De Mattei: Is the Principle of Legality Being Extinguished in the Church?

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By Roberto de Mattei, Corrispondenza Romana, July 10, 2019

If Pope Francis should be accused of a crime by any judge, in any part of the world, he should divest himself of his office as Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church and submit himself to the judgment of a court. This is the logical and necessary conclusion to the stunning decision by which the Holy See denied diplomatic immunity to the French Apostolic Nuncio, Monsignor Luigi Ventura, accused of sexual molestations.

The Holy See could have discharged the Nuncio from his office, and, pending the outcome of the French justice system, initiate a canonical investigation on him, also for his own guaranty. The decision to dispatch the papal representative into the hands of a secular court, violates the institution of diplomatic immunity, the expression par excellence of the sovereignty, freedom and independence of the Church. That same diplomatic immunity, by the way, was invoked to protect the crimes committed in Italy by Pope Francis’s Almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski.

What is taking place is part of a disturbing extinction of every principle of legality inside the Church. The law is coessential to the Church, which has a charismatic dimension as well as a juridical dimension, inextricably linked to each other, like the soul and body. The juridical dimension of the Church is, however, ordered to its supernatural ends and is at the service of the Truth. If the Church loses sight of its supernatural ends, it becomes a power-structure and the authority of its ecclesiastical function prevails over what is true and just. This “functionalist” conception of the Church was denounced by Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, in a recent interview given to Edward Pentin in the National Catholic Register. Cardinal Müller stated that the so-called reform of the Curia which has been under discussion over the last few months, risks transforming the Curia into an institution wherein all the power is concentrated in the Secretariat of State, bypassing the College of Cardinals and the competent congregations: “They are converting the institution of the Curia into a simple bureaucracy, in mere functionalism and not in an ecclesiastic institution”.  …..