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Will No One Silence This Man?

by Christopher A. Ferrara

It is time for Catholics to be concerned, very concerned, about the theological musings of Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher of the Pontifical Household. This column, along with John Vennari of Catholic Family News, has noted Cantalamessa’s string of heterodox pronouncements over the years, including his opinion that God positively wills the existence of pagan religions whose adherents worship idols and live according to some of the most degrading superstitions and immoral practices imaginable.

On June 10, 2005, Zenit reported the latest modernist outburst from Cantalamessa. In his commentary on the upcoming Sunday readings, Cantalamessa said: "In this Sunday's Gospel Jesus ‘calls’ to himself the Twelve and makes them ‘Apostles.’ Therefore he ‘sends’ them to do what he did: to preach the kingdom, to take care of the sick, to free people from fear and demonic powers … That day Jesus decided to inaugurate the future structure of his (sic) Church. She would have a hierarchy, a government, namely, the men ‘called’ by him and ‘sent’ to continue his work. It is because of this that the Church is defined as ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic …’"

Why does Cantalamessa put these words  —  calls, Apostles, sends, sent and called  —  between quotation marks? Is he uncomfortable with the simple truth that God Himself called certain men and sent them into the world to preach in His name? Moreover, why does Cantalamessa say that "that day Jesus decided to inaugurate the future structure of his (sic) Church"? First of all, Jesus did not "decide" anything on a particular day recounted in the Gospel. He, being God, knew from all eternity what the structure of His Church would be. Nor was it a "future" structure that God announced to His Apostles. It was the first and only structure the Church would ever have  —  the only structure She could have had from all eternity.

But Cantalamessa really went into modernist high gear when he declared: "Undoubtedly the Church can and must be more democratic, that is, the laity should have a greater voice in the election of pastors and the way they exercise their function. But the Church cannot be reduced altogether to a democratically governed society, with decisions made from below …"

What? Just like that Cantalamessa endorses the idea that the laity must  —  must, the papal household preacher says  —  have a "greater voice" in the election of pastors and their exercise of authority! The Church, he says, cannot be reduced altogether to a "democratically governed society." Altogether? How about not at all?

This, dear reader, is a modernist at work. Notice how he affirms the necessity of a hierarchy at the same time he undermines its very existence by calling for popular control over its selection and authority. And this is the very preacher of the Pontifical Household.

I believe the Church has seen and heard enough of Father Cantalamessa. We have the right, and even the duty, to demand of the Pope himself that this patent modernist be replaced by someone who adheres entirely to the Catholic Faith. I urge readers of this column to write to the Pope and petition for Cantalamessa’s removal. The Pope’s email address is: benedictxvi@vatican.va.