VIDEO: A bishop publicly dumps Pope Benedict

I was sent a link to a video with some of an interview by Bishop Enrico dal Covolo, who is presently rector of my old school, the Pontifical Lateran University.  dal Covolo, an SDB (aka Socio di Bertone aka Salesian) has done some work on the Fathers of the Church.

In any event, before last Christmas dal Covolo went to Guam to visit one of the many global spin offs of the aforementioned Lateran.  Inter alia, in the interview (btw the newsie calls him “dal Covólo.  Fail.  It’s “dal Cóvolo”) he made some comments about the differences between Pope Francis and Pope Benedict.

The video includes and English translation voice-over, so I can’t hear the actual Italian original, but:

“I believe that the… Pope Francis is a figure of discontinuity with the previous …ahhh pontificate, but a very very good discontinuity because he’s pushing the Church, he’s exorcising the Church from all its fears that he had in the past. … I agree totally with these changes that Pope Francis is doing because they correspond precisely to the challenges that we face today.”

Et tu, Brute?

You don’t use a word like “discontinuity” in this way unless you intend to dump on Benedict.

The irony in this is that were you to check the word “clericalism” in an illustrated dictionary, dal Covolo’s picture would grace the entry.

Benedict XVI raised dal Covolo up with his own hand to the episcopate and rectorate of the Lateran.  Also, I suspect that dal Covolo – a patrologist more than a patristicist – was one of the ghost writers behind Benedict’s Wednesday General Audience address in his series on the Fathers of the Church.   Benedict treated dal Covolo very well indeed.


I see that Rorate has something on this. The poster over there accuses dal Covolo of ingratitude. Yah, that too.

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  1. Salvelinus says:

    Is it just me, or does all of this “Francis is a breath of fresh air” business just sound like uncharitable jabs at the previous pontificate?
    These jabs aren’t just coming from the like if Fishwrap or CNN (using Fishwrap as a “catholic” source.) These subtle (and not so subtle) jabs are coming from mainstream Catholic news groups and radio stations. I find it all going the way of “Spirit” of Francis anyway… The aging hippies of the Church of Nice’s last gasp. Hopefully the madness that happened before I was born in the Seventies wont happen again.

    If it weren’t for Pope Benedict, we wouldn’t have Summorum Pontificum!

  2. MrTipsNZ says:

    Ungratefulness (or any other negative mindset) really has no proper logic or sense at all.

    If what PF is doing is a “good discontinuity”, then dal Covolo had better watch out; he should/could be discontinued as well, no? Can’t have it both ways and if I was the interviewer I would have asked that.

    Single caveat: clip appeared edited much, can we be certain about complete context?

  3. phlogiston says:

    “…he’s exorcising the Church from all its fears that he had in the past.” I hope its a translation issue but if it isn’t, that curious word choice has some troubling implications. Exactly what fears of the past need to be “exorcised” in his Excellency’s opinion? I can think of a few fears that are treated like they are of the “past,” like, oh say, fear of eternal damnation. Are those things now to be treated like a demonic influence that need to be “exorcised?” Oh how I hope, and pray, that’s a translation issue.

  4. george says:

    “exorcising the Church from all its fears that he had in the past”?

    Sounds like a very progressive statement. One which would not be made by a “hermeneutic of continuity” believer. If I am reading that correctly and that is the view of those in Rome, perhaps Pope Benedict was running up against more resistance than we knew.

    Also, if I am reading it correctly, the progressives believe they have a friend in Pope Francis.

  5. cpttom says:

    Did Bishop Enrico dal Covolo get stuck in a time warp and think he was back in the ’70s? This is in stark contrast to the new Bishop of Rochester who was installed last week:

    To His Holiness, our Holy Father Emeritus, Pope Benedict XVI, in whose pontificate I began my apostolic mission, to him I express my continued admiration and esteem for the guidance he selflessly gave to the Church, emphasizing a theology and an ecclesiology of continuity. A theology that builds and does not destroy. An ecclesiology that appreciates the contributions of every age that does not disdain the past which through the hard labors of others paved the way for the future.

    – Bishop Salvatore R. Matano of Rochester, during the opening section of his homily for his Installation Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral, 3 January 2014

    For the rest Cleansing Fire has the homily text and video.

  6. Mike says:

    Interesting, and sad.

    As Shakespeare put it in KING LEAR: such ingratitude is “sharper than a serpent’s tooth”.

  7. Sofia Guerra says:

    The lack of charity of certain cardinals, bishops and priests against Benedict since he left us is appalling.
    Oh, by the way, sounds like envy, pride and a sin against the 5th commandment …that would be calumny or at the very least, gossip which in fact is a mortal sin.
    I will pray for the Bishop in question and for his buddies who are on the anti-Benedict bandwagon.
    Gotta love these progressives…a humorless and selfish bunch, no matter what walk of life they come from.
    I wonder what Pope Francis would think of the backstabbing? SMH

    So before I commit a sin against charity here, I will say, :p (thats called a raspberry if done with the tongue.)

  8. Hank Igitur says:

    Is it really any wonder the poor man resigned his pontificate?

  9. Dundonianski says:

    The ongoing dismantling of the FFI may well be a foretaste of this exorcising and it may also be plausible that the progressives do indeed have a friend in Francis. Becoming ever more tricky (for me) to read Francis through Benedict!

  10. Mr. Green says:

    Bishop dal Covolo: I believe that the… Pope Francis is a figure of discontinuity with the previous …ahhh pontificate

    Well, to be frank, there’s no denying this Pope is pretty discontinuous. For example, he could have chosen a name like “Benedict XVII” — plenty of continuity there! Or even “John Paul III”, which isn’t as continuous but still counts for something. But no, he had to be “Francis”… Francis the first! And that’s not all! Traditionally, popes never came from South America. Not once — until now. More discontinuity. And how about all those doctrines His Holiness has overturned? Oh, wait, no — that was made-up nonsense that not even the readers of Time Magazine fell for, so Time had to post a correction.

    Gee… did anyone ever tell Bishop dal Covolo about the retraction?!?

  11. Pingback: PopeWatch: Bishop Enrico dal Covolo | The American Catholic

  12. Legisperitus says:

    If newsies were educated people (by which I mean having studied Latin instead of Spanish), they would be much more likely to get the accents on the antepenult where they belong in Italian names like Covolo and Aquila.

  13. Vecchio di Londra says:

    Oh dear. The magic word ‘direction’ as in ‘new direction’. The unspecified ‘changes’ that ‘correspond to the challenges that we face today’. And ‘the very good discontinuity’ in which the Pope is ‘exorcising the fears we had before’. It reminds me of all that nebulous touchy-feely hopey changey thingy that spurred the naive 1960s idealists to fashion the platonic ideal of VII in their own image and likeness.

    I don’t recall any of these ‘fears we had before’, the ones from which we need to be ‘exorcised’. I feel rather like Orwell’s protagonist Winston faced with the completely re-written history of his country.

    So what I wonder will now be taught at the Lateran University (of which the Bishop is Rector) that wasn’t being taught up to now?

    This made me pray very hard for our beloved Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at (EF) Holy Mass today.

  14. Peter in Canberra says:

    The descriptor ‘churl’ comes to mind.
    And he is in charge of formation of priests in what should be one of the premier seminaries in the world.
    The average local diocese writ large. [Well…. the Lateran is a university where the men take classes. They live in colleges and seminaries.]

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