Reporting via Sandro Magister of La Chiesa --Comments by three very important figures on the implementation of ecumenism and interreleligious dialogue:
ROMA, February 7, 2005 – Almost during the very same days when the frailty of John Paul II filled the Church with apprehension, two books and a conference focused attention on three important Christian authors who have expressed, and still do, a radical critique of the weaknesses of today’s Church, even though they love it and obey it wholeheartedly.
These three are Romano Amerio, a philosopher, Divo Barsotti, a mystic, and Inos Biffi, a theologian. The first is Swiss, the other two Italian.
"…Amerio – who was a consultant for the bishop of Lugano at Vatican Council II – also wrote two important books on the Church of today. The first, “Iota Unum: A Study of Changes in the Catholic Church in the XXth Century,” edited by Riccardo Ricciardi in 1985, 658 pages, can be considered the masterpiece of the so-called “traditionalist” critique of the contemporary Church:
And yet Dossetti’s and Barsotti’s visions were frequently different. Dossetti was the linchpin of “conciliar” Catholicism in Italy, a proponent of a radical reform of the Church from a monarchical to a democratic model, of a rejection of “Constantinian” Christianity, of an abandonment of the great theology of the Middle Ages in the name of a return to the Fathers of the first centuries, especially the Eastern ones.
This is how Fr. Barsotti’s vision of Vatican Council II is represented in the book published by his community:
" Furthermore, the bishops said immediately that they did not intend to condemn anyone: but this meant renouncing their service as guardians of the faith, as the keepers of divine Revelation. The bishops should not take the place of the theologians; they have another function: the episcopate should tell us what we must believe and what we must reject. …] Because the bishops did not put in first place their function of approving or condemning, the documents of Vatican II have a language that is more theological than doctrinal. For example, in certain pages of ‘Gaudium et Spes,’ there is a reasoning almost like that of a sociologist, or a journalist. Moreover, the documents are a mixture of three or four different theologies…the Church needed to face the culture of the world, and the Holy Spirit prevented error from being introduced into the documents; but even if everything in Vatican II is correct, that doesn’t mean that everything was opportune."
Barsotti is also critical about interreligious dialogue:
“I have written to the pope, twice, that I did not have a favorable impression of the interreligious meeting in Assisi in October of 1986. I told him: ‘Your Holiness, I don’t have a television at home, not even a radio, but the day after the conference in Assisi I saw on the front page of ‘Avvenire’ a photograph showing Catholics venerating the Dalai Lama, as they do Your Holiness.’ There is a danger of losing distinctions: the Dalai Lama is like the pope for many believers, so the people can no longer tell the difference or recognize what is specific to Christianity.”
"…He is, in fact, primarily a man of great spirituality, a mystic, with supernatural flashes that sometimes illuminate his daily life. He has a particular sensitivity for Eastern mysticism: Serge of Radonez, a Russian, is the saint after whom he named his house in Settignano, on the outskirts of Florence.
One of his closest friends is former Bologna archbishop Cardinal Giacomo Biffi. who said: “Ecumenism has frequently degenerated into a desire for harmony which has obscured the Catholic character of the creed. Even through imprudent or questionable actions, a widespread and practical conviction of the equivalence, or near equivalence, of the Christian confessions and the other religions is being created. One thing that contributes to this is the frequently repeated, equivocal appeal to the ‘one God’, who supposedly unifies the great monotheistic religions. Nothing could be more erroneous: the one true God is the God of Jesus Christ: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the Christian Trinity, which, for example, is blasphemy for Muslims, an extremely serious offense against God.”
“One thinks of the contents of certain episcopal programs, which are frequently reduced to plans of ‘welcoming,’ in which Jesus Christ – who is the First – is an occasion to speak above all of the ‘last’. One thinks also of episcopates understood as a measure of the success of ‘movements’, or considered as rewards and honorific offices. … One thinks] of the clamorous misinterpretations the world makes in trying to understand the Church, and also of the sometimes unacceptable, sometimes questionable historical blame accorded to the Church, which have elicited a vain and deleterious emphasis on forgiveness, and have created an image of the Church as sinful.”