we might suggest that Mr. Tornielli have a look at the institution’s past, which he so vehemently attacks, and give some consideration to a work published in 1985 – Servitudo ex Caritate – which bears the opinion of the eminent theologian Fr. Victorino Rodríguez y Rodríguez, OP. In this study, which has never been contested, the subject of Sacred Slavery to Jesus through the hands of Mary, as well as that of the spiritual ties between Professor Plinio and his disciples, which he mentions in his article, were fully clarified for the past, for the present and for the future.
And why not also read the book “Dona Lucilia”, dated 1995, with a laudatory preface by Fr. Antonio Royo Marín, OP, reprinted in partnership with the Libreria Editrice Vaticana in 2013, also available in Italian? A perusal of this publication would have enabled him to grasp that the foundations of the devotion toward this most distinguished Brazilian lady are based on her blameless life of virtue and on the bi-millennial praxis of the Holy Church. Permit us to suggest, Mr. Tornielli, that it may behoove you to go back and review some points in your Catholic primer, for before a person is canonized, Holy Mother Church requests that his or her fame for holiness be recognized.
And what of devotion to Dr. Plinio? If more recent data is of interest to him, we invite Mr. Tornielli to make an in-depth study of a very recent work, published in 2016, in five volumes, also by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, with more than 100 thousand collections printed, entitled “The Gift of Wisdom in the Mind, Life and Work of Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira”. In this work, the historical origins of this subject as well as its theological basis are detailed – points which are dealt with in such a tendentious manner in his article.
It is true, however, that Mr. Tornielli came upon a great and unusual novelty: a private video, divulged out of context, and also out of date, for it is a year and a half old. Despite its belonging to the restricted use of the institution, it was obtained by illegal means, by a man with an impassioned loathing for the TFP and the Heralds – he himself being an ex-member of the TFP -, married to a woman who is an ex-member of Opus Dei, both of whom occupy a considerable amount of their time in attacking the entities to which they belonged. This was the source, the influential Mr. Tornielli turned to for his impartial information…
The video is a record of a reserved meeting of clerics, which did not imply any change in the ways of the Heralds, either in its relationship with the Sacred Hierarchy and civil society, or in the work with the very high number of adherents to the movement. The objective of the registered encounter was, quite simply, to exchange impressions with regard to certain preternatural phenomena, in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Criminal hands, yet undiscovered, resolved to divulge its contents in a malevolent and inappropriate way for a public that does not have, in its great majority, sufficient theological knowledge to make an in-depth judgement concerning its content. It was not difficult, therefore, to create confusion in their minds. On the other hand, these same hands took no interest, of course, in spreading the conclusions of these analyses.
Now, why did Mr. Tornielli not seek clarification with the Heralds? We could very well say: timeo hominem unius factionis, we fear men of half truths, partial individuals, those who are unable and unwilling to hear both sides.
Could Mr. Andrea Tornielli be acting alone? This we do not know…
But we can vouch for, by analyzing the article of the renowned Vaticanist and the above-mentioned circumstances, the blind contribution that he is making toward destroying that ardently desired unity which the Fathers of Vatican Council II sought to carry forward and which three great men fully asserted: St. John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Msgr. João Clá. This is one way to thwart the doctrine of the Ecumenical Council, and the dedicated action of two Popes – one who is yet alive and among us – and of a founder, to whom a prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Religious, Cardinal Franc Rodé, said the Church was indebted!
Cui prodest? Who benefits from this attitude? The Catholic world is certainly perplexed: this time the chameleon takes on such surreal tones that, even after being given due consideration, he still continues to elicit questions with respect to his new and varied hues:
- Whom does Mr. Andrea Tornielli represent?
- Does he seek to provoke a schism in the Church?
- With what intentions?
Finally, with the untruths and distortions having been duly clarified, we extend to him an invitation to return to the path of a cultured, serious and ethical journalism. The Heralds of the Gospel consecrate their own defense to St. Joseph, patron of the Church, with the certainty that they will not be left unaided by the virginal father of Jesus and most chaste spouse of Mary. Without prejudice to their own rights, they are always willing to welcome with benevolence the retraction of calumniators and to sincerely pardon them, for they do not harbor the least resentment.
Heralds of the Gospel