Arquivo do blog

sábado, 7 de outubro de 2017

They are Romano Amerio, Divo Barsotti and Inos Biffi. Though widely different from each other, they agree in recalling the Church to its foundations – that it not disappear "in the fog of the faith"



Fr. Divo Barsotti, born in 1914 in Palaia, in Tuscany, is one of the most prominent and respected figures of Italian Catholicism in the last century. He has written many books, especially meditations on the Bible and the liturgy. He founded a spiritual community, the Community of the Children of God, which includes the most various lifestyles: men and women who embrace monastic vows, parish priests, married couples with children. Today its community numbers about 2,000 persons, in Italy and various other countries: Australia, Colombia, Croatia, Benin, Sri Lanka. One of its members is the present bishop of Monreale, in Sicily, Cataldo Naro, probably the future archbishop of Palermo.
But Fr. Barsotti was also the spiritual director for numerous Catholics of varying outlooks, some of whom are influential in their turn, both in the Church and in the fields of culture and politics. For example, Giorgio La Pira, the mayor of Florence during the 1950's, whose beatification is underway, belonged secretly to the Community of the Children of God. Even Fr. Giuseppe Dossetti wanted Barsotti as his own spiritual director, from 1952 until his death in 1996.
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 he relationship between the two was even at the breaking point at times. In the book that the Community of the Children of God has just published for his 90th birthday, it says that one day Fr. Barsotti "threatened to dissolve his ties with Dossetti if Dossetti would not stop keeping company with Giuseppe Alberigo," whose presence Barsotti considered "a danger." Dossetti replied to his spiritual director with a letter, reproduced in the book, in which he wrote: "Even if you wanted to detach yourself from me, I would not detach myself from you." Alberigo, a Church historian, was still the head of the Institute for Religious Studies in Bologna founded by Dossetti.
This is how Fr. Barsotti's vision of Vatican Council II is represented in the book published by his community:
"Since the first session [of the Council] it was obvious where things would end up, with the scornful leveling of all prepared schemes. 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. For example: the first document [of the Council], the one on the liturgy, has an entirely mystagogic vision; the last, the one on the relations between the Church and the world, is marked by a certain 'Teilhardism'. We are still waiting for a theological genius who can make a synthesis of these differences. So was Vatican II a mistake? Of course not: 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."
Barsotti has never made any secret of his vision of the current state of the Church. But that does not prevent him from enjoying universal respect.
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. He, in Barsotti's judgment, would be ideal as the next pope.
Biffi is in turn close friends with – though unrelated to – the almost homonymous Inos Biffi.