Non-denial denials

His Hermeneuticalness has done us a service in translating from Italian a comment by the intrepid Andrea Tornielli.  I turn the mic over to Fr. Finigan, but add my emphases and comments:


Andrea Tornielli "le smentite che non smentiscono"

This morning on his blog "Sacri Palazzi", the journalist and vaticanista Andrea Tornielli has an article on "La “riforma della riforma” e le smentite che non smentiscono" (The "reform of the reform" and non-denial denials). Sound familiar? Tornielli does in fact take the same line that I did on Tuesday, that the "denial" of Fr Benedittini (and indeed the implied denial of Cardinal Bertone in an interview with L’Osservatore Romano yesterday) deny things that were not actually asserted by Tornielli in his original story. [The claim that in the plenary meeting the members of the Congregation for Divine Worship have desired some action concerning issues such as Communion in the hand, the use of Latin, etc.]

Bloggers will find it interesting to read Tornielli’s aside that since the Williamson affair, blogs are now constantly monitored by the Holy See. [Something to which I can attest.]

Here is my translation of the article:

The "reform of the reform" and non-denial denials

My dear friends, I return to the subject matter of the post which, on 22 August last, I devoted to the questions discussed by the plenary session of the Congregation for Divine Worship regarding the recovery of a greater sense of sacrality in the liturgy. As you know, and as has already been noted, in the afternoon of Monday 24 August, the vice-director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Fr Ciro Benedittini (whom I greatly esteem) put out by means of Vatican Radio a verbal declaration regarding the subject of my article. These are his carefully measured and considered words: “At the moment, there do not exist institutional proposals regarding a modification of the liturgical books currently in use”.  [A bit dodgy, no?]

This supposed denial has made the rounds of the blogs: more than a few have not hidden a tinge of satisfaction for the fact that the undersigned has been caught in the act. Further, in the interview given yesterday to L’Osservatore Romano, the Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone made a reference to the fanciful reconstructions of documents of “going back” with respect to the Council, words which the agency Zenit presented as linked to my article. I would like to tell you that the denial of Fr Benedittini was provoked not so much by my article, as by its being taken up by many blogs (after the Williamson case, blogs and websites are now constantly monitored by the Holy See) which presented as imminent the “reform of the reform” and modifications of the Mass in a more traditional direction (or of “going back” according to the expression used by Cardinal Bertone).

First of all, in my article, I never spoke of imminent reforms or of documents already prepared, and at the conclusion I said clearly that it was a matter of the beginning of a work. A long work which does not want to send things down from above by imposition, but to involve the episcopates. I spoke of the voting that had taken place at the plenary session of the Congregation, of the fact that Cardinal Canizares had taken the results to the Pope, of the fact that study had begun, not on “institutional proposals regarding a modification of the liturgical books currently in use” but rather on more precise and rigorous indications regarding the manner of celebration with the existing books and in some cases those just published. All of this is to tell you not to believe those who today write that nothing is happening, that the Pope and the Congregation for Worship are not thinking of anything, that the “reform of the reform” and its recovery of a greater sacrality of the liturgy is a piece of news falsely published by the undersigned.

Since I have been a vaticanista, I have committed many errors – and I will commit many in the future: but the article in question, believe me, is not among these. Moreover, the fact that “at the moment” there are not “institutional proposals” for reform, does not deny that already today there are proposals for study that have not yet become “institutional”. [Precisely.] It is enough to read what Cardinal Ratzinger has written in his time, and what Pope Benedict XVI has written in his letter accompanying the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, to be aware how much this theme is close to his heart.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in What are they REALLY saying?. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Didn’t the following happen in the 60s?
    When Cardinal Ottaviani was about to submit his work, now known as the Intervention, where he summed up many problems of the New Mass, word leaked out.
    Almost overnight, members of the hierarchy who had apparently given support to Ottaviani’s letter to the pope and were going to sign it, all changed their mind. Only a couple of supporters signed this letter in the end.

  2. jbalza007 says:

    “Blogs are now constantly monitored by the Holy See”

    It’s good to know they’re catching up. ;)

  3. Jack Hughes says:

    Does that mean that some poor priest in Rome has the job of reading Dinoscopus every week and figuring out how willamasarusrex put his foot in it this week :)?

    For the Record I do subscribe to Dinoscopus and although I don’t agree with everything his Excellency says e.g. the foot-in-mouth about Catholic Truth being seperated from Catholic Authority, When he does get it right (which is about 60% of the time) he REALLY gets it right e.g.his remarks about the lack of modesty displayed by women players and spectators at the Wimbeldon Tournemount.

  4. Mitchell NY says:

    And yet this proposed re-emphasis on central points of the Mass are the very things that millions of less vocal Catholics would like to see. In an effort for Cathechis and preparedness shouldn’t the Holy See say that although nothing is “in stone” this is where we are moving? If already identified as the most problematic areas and the loss being so great, shouldn’t more be said about it so the average lay person who comes accross this information via the internet can pass it on to others who perhaps are clueless as to what has been lost and what needs to be recovered. It sparks conversation, research, and investigation. I mean, we Catholics do talk to each other.

  5. ssoldie says:

    Vatican Council II: An Open Discussion, The 85 year old author, Msgr Brunero Gherardini, is considered the last great theologian of the Roman school. The first pages are an analysis of the real worth of Vatican II, of what the Council said of itself, and contends that the Council never claimed for itself the infallibilty enjoyed by preceding Ecumenical Councils.

  6. ssoldie says:

    also to note: The book “Heresy Of The Formless, by Martin Mosebach, one of the most acclaimed German writers, was just released in Italy by the publishing house Cantagalli, very close to the Pope. Corriere della Sera, the most prestigious Itailian daily, has devoted a whole page to this book… Wish I had this copy.

  7. Jack Hughes says:

    Looking foward to Msgr Brunero Gherardini’s book.

  8. Dear Holy Father, please immediately cancel the anti-Traditional, i.e. rupture, indults.

  9. mpm says:

    I mean, we Catholics do talk to each other. Comment by Mitchell NY — 30 August 2009 @ 2:38 pm

    Boy, do we ever!

  10. JoeGarcia says:

    Here’s a sign of the times, pretty much clamoring for reform of the reform:


  11. Hans says:

    Okay, but I can see some point in having some level of deniability at this point. There are surely elements in the Vatican, as there seem to be everywhere, who would oppose “[l]a ‘riforma della riforma‘” at any level. The less chance they have to be obstructive, especially in the earlier stages, the better. Or so it seems to me.

  12. chironomo says:

    Since I have been a vaticanista, I have committed many errors – and I will commit many in the future: but the article in question, believe me, is not among these

    He seems pretty confident that he’s right about this. It is also very perceptive that the denial (if it really is one)is actually addressed to the bloggers and concerns the conclusions they jumped to rather than the content of his original article. What’s more likely….that he was mistaken about he whole issue and was given false information, or that there is some reason that TPTB would rather not tip their hand yet. I am more inclined to believe the latter.

Comments are closed.