Pubblicato su Church Militant, 4 novembre 2018.
- a cura di Juliana Freitag
On Aldo Maria Valli's new book 'The Viganò case — the dossier which unveiled the Church’s greatest internal scandal'
An Italian author has just published a volume detailing the work of whistleblower Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò — but Church officials have pressured the publishing company to restrict future editions so as to protect Pope Francis' image and reputation.
At the end of October, renowned Vatican expert Aldo Maria Valli announced the release of his latest book, Il caso Viganò — Il dossier che ha svelato il più grande scandalo all’interno della Chiesa ("The Viganò case — the dossier which unveiled the Church’s greatest internal scandal"). The book is a compilation of all of Valli’s articles about the astounding testimonies of former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States and titular archbishop of Ulpiana Abp. Viganò.
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From Viganò's first statement alleging Pope Francis covered up for ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, to Valli's account of his private meetings with the former nuncio, the book is an attempt to document these turbulent events, as described by Viganò, for posterity. The book's introduction is a revised version of the commentary Valli exclusively offered to Church Militant laying bare his reasons to enter this battle for truth. (The only important text missing is Viganò's third testimony, made public on October 19, also through Valli's blog — one day before the book’s official release.)
Valli is one among several Italian journalists personally contacted by Viganò to help publish his letters, along with Marco Tosatti and print newspaper La Verità. Valli remains in contact with the archbishop and has many times presented Viganò's commentary about his personal struggle to help expose a corrupt power system in the Church hierarchy.
Church Militant reached out to Valli to ask him about the significance of putting down in a book his experience with Viganò and his attempts to blow the whistle on clerical corruption. "Archbishop Viganò's memorial, however one decides to judge it, constitutes a historical fact in the life of the Catholic Church," Valli said. "For the first time an archbishop of such high rank, a diplomat at the service of the Holy See, has come out with revelations on the moral corruption in the hierarchy."
"Church historians will have to study these events that we see today as simple news," he continued. "Therefore I think that the collection of articles I've dedicated to this affair might become useful."
"I hope the reader can pick up on my suffering," he added. "As Abp. Viganò himself did, I've also decided to come out in the open after much reflection and prayer. Our faith is in danger, and it's our duty to stand up for doctrine and Catholic thought."
About the Vatican's silence on the affair, Valli said:
I don't think we'll have clear-cut answers during this pontificate. Ambiguity is a distinctive trait of the Church these days. I honestly don't know how this is going to end. I have no elements to predict Viganò's future, either. But it certainly saddens me very much to see that a man like him, a true servant of the Church, is forced to live in hiding. It's truly inadmissible, especially in today's Church, where there's so much preaching about "dialogue."
Another of Valli's observations involved the role of independent Catholic media in reporting facts that destroy the false narratives of a press complicit in covering up sex abuse:
Blogs are acquiring a decisive importance for uncontrolled and unconditioned information. At this point I'd say it's counterinformation in respect to a certain type of narrative imposed on the public opinion by the major press. As for myself, it's a very beautiful experience, because through my blog I've tightened relationships that give me new connections and new friendships every day. I think it's significant that when Abp. Viganò decided to make his explosive testimony known, he turned to me and other bloggers. Evidently he saw us as an efficient, reliable and credible means, capable of reaching many people while not subject to any conditioning. Communications-wise, this is a moment of deep, very positive, changes.
Those changes are not being ignored by the Roman Curia. Valli spoke to Church Militant days before the release of the final Youth Synod document, which contains an alarming paragraph hinting at possible censorship of Catholic websites not approved by the Vatican. Paragraph 146 speaks about the creation of "certification systems for Catholic websites, to counter the spread of fake news regarding the Church."
Last year Church Militant was the target of Jesuit magazine La Civiltà Cattolica (an article reportedly approved by Pope Francis himself), the only Catholic publication whose contents are reviewed by the Vatican's Secretariat of State, Cdl. Pietro Parolin. It's also paramount to note that one of the first accomplishments of the much-riticized Vatican media reform was the "Lettergate" scandal, where the prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, "simple-priest-turned-czar" Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, had to resign for doctoring a letter from Benedict XVI supposedly commending the theology of Pope Francis.
And the quasi-totalitarian measures don't stop there: Recently Church Militant learned that Fede & Cultura, the publishing house for Valli's Il Caso Viganò, was compelled to restrict further editions of the book. It was the first time Valli had worked with Fede & Cultura, whom he called "courageous" for their publishing choices. Fede & Cultura confirmed with Church Militant that they were put under "irresistible pressure from within the Church not to publish anything else that would depict the Pope in a bad light." Perhaps Pope Francis’ next surprise motu proprio will announce the reform of the Index librorum prohibitorum (the "List of Prohibited Books").