who write here in no way contest a dialogue with each and
every person, whatever his religion may be.
live in the world, and every day we speak, discuss, love,
even those who are not Christian, because they are atheists,
indifferent, or of other religions. But that does not keep
us from believing that God came down to earth, and let
Himself be killed to teach us, precisely, the Way, the
Truth, and not just one of many possible ways and truths.
Christ is, for us Christians, the Savior; the only Savior of
recall with consternation, going back 25 years, the chickens
beheaded on the altar of St. Clare according to tribal
rituals and a
statue of Buddha placed on the altar in the church of St.
Peter, above the relics of the martyr
Vittorino, killed in 400 AD to bear witness to his faith.
remember the Catholic priests at the initiation rites of
other religions: a horrible scene, for, if it is
“ridiculous” to baptize into the Catholic faith an adult who
does not believe, just as absurd is it for a priest to
undergo a ritual of which he recognizes neither the validity
nor the utility. By doing this, one ends up just spreading
one idea: that rites, all rites, are nothing but empty human
all the conceptions of the divine are of equal value. That
all moralities, that emanate from all religions, are
interchangeable. That is the “spirit of Assisi”,
upon which the media and the most relativist milieus of the
Church have elaborated, sowing confusion. It seemed to us
foreign to the Gospel and to the Church of Christ that had
never, in two thousand years, chosen to do such a thing. We
would have liked to rewrite these ironic observations of a
therefore find comfort for our perplexities in the many
declarations of the Popes who have always condemned such a
“dialogue”. Indeed, a congress of all religions has already
been organized in Chicago in 1893 and in Paris in 1900. But
Pope Leo XIII
intervened to forbid all Catholics to participate.
same attitude was that of
the Pope who condemned Nazi atheism and Communist atheism,
but deplored at the same time the attempt to unite people in
the name of a vague and indistinct sentiment, without
religion, without Christ.
XI wrote thus in
Mortalium Animos (Epiphany
1928) concerning ecumenical encounters:
some men, convinced that it is very rare to meet men
deprived of all religious sense, nourish the hope that it
might be possible to lead peoples without difficulty, in
spite of their religious differences, to a fraternal
agreement on the profession of certain doctrines considered
as a common foundation of spiritual life. That is why they
begin to hold congresses, reunions, conferences, frequented
by an appreciably large audience, and, to their discussions,
they invite all men indistinctly, infidels of all kinds
along with the faithful of Christ and even those who,
unfortunately, have separated themselves from Christ or who,
with bitterness and obstinacy, deny the divinity of His
nature and of His mission.
undertakings cannot, in any way, be approved by Catholics,
since they are based on the erroneous opinion that all
religions are more or less good and praiseworthy,
in the sense that all equally, although in different ways,
manifest and signify the natural and innate sentiment that
carries us towards God and pushes us to recognize with
respect His power. In truth, the partisans of this theory
fall into a complete error, but what is more, in perverting
the notion of the true religion, they repudiate it, and they
fall step by step into naturalism and atheism.
retrospect, we can say that Pope Pius XI was right, even on
the level of the simple opportunity: in reality,
what has been the effect
of “Assisi 1986”, in spite of the just
declarations of Pope John Paul II, aimed at forestalling
such an interpretation?
is the message relaunched by the organizers, the media, and
even the many modernist clerics desirous of overturning the
tradition of the Church? What came across to many
Christians, through the images, which are always the most
evocative, and through the newspapers and television, is
religious relativism, which is the equivalent of atheism.
pray “together”, many have concluded, then all religions are
“equal”, but if this is the case, that means that none of
them is true. At this time, you, cardinal and prefect of the
Congregation of the Faith, with Cardinal
and several others, were among those who expressed serious
doubts. For this reason, in the following years, you have
never participated in the replicas proposed each year by the
past years you have taught, without always being understood,
even by Catholics, that dialogue has its place, and can take
place, not between different theologies, but between
different cultures, and not between different religions, but
between men, in the light of that which distinguishes us
all: human reason.
Without recreating the ancient pagan Pantheon; without the
integrity of the faith being compromised by a love for
theological compromise; without Revelation, that is not our
own, being modified by men and theologians in the aim of
reconciling the irreconcilable; without placing Christ,
“sign of contradiction”, on the same level as Buddha or
Confucius, who, besides, never said that they were God.
is why we are here to expose to you our fears. We fear that,
whatever you may say, television, the newspapers, and many
Catholics will interpret it in the light of this past and of
the present indifferentism; we fear that, whatever you may
claim, the event will be read as a continuation of the
manipulation of the figure of St. Francis, transformed by
today’s ecumenists into an pacifist, a syncretist without
faith. It is already the case…
afraid that whatever you may say to clarify things more, the
simple faithful, of whose number we are, everywhere in the
world will see but one fact (and that is all that will be
shown, for example, on television): the Vicar of Christ not
only speaking, debating, dialoguing with the representatives
of other religions, but also praying with them. As if the
manner and the end of prayer were indifferent.
many will think mistakenly that the Church has henceforth
capitulated, and recognized, in the line of the
Age way of thinking, that to pray to Christ,
Allah, Buddha, or Manitou is the same thing. That Animist
and Islamic polygamy, Hindu castes or the polytheistic
Animist spiritualism, can go hand-in-hand with Christian
monogamy, the law of love and pardon of the One and Triune
Holy Father, we believe that
with a new “Assisi 1986”,
no Christian in the Orient will be saved: nor in Communist
China, nor in North Korea or Pakistan or Iraq…
on the contrary, many faithful will not understand why in
these countries, people still die martyrs for not renouncing
their encounter not with just any religion, but with Christ.
Just as the Apostles died.
face of persecution, there exist political, diplomatic
means, personal dialogues between States: may they all take
place, and as well as possible. With Your love and Your
desire for peace for all men.
without giving those who wish to sow confusion and to
augment religious relativism—antechamber of all
relativisms—, an opportunity, for the media included, as
appetizing as a second edition of “Assisi 1986”.
our filial devotion,
Francis Agnoli, Lorenzo Bertocchi, Roberto de Mattei,
Corrado Gnerre, Alessandro Gnocchi, Camillo Langone, Mario