UPDATE 18 March:
Here is an interesting tweet from expert canonist Ed Peters.
1983 CIC 1391. The following can be punished with a just penalty according to the gravity of the delict: … n. 1. A person who … changes … or uses … an altered ecclesiastical document; n. 2. A person who uses a false or altered document in an ecclesiastical matter.
— Edward Peters (@canonlaw) March 17, 2018
There is an Italian saying that the Devil makes great saucepans, but doesn’t provide lids for them. Eventually, people will see what’s cooking: the truth will come out.
Just when you may have thought we had gotten to the bottom of The Letter™, or Lettergate, as Ed Pentin called it, more floats by, like a body face down in a slow moving river.
I have several updates about Lettergate – HERE – but this deserves a separate post. It seems to me that this whole mess needs to be understood and remembered. Hence, posts.
First it was revealed that the head of the Vatican’s office for communications (not the Holy See Press Office – a separate but now subordinated entity) doctored a photo of alleged letter of Benedict XVI about a series of booklets about the theology of Pope Francis in order to avoid the embarrassing revelation that Benedict neither read them nor intended to read them.
I said “alleged” letter. Now we learn that there was even more in Benedict’s original letter that was redacted out of the version that was read to the press during the presentation of the booklet series. And again Sandro Magister has the story. HERE
Between the paragraph omitted in the press release and the valediction there were, in fact, other lines.
And this much could be guessed just by observing the photo of the letter (see above).
In fact, between the first two lines that were made illegible in the photo, at the bottom of the first page of the letter, and the valediction and signature of Benedict XVI on the second half of the second page, there is a space too big to be occupied only by the last part of the paragraph omitted in the press release.
And what else was written there, that Viganò was careful not to read in public and took such pains to cover up in the photo with the eleven booklets on the theology of Pope Francis?
[NB] There was the explanation of the reason why Benedict XVI had not read those eleven booklets nor intended to read them in the future, and therefore why he had declined to write “a brief and dense theological page” of presentation and appreciation for the same, as Viganò had requested of him.
The reason adopted by Benedict XVI in the final lines of his letter – we are told by an incontrovertible source – is the presence among the authors of those eleven booklets of the German theologian Peter Hünermann, who was an implacable critic both of John Paul II and of Joseph Ratzinger himself as theologian and as pope.
About Hünermann, a professor at the university of Tubingen, it may be recalled that he is the author of, among other things, a commentary on Vatican Council II that is the polar opposite of the Ratzingerian interpretation.
It is therefore clear that, given what Benedict XVI writes in the second half of his letter, the first half also takes on a new significance, entirely different from the one that Viganò wanted to attribute to it in his mangled and biased press release.
Here’s the English rendering of what Benedict wrote in the last part of The Letter™:
[…] all the more so in that I am under other obligations to which I have already agreed. [That’s where it seemed to end, before this new part came out.]
Just as a side note, I would like to mention my surprise at the fact that the authors also include Professor Hünermann, who during my pontificate put himself in the spotlight by heading anti-papal initiatives. He participated to a significant extent in the promulgation of the “Kölner Erklärung,” which, in relation to the encyclical “Veritatis Splendor,” attacked in a virulent manner the magisterial authority of the pope especially on questions of moral theology. The Europäische Theologengesellschaft, which he founded, also was initially designed by him as an organization in opposition to the papal magisterium. Afterward, the ecclesial sentiment of many theologians blocked this tendency, making that organization a normal instrument of encounter among theologians.
I am certain that you will have understanding for my declination, and I cordially greet you.
This certainly sheds more light on why Benedict declined the honor of writing a preface to the series.
“Thanks for insulting me by asking me to praise this series, when it is in part penned by someone who stood diametrically opposed to the Magisterium… at lease my Magisterium and that of John Paul before me. I can’t square this circle now and I have better things to do in the future. Thanks but no thanks. Have a nice day.”
This monumental goat rodeo just gets worse and worse.
Doesn’t this remind you of the seemingly inevitable truth that while a crime is bad, it’s the cover up that really brings you down.